Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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United StatesGotoarrow.png Pennsylvania Gotoarrow.png Lackawanna County

Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the U.S.
Founded August 21, 1878
County Seat Scranton
Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Address Lackawanna County Courthouse
The Scranton Electric Building, Suite 400
507 Linden Street Ave
Scranton, PA 18503
Lackawanna County Website
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Historical Facts

Beginning dates for major county records
  • Parent Counties: Formed from Luzerne County 21 August 1878. [1]
  • County Seat: Scranton
  • Neighboring Counties: Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy residents may also have records in [2]Susquehanna (north) • Wayne (east) • Luzerne (southwest) • Wyoming (west)  • Monroe (south)

Named for the Lackawanna River.


Boundary Changes


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
USGenWeb-tombstone photos
Billion Graves
Pennsylvania Genealogy Epodunk
Pennsylvania Gravestones
Billion Graves
Names in Stone
Access Genealogy

See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information.


For tips on accessing Lackawanna 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.

Finding Church Records at Other Repositories

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

County-wide Database – Multi-denominational
Lackawanna county pennsylvania churches.png
Contains the church records of:
  • Carbondale: Clarks Green United Methodist Church; First Presbyterian Church; Peckville United Methodist Church
  • Jermyn: Trinity Church Carbondale and St. James Church; Worth Baptist Church
  • Newton: United Methodist Church
  • Scranton: Dallas United Methodist Church; Elm Park United Methodist Church; Emmanuel Lutheran Church; Hyde Park Presbyterian Church; Petersburg Presbyterian Church; Providence United Methodist Church; St. David's Episcopal Church; St. John's Lutheran Church; St. Luke's Episcopal Church; St. Mary's Greek Catholic Church; Westminster Presbyterian Church

The Baptist church was first organized in Scranton in 1859.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

LDS Ward and Branch Records

  • Scranton
  • Scranton Dist

Methodism was first introduced into Lackawanna County in about 1787. Meetings were held in homes and shops. By 1800, monthly meetings were held in Providence.  The first meetinghouse was erected in 1828 in Carbondale. Most early preaching was done by traveling circuit-riding ministers.[3]


Court Records

Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy court records are housed at the Lackawanna 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. Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy County 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 Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Clerk of Courts address see the Courthouse section on this page.


The office of the Prothonotary is the custodian of all civil matters in the county. This includes naturalization, immigration, equity actions, judgements, federal and local tax liens, city liens, family court, arbitrations, license suspension appeals, appeals to higher court, commercial code filings, applications for passports and divorce proceedings. See the Courthouse section on this page for the Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Prothonotary office information.

The Prothonotories are listed under the Court of Common Pleas.

Orphan's Court (see Vital Records)


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 Lackawanna County began in 1878. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Scranton, 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

  • The Recorder of Deeds offers online access to land records. Log in is required. (IQS Lackawanna County web access technical support 800-320-2617.)
  • Merrifield, Edward. "The Territory of Scranton Immediately Prior to the Lackawanna Iron and Coal Co. Purchase." Lackawanna Institute of History and Science. Historical series, no. 4. Scranton, 1896. Digital version at Internet Archive. At various libraries (WorldCat)

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 Lackawanna County Pennsylvania Land in online catalogs such as:


Media:Lackawanna county pennsylvania townships.pngLackawanna county pennsylvania townships.png
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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.

Naturalization records available for Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania include the following:

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records


Lackawanna 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 Lackawanna County

Online Newspapers

To learn if there are newspapers online for a specific town or city in Pennsylvania, see and search for the town or the name of a newspaper.

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 Abstracts



Poorhouse, Almshouse

Probate Records

Probate matters in Lackawanna 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 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:

Lackawanna County Only:

Original Probate Records on Microfilm

Additional Probate Indexes and Abstracts

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



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.


Lackawanna County Courthouse
The Scranton Electric Building
Suite 400
507 Linden Street Ave
Scranton, PA 18503

Clerk of Courts
Brooks Building
436 Spruce Street
Scranton, PA 18503
Telephone: 570-963-6723

Prothonotaries are listed under the Court of Common Pleas, as are the Register of Wills, the Orphan's Court Clerk, and the Clerk of Courts.The Prothonotary and the Clerk of Courts is the same person.

Family History Centers

PA Anthracite Heritage Museum
PO Box 20185 Steamtown Station
Scranton, PA 18502
(570) 963-4845

Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum
R.R. #1, Bald Mountain Rd.
Scranton, PA 18504
(570) 963-4845


Lackawanna Historical Society
The Catlin House
232 Monroe Ave.
Scranton, PA 18510
Phone: 570–344–3841
Hours: Tues – Fri 10–5, Sat 12–3
Library with newspapers, genealogy family files, manuscripts, maps.

Genealogical Research Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Inc. (GRSNP)
110 Main Street
Peckville, PA 18452
Phone: 570-383-7661
FAX: 570-383-7466

Hours: Monday through Thursday 9:00–2:00 and Wednesday night 6:00 pm–900 pm and Saturday by appointment
A simple search of a dated name or event $20 - Detailed searches are at the rate of $40 an hour. Postage and photocopies up to $1 are included.[6]

The GRSNP serves northeastern counties:

  • Lackawanna
  • Luzerne
  • Monroe
  • Pike
  • Susquehanna
  • Wayne
  • Wyoming

There resources include the research center and library, newsletters, and database queries.[7]


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 birth records for Scranton are located at the Scranton Public Library. Other county births (excluding Scranton) are found at the Register of Wills(or Orphans' Court).

Indexes for Pennsylvania birth records are available through the Department of of Health for 1906 only. 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

  • 1726-1930 - Pennsylvania, Births and Christenings, 1709-1950 - free index. Not complete for all years. This index is an electronic index for the years 1726 to 1930. It is not necessarily intended to index any specific set of records. This index is not complete for any particular place or region. This collection may include information previously published in the International Genealogical Index or Vital Records Index collections.
  • 1852-1854 – Pennsylvania Births – ($) Index with images.
  • 1893-1905 - Births (excluding city of Scranton) prior to 1906 at county government website - free.

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

  • 1700-1821 - Pennsylvania Marriage Records – ($) This database is incomplete for all counties.
  • 1725-1976 - Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1709-1940 - free index. Not complete for all years. This index is not necessarily intended to index any specific set of records. This index is not complete for any particular place or region. This collection may include information previously published in the International Genealogical Index or Vital Records Index collections.
  • Pre-1810 – Pennsylvania Marriages – ($) 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 – ($) Index with images.
  • 1885–present - Searchable digital images of marriage applications are available online through the office of the Clerk of the Orphans Court.
  • 1885-1914 - Lackawanna County Marriage Licenses Index at The USGenWeb Project - free.

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

Finding Vital Records at Other Repositories

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

Web Sites


Populated Places


  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. Horace Hollister,History of the Lackawanna Valley. (New York: C. A. Alvord, 1869), 322-326. FHL book Free online digital copy
  4. The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania accessed 10 July 2012.
  5. Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, Clerk of Courts in (accessed 25 Aug 2012)