Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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United StatesGotoarrow.png Pennsylvania Gotoarrow.png Dauphin County

Dauphin County, Pennsylvania
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the U.S.
Founded March 4, 1785
County Seat Harrisburg
Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Address Dauphin County Courthouse
101 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Dauphin County Website
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Historical Facts

Beginning dates for major county records

Named for Louis-Joseph, Dauphin of France, first son of Louis XVI. The title "Dauphin" signified heir-apparent.

Many Scotch-Irish immigrants settled in what is now Dauphin County (then Lancaster County) in the early eighteenth century. It was predominantly a German area of settlement.[3]

Boundary Changes

16 Feb 1813: Lebanon County was created from parts of Dauphin and Lancaster counties.


Bible Records


Cemetery records often reveal birth, marriage, death, relationship, military, and religious information.

Online Grave Transcripts Published Grave Transcripts County Cemetery Directories


Family History Library




Names in Stone


Billion Graves

Pennsylvania Genealogy


Pennsylvania Gravestones

Billion Graves

Names in Stone

Access Genealogy


See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information.


For tips on accessing Dauphin 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

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.

Dauphin county pennsylvania churches.png
Finding Church Records at Other Repositories

Additional church records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Church Records  in online catalogs like:

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational
Contains church records of:
  • Jonathan Worrall, J.P./Misc. Marriage Licenses, 1890-1915
  • Berrysburg: PA Conference Evangelical Association
  • Elizabethville: Trinity United Methodist Church
  • Harrisburg: Harrisburg First Church of God; Lutheran Church; Lutheran Church of the Redeemer; Memorial Lutheran Church; Park Street United Methodist Church; Rev. Nathaniel R. Snowden Records; St. Michael's Evangelical Lutheran Church; St. Paul's Episcopal Church; St. Stephen's Episcopal Church; United Church of Christ; Zion German Lutheran Church
  • Hummelstown: Hummelstown United Church of Christ; Trinity United Methodist Church
  • Millersburg: St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Oberlin: Neidig Memorial United Methodist Church
  • Philadelphia: Cooper Memorial United Methodist Church
  • Steelton: St. John's Lutheran Church
  • Susquehanna: Paxton Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Williamstown: Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • 1744-1844 - Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Church Records at Ancestry ($). Includes records from Salem Reformed Church (Harrisburg, Pa.), Lykens Valley Lower Church (David's Reformed) (Killingern, Upper Paxtang, Pa.), Fetterhoff's Lutheran and Reformed Church, Fredricktown Church (Hummelstown, Pa.), Hoffman Reformed Church, Lykens Valley Lower Church, Middletown Church, Paxtang and Derry Presbyterian Churches, Reformed Church (Hummelstown, Pa.), St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Salem Reformed Church (Harrisburg, Pa.), Shoop's Reformed Church, Wenerich's Reformed Church, Zion Church.
  • 1757-1825 - Humphrey, John T. Pennsylvania Births, Dauphin County, 1757-1825. Washington, D.C.: PA Genealogy Books, 2005. FHL Book 974.818 V2h.
Contains church records of Hill or "Maxe" Lutheran Church, Derry Township; Middletown Lutheran Church, Middletown, Lower Swatara Township; Hummelstown Lutheran Congregation, Derry Township; Evangelical Reformed Church, Lykens Valley, Upper Paxton Township; Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Killinger, Lykens Valley; Shoop's Church or Paxton Church, Lutheran and Reformed, Lower Paxton Township; Klinger's Church, Erdman, Lutheran and Reformed, Lykens Township; Salem Reformed Church, Harrisburg; Fetterhoff's Church, Lutheran and Reformed, Halifax Township; St. John's Lutheran Church, Lykens Valley, Upper Paxton Township; Hoffman's Reformed Church, Lykens Township; Zion Lutheran Church, Harrisburg; Wenrich's Church, Lutheran and Reformed, Lower Paxton Township; and St. Stephen's Protestant Episcopal Church, Harrisburg.

The Paxtang Church and the Derry Church were both organized in 1729.[3]

  • 1741-1810 - Marriage Record of Paxtang and Derry Churches, 1741-1810 (Pennsylvania Archives, Series 2, Vol. 8, Part 10) at Ancestry ($); Google Books - free.

The Hanover Presbyterian Church was built in 1736 in a Scotch-Irish settlement in what is now Lebanon County. This settlement was previously in Lancaster County, before Dauphin County was formed.[3]


Court Records

Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy court records are housed at the Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Courthouse. For many counties copies of court records may be found at the Pennsylvania State Archives and in the FamilySearch collection. Note that within these collections some films may contain the same records, but have different titles. Other titles are not duplicates. See Finding Court Records at other repositories within this section for links to the online catalogs for these two collections. Films at the Pennsylvania State Archives are not available for inter-library loan. If court records are available FamilySearch films may be available at a local Family History Center. Call ahead for availability.

Court of Common Pleas

The Courts of Common Pleas are the trial courts of Pennsylvania. Major civil and criminal cases are heard in these courts. Judges also decide cases involving adoption, divorce, child custody, abuse, juvenile delinquency, estates, guardianships, charitable organizations and many other matters. The Common Pleas courts are organized into 60 judicial districts. Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy has its own judicial district. Judges of the Common Pleas courts are elected to 10-year terms. A president judge and a court administrator serve in each judicial district.[4]

Clerk of the Court

The Clerk of Courts prepares and maintains the records for the Criminal Division of the Court of Common Pleas. The Clerk signs and affixes the Seal of the Courts to all writs and processes, administers oaths and affirmations, and assumes custody of the seal and records of the Courts. The Clerk certifies and distributes orders of the Court. The Clerk also certifies and prepares bills of costs for the defendants and utilizes the computerized financial management system to disburse fines, costs and restitution.[5] For the Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Clerk of Courts address see the Courthouse section on this page.

Orphan's Court (see Vital Records)

Finding Court Records at Other Repositories

Additional court records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Court Records in online catalogs like:

Emigration and Immigration

For information about emigration into Pennsylvania, see the Pennsylvania Emigration and Immigration page.

Ethnic Groups





Published Histories

Land and Property

Land records in Dauphin County began in 1785. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Harrisburg, 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.

The following are examples of available resources:

Online Land Records

  • 1979–present Dauphin County offers online access to records. Fees apply for copies. Check the website for current information on availability and fees.

Land Records on Microfilm


  • MacInnes, Sharon Cook and Angus MacInnes. Early landowners of Pennsylvania : Atlas of Township Warrantee Maps of Dauphin County, PA. Apollo, Pennsylvania : Closson Press, 2009. FHL book 974.818 E7ms

Note that the "Maps" section below includes maps related to land ownership.

Additional Resources

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 Dauphin County Pennsylvania Land in online catalogs such as:

Local Histories


https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/f/f0/Dauphin_county_pennsylvania_townships.pngDauphin county pennsylvania townships.png
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Ancestor Tracks has posted free, downloadable images of The Combination Atlas Map of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, Compiled, Drawn and Published from Personal Examinations and Surveys by Everts & Stewart, 1875.  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 be used commercially. We hereby give permission to use them strictly for personal use; please attribute to Ancestor Tracks.

Atlas of Township Warrantee Maps of Dauphin County and a Companion Scans of Township Warrantee Maps plus Current Road Overlays CD ($) is also available from Ancestor Tracks.  They show precise outlines in metes and bounds of each original tract and all surrounding tracts in the township, giving the names of the warrantee and patentee; dates of the warrant, survey, and patent; and the patent and survey book and page of the recorded patent.



French and Indian War

In 1756, Colonel Armstrong recruited many Scotch-Irish men from what is now Dauphin County (then Lancaster County). They attacked and destroyed the Indian village at Kittanning (present-day Armstrong County).[3]

Reverend John Elder, pastor of Derry and Paxtang churches, recruited Scotch-Irish rangers from his congregation in what is now Dauphin County (then Lancaster County). Known as the Paxton Rangers or Paxton Boys, they provided security for white settlements between the Blue Mountains and the Susquehanna River. They are remembered for playing a prominent role in Pontiac's War.[3]

Revolutionary War

Men from what is now Dauphin County (then Lancaster County) served in the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment.[6]

War of 1812

Anderson, John, Dr. John Anderson papers, 1812-1814, 1819 Microfilm of original records in the Bureau of Archives and History in Harrisburg. Contains enlistment records relating to Pennsylvanians in the War of 1812. FHL Film 1032585 Item 3.

Naturalization and Citizenship

Naturalization records can contain information about immigration and nativity. Prior to 1906, it is rare to find the town of origin in naturalization records. See Pennsylvania Naturalization for more information about the types of records and availability.

Naturalizations granted at the county level were kept by the office of the Prothonotary. Naturalizations could also be granted on the Federal Court level.


Dauphin 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.

To access newspapers, contact public libraries, historical/genealogical societies, college or university libraries, or state archives in the area where the newspaper was published.

For information on state-wide newspapers see Pennsylvania Newspapers

Newspapers of Dauphin County

Online Newspapers

Daily Patriot and Unio 15 October 1860-31 October 1863
Pennsylvnia Daily Telegraph 21 January 1859- 26 Nov 1862
Evening Telegraph 28 Nove 1862 - 11 Mar 1864
Pennsylvania Telegraph 12 Mar 1864 - 31 Dec 1864

Online Newspaper Abstracts

Newspaper Excerpts and Abstracts

  • Marriages and Deaths from Dauphin Co. Newspapers, (SLC, Utah, 1980) FHL film 1298604

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

Online Obituary Abstracts

Obituary Excerpts and Abstracts

  • Stroh, Alice F., Cemetery Records of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania (SLC, Utah, 1978) FHL film 1026670 item 5
  • Deaths from Berks, Dauphin and Philadelphia Counties Newspapers, 1791-1864 (SLC, Utah, 1964) FHL film 385043


Indentured Servants


Poorhouse, Almshouse

Probate Records

Probate matters in Dauphin 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.

Online Probate Records

Original probate records for some Pennsylvania counties are available free online as digital images at FamilySearch.org. The dates vary significantly for each county and not all counties are listed. Some counties may only have probate indexes. This Pennsylvania collection of images may be browsed through the links listed below:

Complete Collection:

Dauphin County Only:

Original Probate Records on Microfilm


  • The Pennsylvania Archives collection contains county archive records that can be searched onsite. Currently the Archives' staff cannot provide research or make copies of these records. Their collections include Almshouse Registers; Tax records; Birth, Death and Marriage Indexes and Records; Midwife records; African American records; Wills; Deeds; Naturalizations; Coroner's inquests; and Orphan's Court dockets. A list of the Archive's county holdings are on Microfilm or Manuscript form.


Dauphin County Courthouse
101 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101

The Register of Wills/Clerk of the Orphans' Court is located on the first floor of the Dauphin County Courthouse (rm 103) and can be reached at 717. 780.6500 (register of wills), or 717.780.6510 (Orphans' Court). The Register of Wills holds birth and death records (1893-1906), marriage records (1850-1855 and 1885-present) and estates. See their Genealogy page for more information.

The Recorder of Deeds is located on the first floor (rm 102) of the Dauphin County Courthouse or at 717.780.6560. The Recorder of Deeds holds records related to the transfer of property (including deeds and mortgages).

Dauphin County Prothonotary
101 Market Street
Room 101
Harrisburg, PA 17101

Family History Centers

Family History Centers (FHCs) are branches of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and are located all over the world. Their goal is to provide resources for family history research.

The main FHC for Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy is the Harrisburg/Hershey Pennsylvania Family History Center. For additional nearby Family History Centers, search online in the FHC directory.


The Historical Society of Dauphin County
219 South Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17104
(717) 233-3462


  • 1798 - Pennsylvania, U.S. Direct Tax Lists, 1798 at Ancestry ($).

Vital Records

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.


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


Pennsylvania marriages are located at the county level. Contact the Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy clerk's office for these records.

  • 1700-1821 - Pennsylvania Marriage Records Ancestry.com – ($) This database is incomplete for all counties.
  • 1725-1976 - Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1709-1940 - free index. Not complete for all years.
  • Pre-1810 – Pennsylvania Marriages Ancestry.com – ($) This database is incomplete for all counties. Includes 35,000 marriage records from vol. VIII of of the second series of the Pennsylvania Archives.
  • 1852-1854 - Pennsylvania Marriages Ancestry.com – ($) Index with images.
  • 1885-1950 - Pennsylvania County Marriage, 1885-1950 Extracted marriage records – free. This database is incomplete for all counties. May also contain marriage records earlier than 1885.

Divorce records are available through the office of the Prothonotary. The office of the Prothonotary is located in the courthouse building.


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

  • 1852-1854 – Pennsylvania Deaths Ancestry.com – ($) Index with images.

Finding Vital Records at Other Repositories

Additional vital records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Vital Records in online catalogs like:

Web Sites

  • USGenWeb project. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the state, then the county.
  • Family History Library Catalog


Populated Places

Middletown Borough



  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Adams County, Pennsylvania" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adams_County,_Pennsylvania (accessed 17 July 2012).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Wayland F. Dunaway, The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania (Chapel Hill, N.C.: The University of North Carolina Press, 1944), 50, 150-154. Free digital version at PA's Past: Digital Bookshelf at Penn State. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "way" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "way" defined multiple times with different content
  4. The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania http://www.pacourts.us/T/CommonPleas/ accessed 10 July 2012.
  5. Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, Clerk of Courts in http://www.pacourts.us/T/CommonPleas/ClerksOfCourts.htm (accessed 25 Aug 2012)
  6. John B.B. Trussell and Charles C. Dallas, The Pennsylvania Line; Regimental Organization and Operations, 1776-1783 (Harrisburg, Pa.: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1977). Digital version at Family History Archive.