Bradford County, Pennsylvania Genealogy
|Bradford County, Pennsylvania|
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the U.S.
|Founded||February 21, 1810|
|Address|| Bradford County Courthouse|
301 Main St.
Towanda, PA 18848
Bradford County Website
- 1 Historical Facts
- 2 Resources
- 2.1 Bible Records
- 2.2 Cemeteries
- 2.3 Census
- 2.4 Church Records
- 2.5 Court Records
- 2.6 Emigration and Immigration
- 2.7 Ethnic Groups
- 2.8 Gazetteers
- 2.9 Genealogy
- 2.10 History
- 2.11 Land and Property
- 2.12 Maps
- 2.13 Migration
- 2.14 Military
- 2.15 Naturalization and Citizenship
- 2.16 Newspapers
- 2.17 Occupations
- 2.18 Periodicals
- 2.19 Poorhouse, Almshouse
- 2.20 Probate Records
- 2.21 Repositories
- 2.22 Taxation
- 2.23 Vital Records
- 3 Web Sites
- 4 Places
- 5 References
|Beginning dates for major county records|
- Parent Counties: Formed from Luzerne and Lycoming Counties 21 February 1810.
- County Seat: Towanda
- Neighboring Counties: Bradford County, Pennsylvania Genealogy residents may also have records in Chemung County, New York and Tioga County, New York (north) • Susquehanna (east) • Tioga (west) • Sullivan (south) • Wyoming (southeast) • Lycoming (southwest)
Note: Connecticut claimed the area which included what is now Bradford County before 1808 or 1827, depending on the source.
- Before 1772: Most of today's Bradford County was included in Northampton County, the rest was not included in any county until 1785.
- 1772: Northumberland County, including the part containing future Bradford County was carved from Northampton County.
- 1785: The remainder of future Bradford County was annexed to Northumberland County.
- 1786: Luzerne County, which then included future Bradford County, was formed from Northumberland County.
- 21 February 1810: Ontario County (now defunct), which included future Bradford County, was carved from Luzerne County. 
- 6 March 1812: Ontario County was renamed Bradford County.
Cemetery records often reveal birth, marriage, death, relationship, military, and religious information.
|Online Grave Transcripts||Published Grave Transcripts||County Cemetery Directories|
|Interment.net||Names in Stone|
|Names in Stone|
|See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information.|
The Bradford County Historical Society maintains indexes to the burials that have taken place in the Bradford County Cemeteries. Cemetery information is also listed on the Tri-Counties Genealogy & History website. Over time, not all burials have been recorded.
For tips on accessing Bradford County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Federal (or United States) census records online, see: Pennsylvania Census.
There are no county or state census records available for Pennsylvania. County and city tax records can be used as a substitute when census records are not available.
Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. In Pennsylvania, church records are often used as a substitute for birth, marriage, and death information. For general information about Pennsylvania denominations, view the Pennsylvania Church Records wiki page.
Additional church records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Bradford County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Church Records in online catalogs like:
County-wide Database - Multi-denominational
- 1708-1985 - Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985 at Historical Society of Pennsylvania – $, free to members of the society; Also available at Ancestry.com – $; 7,542,774 entries. This database is incomplete for all counties.
- The Bradford County Historical Society genealogical library and research center has a collection of church lecords that can be used onsite. They are creating a list of those and it will be added to the site when it is complete.
- The Tri-Counties Genealogy and History website has a number of Bradford, Chemung, and Tioga county church links connecting users to histories and records of those churches.
Baptists were among the earliest settlers in Bradford County. They arrived around 1891 from Chemung (now Wellington) New York.
The Catholic took holf on the early 1820s when there was a larg influx of itis into the area.
The Lutheran congregations were establidhed by Germans in the mid-1800s.
The methodist Episcopal church, though not a large group, had an early presence in the county.
Many of the Presbyterians began as Congregationalist th the late 1700s.
Court of Common Pleas
Clerk of the Court
Orphan's Court (see Vital Records)
Emigration and Immigration
The History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, with Biographical Sketches, by H. C. Bradsby, 1891 is available at the Tri-Counties Genealogy and History website.
Land and Property
Land records in Bradford County began in 1812. These records are filed with the Recorder/Register/Clerk of the Orphan's Court office in Towanda, Pennsylvania.
Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts, indexes, mortgages, leases, grants, sheriff sales, land patents, and maps. Property records include liens as well as livestock brands and estray records.
Be aware that (particularly in the early 1800s) deeds were not always recorded. Sometimes the early tax assessments will make mention of these early land transfers--giving the name of the grantor and grantee.
Note that the "Maps" section below includes maps related to land ownership.
See Pennsylvania Land and Property for more information about using land records, especially about original land warrants, surveys, and patents filed at the state land office.
Additional resources can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Bradford County Pennsylvania Land in online catalogs such as:
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania
- WorldCat (For instructions see WorldCat Online Catalog.)
- Family History Library Catalog (For instructions see FHL Catalog Place-name Search.)
- Ancestor Tracks has posted free, downloadable images from the Map of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, From Actual Surveys by Lake Ames & Davidson (Philadelphia: Wm. J. Barker, 1858). This wall map located in the Library of Congress shows major landowners and geographic sites at the date of publishing. While the physical maps are in the public domain, the images we have taken of the maps belong to us and are not to be used comercially. We hereby give permission to use them strictly for personal use; please attribute to Ancestor Tracks.
- 1858 Map of Bradford County, PA has been posted online at chanur.com
Early migration routes for European settlers to and from Bradford County, Pennsylvania Genealogy included:
Naturalization and Citizenship
Bradford County, Pennsylvania Genealogy newspapers may contain genealogical value including obituaries, births, marriages, deaths, anniversaries, family gatherings, family travel, achievements, business notices, engagement information, and probate court proceedings.
For information on state-wide newspapers see Pennsylvania Newspapers
Newspapers of Bradford County
To learn if there are newspapers online for a specific town or city in Pennsylvania, see news.google.com/newspapers and search for the town or the name of a newspaper.
- The earliest newspaper coverage for Bradford County predates the organization of the County. These early newspapers are available online through the Wyoming County Historical Society. Newspapers postdating the organization of the county are available through the Bradford County Historical Society. The Society has indexed the vital record information from these newspapers. This index is available at the Bradford County Historical Society's research center.
Online Newspaper Abstracts
- PA-Roots Newspaper Articles for Bradford County.
Obituaries are generally found in local newspapers where the person died. However, sometimes an obituary is found in the location from which he or she originated. To find an obituary, see the information under the Newspaper heading
|Sometimes the fastest way of finding obituaries is to call or email the local public library in the area where the person died. If the library does not have newspapers, a librarian often will know where they are kept. If a death date is known, and the newspapers are at the library, someone on staff will usually make a search for a small fee, or will indicate someone who will do the search.|
Online Obituary Abstracts
- PA-Roots Obituaries for Bradford County.
Obituary Excerpts and Abstracts
- Fray, Robert G., Bradford County, Pa., Area Deaths (Allentown, Pennsylvania:R.G. Fray Publishing, c2000) FHL book 974.857 V4f v.1 Includes deaths as reported in the Evening Times, orginally published at Syre, Bradford, Pennsylvania. Includes index.
Probate matters in Bradford County, Pennsylvania Genealogy are handled by the Orphans' Court and start when the county was created. To obtain original probate records, contact the Orphan's Court in the County Courthouse.
In addition to wills and administrations, the Orphans' Court also handles: audits of accounts of executors, administrators, trustees, and guardians; distribution of estates of decedents, incompetents, and minors; appointment and control of guardians; adoptions; appeals from the Register of Wills involving probate matters; inheritance tax appeals and various petitions and motions.
Additional Probate Indexes and Abstracts
Additional probate indexes or abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Bradford County, Pennsylvania Genealogy probate wills in online catalogs like:
Bradford County Courthouse
301 Main St.
Towanda, PA 18848
Phone: (570) 265-1702
Fax: (570) 265-1721
Hours: 9:00 - 5:00 Monday - Friday
Family History Centers
LeRoy Heritage Museum
257 Mill Street
Phone: (570) 364-5003
8051 Southside Road,
Canton, PA 17724
The Museum's research library includes materials about historic residents of LeRoy Townhip, former Barclay Township (Barclay Mountain) and Granville Township.
The Home Textile Tool Museum
PO Box 153
Rome, PA 18837
Phone: (570) 247-7175
Learn how your ancestors made their clothing
The Bradford County Historical Society is located at 109 Pine Street, Towanda, Pennsylvania 18848. Phone: 570.265.2240. The BCHS maintains a research center/library. The library's holdings include early probate records, early tax records (including poor children records), an index to vital information in early Bradford County newspapers, an index to cemeteries, local history books, family name files, and many other valuable genealogical records. The library does not participate in inter-library loan. Research requests are $50.00 per surname.
The original early tax records are housed at the Bradford County Historical Society in Towanda, Pennsylvania. As of May 2011, these records have not been microfilmed. Because these records are in such a fragile condition, the Historical Society has been attempting to make photocopies of the records. The records that have been photocopied have also been indexed--but because of the scope of this endeavor, the indexes may contain errors.
These tax records are contained in individual books for each individual township for each year. There are some years which are missing. The names are listed roughly in alphabetical order.
Early tax records for Bradford County are particularly valuable because they contain the "Poor Children" records. If the head of household was considered "poor", the tax collector would list the head of household and all children in the household between the ages of 5 and 12. The government was then required to pay for the schooling of these children. Typically ages were also listed with the children's names. In many cases, these are the only existing records containing the names of these children.
Vital records are handled by the County Orphans' Court. Between the years 1852-1855 Pennsylvania made a failed attempt to record birth, marriage and death events at the county level. While the records for that time period are available, there were few events recorded. County marriage records were kept in earnest in 1885. Births and deaths, at the county level, were begun in 1893 and kept through 1905. Abstracts and copies of vital records are available for some counties, but most are incomplete. For the most complete set of records, always contact the County Orphans' Court.
- 1700-1821 - Pennsylvania Marriage Records Ancestry.com – ($) This database is incomplete for all counties.
- Pre-1810 – Pennsylvania Marriages Ancestry.com – ($) This database is incomplete for all counties. Includes 35,000 marriage records from vol. VIII of of the second series of the Pennsylvania Archives.
Early births 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. See the heading Court Records on this page for contact information.
Indexes for Pennsylvania birth records are available through the Department of of Health for 1906 and 1907. Once an individual is located in the index a non certified Birth certificate can be obtained by writing and sending $3.00 to:
Division of Vital Records
ATTN: Public Records
P.O. Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103
- 1893-1901 Bradford County Births
Pennsylvania marriages are located at the county level. Contact the Bradford County, Pennsylvania Genealogy clerk's office for these records.
Divorce records are available through the office of the Prothonotary. Since there is no on-line index, you can search the index at the Prothonotary's office. The office of the Prothonotary is located at:
Office of the Prothonotary
301 Main Street
Towanda, PA 18848
Phone: (570) 265-1705
Fax: (570) 265-1788
Early deaths 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. See the heading Court Records on this page for contact information.
Indexes for Pennsylvania death records are available through the Department of Health for 1906 through 1962. Once an individual is located in the index a non certified death certificate can be obtained obtained by writing and sending $3.00 to:
Division of Vital Records
ATTN: Public Records
P.O. Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103
Finding Vital Records at Other Repositories
Additional vital records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Bradford County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Vital Records in online catalogs like:
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania
- WorldCat (For instructions see WorldCat Online Catalog).
- FamilySearch Catalog (For instructions see FamilySearch Catalog Place-name Search).
- Linkpendium - Bradford County
- Tri-Counties Genealogy and History Site - Bradford & Tioga County (PA) and Cemung (NY) For family and local history information
- Sullivan-Rutland Genealogy Project This database focuses on the ancestors and descendants of the early nineteenth century pioneers who migrated to Tioga and Bradford County, Pennsylvania, primarily from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont. It also includes Chemung County. New York.
- USGenWeb project.
- Bradford County Historical Society
- Family History Library Catalog
The following townships are located within Bradford County: Albany, Armenia, Asylum, Athens, Barclay, Burlington, Canton, Columbia, Franklin, Granville, Herrick, Leroy, Litchfield, Monroe, North Towanda, Orwell, Overton, Pike, Ridgebury, Rome, Sayre, Sheshequin, Smithfield, South Creek, Springfield, Standing Stone, Stevens, Terry, Towanda, Troy, Tuscarora, Ulster, Warren, Wells, West Burlington, Wilmot, Windham, Wyalusing, Wysox.
Towanda (Bradford County Seat)
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), [FHL book 973 D27e 2002]. Cite error: Invalid
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- Wikipedia contributors, "Adams County, Pennsylvania" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adams_County,_Pennsylvania (accessed 17 July 2012).
- Pennsylvania line : a research guide to Pennsylvania genealogy and local history, 1990 ed. (Laughlintown, Pa.: Southwest Pennsylvania Genealogical Services, 1990), [FHL book 974.8 D27p 1990].
- Handybook, 847-61.
- Paul A. W. Wallace, Indian Paths of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, Pa.: PA Historical and Museum Commission, 1971), 46-48. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 974.8 H2wp.