Erie County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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United StatesGotoarrow.png Pennsylvania Gotoarrow.png Erie County

Erie County, Pennsylvania
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Erie County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the U.S.
Founded March 12, 1800
County Seat Erie
Address Erie County Courthouse
140 West 6th Street
Room 122
Erie, PA 16501
Erie County Website
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Historical Facts

Beginning dates for major county records


Named for Lake Erie. Erie is also the name of a tribe of Indians who lived south and east of the lake before 1654. Over half of Erie County was located in an area called the Erie Triangle. This area was under claim by Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania. These four states surrendered their claims to the federal government, which in turn sold this area to Pennsylvania in 1792.

Boundary Changes

In 1850 a boundary line dispute between Erie and Crawford counties was settled. The line was straightened and a long, narrow strip of land was added to Erie County and some land was added to Crawford County. A number of Crawford County citizens became residents of Erie County and a less number of Erie County residents were shifted to Crawford County.[3]

Record Loss

The Courthouse suffered a fire on March 23, 1823. The building and all books, papers, and records were destroyed.[3]


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

WorldCat 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 Erie 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

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

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

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational

Marriage Records of Rev. George Stuntz Methodist Circuit Rider, Erie County (PA) Genealogy

Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

Court Records

Court of Common Pleas
Clerk of the Court

The Prothonotary is the Clerk of the civil division of the Court of Common Pleas. The office of the Prothonotary is located in the main courthouse building:

Erie County Prothonotary
Erie County Courthouse, Room 120
140 West 6th Street
Erie, PA 16501
Telephone: (814) 451-6250

Orphan's Court (see Vital Records)

Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic Groups





Published Histories

Land and Property

Land records in Erie County began in 1823. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Erie, 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

  • 1976–present Erie County offers online access to records. Fees apply.

Land Records on Microfilm

Additional Resources

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 Erie County Pennsylvania Land in online catalogs such as:


Erie county pennsylvania townships.pngErie county pennsylvania townships.png
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Ancestor Tracks has posted free downloadable images from the Map of Erie County, Pennsylvania from Actual Surveys by & under Supervision of J. Chace Jr. (Troy, NY: McLeran & Morris Publishers, 1855).  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 commercially.  We hereby give permission to use them strictly for personal use; please attribute to Ancestor Tracks.


Early migration routes for European settlers to and from Erie County, Pennsylvania Genealogy included:[4]


Naturalization and Citizenship


Erie 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 Erie County

Newspapers Available on Microfilm

  • Several different newspapers are available on microfilm in the Heritage Room at the Blasco Memorial Library in Erie, PA. Some of the titles include the Erie Gazette, the Erie Observer, the Erie Dispatch, Erie Dispatch-Herald, the Erie Daily Times, the Erie Morning News and the Erie Times-News. Some of the Erie County newspapers that are available on microfilm include the Cosmopolite (Girard, PA), the Corry Evening Journal and the Edinboro Independent. The library also has one German language newspaper on microfilm.

Newspaper Indexes

Online Newspaper Abstracts


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 Index

  • The Erie County Library has compiled and maintains an paper and online obituary index for Erie County from 1822 to the present. The index comes from Erie newspapers and covers 1822 to the present. Microfilmed copies of the newspapers are located in the Heritage Room of the Blasco Memorial Library. The Information Services staff of the Library will do limited genealogical research or requests for obituaries by mail. There is a fee for this service.

Online Obituary Abstracts

Obituary Excerpts and Extracts

  • Smith, Gary V. and Corry Weekly Herald (Corry, Pennsylvania) 3000 Death Notices Covering Northwestern Pennsylvania and Southwestern New York Extracted from the Corry Weekly Herald (Corry, Pennsylvania) (Montgomery, Alabama:G.V. Smith, c1992) FHL film 1697903 items 1-2; book 974.899/C1 V4s


Indentured Servants


Poorhouse, Almshouse

Probate Records

Probate matters in Erie 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 Indexes

  • Erie County Estate Indexes at PAGenWeb for surnames M, N, O, S, T

Online Probate Records

Original probate records for some Pennsylvania counties are available free online as digital images at 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:

Erie County only:

Additional Probate Indexes and Abstracts

Additional probate indexes or abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Erie County, Pennsylvania Genealogy probate wills in online catalogs like:



Erie County Courthouse
Room 122
140 West 6th Street
Erie, PA 16501
Phone: (814) 451-6260

Family History Centers

Erie County Public Library

The Erie County Public Library maintains a large collection of genealogical materials. The majority of this collection is housed in the Heritage Room on the second floor of the Blasco Memorial Library. The focus of this collection is Northwestern Pennsylvania and the tri-state area. An important part of their holdings are the obituary indexes that cover 1822 to the present. The Heritage Room has microfilm copies of the Erie newspapers, going back to 1820. They also have microfilm copies of the 1800 to 1930 censuses for Erie County and selected censuses for other Pennsylvania counites. Additionally the library has city directories for Erie beginning in 1853 and suburban directories beginning in 1957. The library subscribes to Library Edition and to HeritageQuest Online. The Blasco Memorial Library is located at 160 East Front St. Erie, PA 16507.


Rich in history, Erie County, Pennsylvania Genealogy contains a number of societies dealing with the history of the area.

  • The ESGR through their volunteer research committee will perform some research requests.
  • A valuable tool that the ESGR provides on their website is a name index to the Keystone Kuzzins publication.


Vital Records

Vital records are kept by the County Orphan's Court. Between the years 1852-1855 Pennsylvania made a failed attempt to record birth, marriage and death events at the county level. There are no known vital records kept from that time period for Erie County. County marriage records were kept in earnest in 1885. Births and deaths, at the county level, were begun in 1893 and kept through 1905.


Birth records for the City of Erie began May 1, 1888. The birth registers for Erie City are maintained by the Erie County Historical Society. They have an agreement with Erie Society for Genealogical Research to handle all genealogy requests from walk-in researchers, people who phone, write in or e-mail requests for information on family history. These birth registers are not indexed and do not list the child's name. You must know the parent's name. If a delayed birth certificate was made then the child's name was added to the register. The records cannot be viewed by the general public. To obtain copies of a birth record that occured in the city of Erie from 1888 through November 1905, you may write to:

PO Box 1403
Erie, PA 16512-1403

Birth records for Erie County began in 1893. The Erie County Clerk of Records maintains birth records through 1905. Individuals are allowed to search these records. The Clerk of Records office will conduct a search for you, but there is a search fee of $20.00 payable to the Clerk of Records. To obtain a copy of birth record in the 1893–1905 time period you may contact:

County of Erie Births
Clerk of Records
Room 122, Erie County Courthouse
140 W 6th St.
Erie, PA 16501

The birth records for Erie County were microfilmed by FamilySearch. These microfilms may be ordered into a local FamilySearch Center or authorized public library for a small fee.

Beginning in 1906 Pennsylvania birth records are available through the Department of of Health. Birth records become public after 105 years. A statewide index is available. Once an individual is located in the index a certificate can be obtained by writing to:

Division of Vital Records
ATTN: Public Records
P.O. Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103

The cost for an non-certified birth certificate is $3.00.

Some Erie County births can be found online in Pennsylvania, Births and Christenings, 1709-1950.


Erie County marriages are maintained by the Clerk of Records. Erie County began recording marriages in 1885. To obtain a marriage record you may go to or mail the Clerk of Records office at:

Erie County Courthouse
140 West 6th Street, Room 120
Erie, PA 16501

A free online index with images to some Erie County marriages can be found in the FamilySearch Records Collection, Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885 – 1950. Most of the records consist of marriage licenses, certificates, applications, docket books, and affidavits. These records have been microfilmed.


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

Erie County Prothonotary
Erie County Courthouse, Room 120
140 West 6th Street
Erie, PA 16501



Death records for the city of Erie exist beginning July 5, 1875. They are available from the Erie Society for Genealogical Research (ESGR). According to their website "There are five volumes of the death records dating from July 5, 1875 to January 24, 1908. There are six volumes of indices for these records. Typical information found for each entry is: name, color, sex, age, marital status, occupation, date of death, cause of death, place of birth, ward number, street address, time of residence, name of physician, place of intended interment, date of intended interment, date of certificate, and name of undertaker." They have records to January 24, 1908. These records cannot be viewed by the general public. You may request ESGR to research the city vital records in your behalf.

Erie County began recording deaths in 1893. Records from 1893 – 1905 are available at the Clerk of Records office in Erie City. You may request a death record from the Clerk of Records. The address is:

County of Erie Deaths
Clerk of Records
Room 122, Erie County Courthouse
140 W 6th St.
Erie, PA 16501

These county death records were microfilmed by FamilySearch. 

Pennsylvania death certificates become public records after 50 years. An annual index is released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Records less than 50 years old are kept by the Division of Vital Records and are not public certificates. Only certain people can request a non-public death certificate. To order a non-public representative you must be:

  • Legal representative of decedent's estate
  • Immediate family member
  • Extended family member who indicates a direct relationship to the decedent
  • Power of Attorney (Please note that a Power of Attorney document is no longer valid upon the death of the individual)

See the Pennsylvania Department of Health website to obtain a copy of a non-public death certificate. The cost is $9.

The cost for a non-certified public death certificate is $3.00. Indexes for Pennsylvania public death records are available online through the Department of Health for 1906 through 1961. Once an individual is located in the index a certificate can be obtained by writing to:

Division of Vital Records
ATTN: Public Records
PO Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103

Finding Vital Records at Other Repositories

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

Web Sites


Populated Places

Name of City Incorporated Settlement History
Corry 1866 Separated from Wayne Twp. and became borough in 1863.
Erie 1851 Laid out in 1795. Became borough in 1805.


Borough Name Incorporated Settlement History
Albion 1861 Laid out in 1797. Created from Conneaut Twp.
Cranesville 1912 Settled in 1800. Formed from Elk Creek Twp.
East Springfield 1887 Formed from Springfield Twp. Merged back with Springfield Twp. in 1978.
Edinboro 1840 Settled in 1801. Created from Washington Twp.
Elgin 1876 Settled in 1800. Formed from Concord Twp.
Fariview 1868 Settled in 1797. Organized from Fairview Twp. Remerged with Fairview Twp. in 1998.
Girard 1846 Formed from Girard Twp.
Lake City 1926 Settled in 1863. Originally North Girard Borough. Name changed in 1954.
McKean 1861 Settled in 1810. Organized from McKean Twp. Name changed from Middleboro to McKean in 1970.
Mill Village 1870 Formed from LeBoeuf Twp.
North East 1834 Settled in 1800. Created from North East Twp.
Platea 1870 Organized from Girard Twp. Named changed to Platea in 1902. Originally known as Lockport.
Union City 1865 Settled in 1856. Formed from Union Twp as Union Mills. Named changed in 1871.
Waterford 1833 Settled in 1795. Created from Waterford Twp.
Wattsburg 1833 Settled in 1828. Organized from Venango Twp.
Wesleyville 1912 Settled in 1828. Formed from Harbor Creek Twp and Millcreek Twp..
Downloaded7525067424845186753 613px-Map of Erie County Pennsylvania With Municipal and Township Labels.PNG
Township Name Incorporated Settlement History
Amity 1825 Settled in 1796. Created from Union Twp.
Concord March 12, 1800 Originally known as Brokenstraw Twp. Name changed in 1821.
Conneaut March 12, 1800 Settled in 1797.
Elk Creek March 12, 1800 Settled in 1797.
Fairview March 12, 1800 Settled in 1797.
Franklin 1844 Settled in 1802. Organized from McKean, Washington and Elk Creek Townships.
Girard 1832 Settled in 1798. Created from Fairview, Springfield, and Elk Creek Townships.
Greene March 12, 1800 Settled in 1800. Known as Beaver Dam until 1840. Portion given to McKean Twp.
Greenfield March 12, 1800 Settled in 1797. Portion given to  North East Twp. in 1841.
Harbor Creek March 12, 1800 Settled in 1796.
Lawrence Park 1926 Organized from Millcreek Twp. Designed by General Electric Co. in 1910 as a company town. Envisioned as a "garden city."[5]
LeBoeuf March 12, 1800 Settled in 1795.
McKean March 12, 1800 Settled in 1795. Portion given to Waterford in 1820 and to Franklin in 1844.
Millcreek March 12, 1800 Settled in 1795. Portions lost to City of Erie over time.
North East March 12, 1800 Settled in 1795. Gained a strip from Greenfield in 1841.
Springfield March 12, 1800 Settled in 1796.
Summit 1854 Formed from part of Greene, McKean and Waterford Townships.
Venango March 12, 1800 Surveyed in 1785. Settled in 1795.
Washington March 12, 1800 Settled in 1796. First called Conneauttee Twp. Named changed in 1834.
Waterford March 12, 1800 Settled in 1795.
Wayne 1826 Formed from Concord Twp. Portion given to form Corry Borough in 1863 and another portion in 1866 when Corry city incorporated.


  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,_Pennsylvania (accessed 17 July 2012).
  3. 3.0 3.1 History of Erie County, Pennsylvania, (Chicago: Warner, Beers and Co., 1884, [FHL book 974.899 H2h]
  4. Handybook, 847-61.
  5. History of Lawrence Park