Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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United StatesGotoarrow.png Pennsylvania Gotoarrow.png Lancaster County

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania genealogy and family history research page. Guide to genealogy, history, and courthouse sources including birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, wills, deeds and land records, Civil War records, Revolutionary War records, family histories, cemeteries, churches, tax records, newspapers, and obituaries.

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the U.S.
Founded October 14, 1728
County Seat Lancaster
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Address Lancaster County Courthouse
Register of Wills
50 N. Duke St.
P.O. Box 83480
Lancaster, PA 17608-3480
Lancaster County Website
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Historical Facts

Beginning dates for major county records

Many Scotch-Irish immigrants settled in Lancaster County in the early eighteenth century. The area was predominantly a German place of settlement.[3]


Boundary Changes

  • 14 October 1749: York County set off.
  • 14 October 1751: Berks County set off.
  • 27 January 1750: Cumberland County set off.
  • 21 March 1772: Northumberland County set off.
  • 16 October 1813: Lebanon County set off.


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


Pennsylvania Gravestones

Billion Graves

Names in Stone

Access Genealogy


See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information.

Lancaster County USGenWeb Project This site has several listings for Lancaster County cemetery records.

Cemeteries of Lancaster County in Adamstown & Akron Boroughs and Bart, Brecknock, & Caernarvon Townships. Lists of cemeteries, some with lists of burials

Cemeteries in Lancaster County at Find A Grave

The Family History Library has a number of cemetery records in books and on films.  They would be available either in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City or in one of its affiliate Family History Centers.

Individual cemeteries:


For tips on accessing Lancaster 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

Finding Church Records at Other Repositories

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

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational
Lancaster county pennsylvania churches.png
Contains the church records of:
  • Columbia: Presbyterian Church; United Church of Christ
  • Eden: Mount Hope United Methodist Church
  • Ephrata: Bethany United Church of Christ
  • Lancaster: First Presbyterian Church; Salem United Church of Christ; St. John's Episcopal Church
  • Leacock: Christ Episcopal Church
  • Lititz: St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Maytown: St. John's Lutheran Church
  • Millersville: St. Paul Lutheran Church
  • Mohnton: Swamp Lutheran Church
  • Reamstown: Salem Lutheran Church
  • Rohrerstown: Trinity Lutheran Church
  • Rothsville: Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • 1723-1800 - Humphrey, John T. Pennsylvania Births, Lancaster County, 1723-1800. 2 vols. Washington, D.C.: Humphrey Publications, 1997. FHL Book 974.815 K2h.
Contains records from the following churches: Sadsbury Monthly Meeting, Sadsbury Township; Little Britain Monthly Meeting, Little Britain Township; St. James' Protestant Episcopal Church, Lancaster; Muddy Creek Lutheran Church, East Cocalico Township; Emanuel Lutheran Church, Elizabeth Township, also called Old Warwick Lutheran Church; Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Lancaster; Moravian Church, Lancaster; First Reformed Church, Lancaster; Trinity Lutheran Church, New Holland; St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Lancaster; Zion Lutheran Church, Manheim; Muddy Creek Reformed Church, East Cocalico Township; Bangor Protestant Episcopal Church, Caenarfon [sic] Township; Bergstrasse Lutheran Church, Ephrata Township; Records of Rev. John Waldschmidt; Records of Rev. John Cuthbertson; Records of Rev. Traugott Frederick Illing; Christ Lutheran Church, Elizabethtown; St. Michael's Lutheran Church, Strasburg; Swamp Reformed Church, West Cocalico Township; Zion Reformed Church, Elizabeth Township, also known as Reyer's Reformed Church; Blasser Reformed Church, West Donegal Township; White Oak Lutheran and Reformed churches, Penn Township; Zeltenreich/Seltenreich Reformed Church, Earl Township; Maytown Reformed Church, East Donegal Township; St. Paul's Reformed Church, Manheim; Pequea Reformed, Strasburg Township; Maytown Lutheran Church, East Donegal Township; Cocalico Reformed Church, Ephrata; Records of Rev. John Casper Stoever, Jr.; Moravian Church, Lititz.
  • 1787-1804 - St. Mary's Catholic Church, Lancaster, PA Marriages, Baptisms, Burials 1787-1804 at PAGenWeb - free.
Church of the Brethren
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Blue Ridge District of the Eastern States Mission comprised church members living in southeastern Pennsylvania. District headquarters were in Lancaster, with branches located in Bucks, Fulton, Lancaster, and York counties.

Ephrata Community
  • 1728-1853 - Sachse, Julius F. "The Registers of the Ephrata Community," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Burials 1728-1853: Vol. 14 (1890):297-312, Burials 1730s-1813: 387-402. For free online access, see WeRelate. Also available on the Church of the Brethren Network website.

St. James's Church, Lancaster

Registers begin in 1755.[4]

  • 1755-1759 - Private Marriage Register of Rev. Thomas Barton, in York County, Pennsylvania in "Private Church Registers to 1800, York County, Pennsylvania" at Ancestry ($).

St. John's Church, Pequea

Registers are lost, but some parishioners appear in the registers of St. James's Church, Lancaster.[4]

St. Thomas's Church, Caernarvon

Registers are lost, but some parishioners appear in the registers of St. James's Church, Lancaster.[4]

Bangor Church, Caernarvon

Registers are lost, but some parishioners appear in the registers of St. James's Church, Lancaster. An old trunk was discovered at Bangor Church with "sundry account-books and ancient title-deeds."[4]

  • Weiser, Frederick Sheely. Parochial Registers for Lutheran Congregations in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 1729-1960: A Guide to Genealogical Resources in the Parish Records of Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, As Well As to Translations and Copies in Print in Public Institutions. Lancaster, Pa.: unknown, 1961. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

Evangelical Lutheran

Rev. John Casper Stoever's Records, 1730-1779:

Book: Records of Rev. John Casper Stoever, Baptismal and Marriage, 1730-1779. (Harrisburg, PA: Harrisburg Pub.,1896). Digital version: Internet Archive.
- Rev. John Casper Stoever’s Baptisms in Alphabetical Order
- Marriage Records of Rev. John Casper Stoever with all 1,429 marriages compiled by Mildred Smith, (Lancaster County Genealogy Project).
  • 1884-1913 - The Church of the Mount Hope Methodist-Episcopal Church, Quarryville Charge, Record of Marriages at PAGenWeb - free.

The first Scotch-Irish settlement in Lancaster County was made at Chickies Creek in 1714. Donegal Presbyterian Church was built there shortly thereafter. Pequea Presbyterian Church, constructed at another early Scotch-Irish settlement, was built in 1724.[3]

Paxtang Church and 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. This ground later fell within the bounds of Dauphin County and still later Lebanon County after those counties split off.[3]

  • 1800s-1900s - Pennsylvania Quaker Records: Warrington, York County, Little Brittain, Lancaster County, Centre, Centre County, West Branch, Clearfield County, Dunnings Creek, Bedford County. n.p. Digital versions at Ancestry ($); Internet Archive - free.
  • 1774-1819 - Transcript of baptismal record of the Reformed Church of Maytown, Lancaster County, 1765 (1774)-1819. Typescript held at the Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

Court Records

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Genealogy court records are housed at the Lancaster 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. Lancaster 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.[5]

Clerk of the Courts

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.[6] For the Lancaster 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 Lancaster 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


Shirk, Willis L., Jr. "Assimilating into the Amerian Milieu: French Huguenots in Eighteenth Century Lancaster County", Lancaster Historical Society Journal, 95:3, 74.




Published Histories

Some of the Lancaster County histories available in the Family History Library:

Land and Property

Land records in Lancaster County began in 1728. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Lancaster, 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

  • 1729–present The Recorder of Deeds has placed all county land records on-line which can be viewed for free. Land Records from 1981 to present can be viewed and searched; you do not have to be a registered user, just login as Guest. Land Records from 1729 to 1981 can be viewed but not searched so have the Page number and the Land Record number (Book and Volume for older records).

Land Records on Microfilm


  • MacInnes, Sharon Cook and Angus MacInnes. Early Landowners of Pennsylvania : Atlas of Township Warrantee Maps of Lancaster County, PA. Apollo, Pennsylvania : Closson Press, 2008. FHL book 974.815 E7ms
  • Gilbert, Geri. The Warrant Maps of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: Including an Every-name Index.Morgantown, Pennsylvania : Masthof Press, 2005. FHL Q book 974.815 R2g

Note that the "Maps" section below also 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 Lancaster County Pennsylvania Land in online catalogs such as:


Media:Lancaster county pennsylvania townships.pngLancaster county pennsylvania townships.png
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French and Indian War

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

Colonel Henry Bouquet led a group of Scotch-Irish men from Lancaster County to rescue Fort Pitt. They decisively defeated the Indians at the Battle of Bushy Run.[3]

Reverend John Elder, pastor of Derry and Paxtang churches, recruited Scotch-Irish rangers from his congregation in 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

Local men served in the Lancaster County Militia. A guide at the Pennsylvania State Archives website identifies townships where specific companies recruited soldiers, see Revolutionary War Militia Battalions and Companies, Arranged by County.

Lancaster County men also served in the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment,[7] the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment,[7] and the 9th Pennsylvania Regiment.[8]

Civil War

Pennsylvania Volunteers of the Civil War lists Lancaster County Pennsylvania Soldiers in the Civil War - Civil War Books, Rosters, Medal of Honor Recipients, and Soldier Biographies.

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 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania include the following:

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records

Finding Naturalization Indexes at Other Repositories

Additional naturalization indexes can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Genealogy naturalization in online catalogs like:


Lancaster 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 Lancaster County

Online Newspapers

  • Lancaster Intelligencer 1833-1852
  • Marietta Register 1883-1890
  • Mariettian 1858-1860
  • Marietta Advocate and Farmers' and Mechanic's Intelligencer 1833-1835
  • Marietta Pioneer 9/1827-9/1828
  • Pioneer (Marietta) 9/26/1828-1/8/1830

The Lancaster County Digitization Project is a consortium of institutions interested in digitizing the county's newspaper and manuscript collections. Several Lancaster county newspapers are provided in digital format through this and other collaborative efforts. 

Online Newspaper Abstracts

Newspaper Collections

Father Abraham 6/12/1868-4/29/1870; 10/25/1872-12/13/1872
Lancaster Intelligencer 12/28/1847-12/27/1871

Newspaper Extracts and 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


Indentured Servants


Poorhouse, Almshouse

Probate Records

Probate matters in Lancaster 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

  • 1729-1850 - Fulton, Eleanore Jane. An Index to the Will Books and Intestate Records of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania 1729-1850: with an Historical Sketch and Classified Bibliography. Lancaster, Pa.: Fulton and Mylin, 1936. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

Online Probate Records

Original Probate Records on Microfilm

Additional Probate Indexes and Abstracts

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


  • Lancaster County Archives
    150 North Queen Street, Suite 10,
    Lancaster, PA 17603
    Phone: (717) 299-8319
    FAX: (717) 735-9606
    The archives has historic records, such as wills and deeds from the beginning of the county in 1729.
  • 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.

  • Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society (ERHS) and United Church of Christ Archives (UCC)
    Philip Schaff Library
    Lancaster Theological Seminary
    555 W. James Street
    Lancaster, PA 17603
    Phone: (717) 290-8734
    This site has church records and family histories that used to be at the Franklin and Marshall College Library.
  • Franklin and Marshall College Library
    Archives and Special Collections
    450 College Ave
    PO Box 3003
    Lancaster, PA 17604
    Phone: (717) 291-4223
    Has some genealogical data about College faculty, students and administrators only. All church records and family histories were moved to the Lancaster Theological Seminary in 1967 (see above).
  • Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society - Archives
    2215 Millstream Rd
    Lancaster, PA 17602-1499
    Phone:(717) 393-9745
    Fax: (717) 393-8751
    This is the official depository for records of the Atlantic Coast and Lancaster Conferences of the Mennonite Church. In addition, it has many records of other organizations affiliated with them.It also has helps for genealogists.
  • Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
    Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
    300 Gap Road
    P. O. Box 15
    Strasburg, PA 17579
    Phone: (717) 687-8628
    The Library has thousands of historic books and magazines about railroads. The Archives has a large collection of photographs, maps, and manuscripts. Try their catalogs to see specific information.

Lancaster County Courthouse

  • Register of Wills
    50 N. Duke St.
    P.O. Box 83480
    Lancaster, PA 17608-3480
    email: Mary Ann Gerber -
    The Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans' Court Office provides a variety of services to the public such as the probate of decedent estates, issuance of marriage licenses, collection of inheritance taxes and maintenance of records pertaining to adoptions, guardianships and estates.
  • Office of the Clerk of Courts
    County of Lancaster
    50 North Duke Street
    P.O. Box 83480
    Lancaster, PA 17608-3480
    Phone: (717) 299-8275
    Fax: (717) 295-3686
    The Clerk of Courts maintains criminal records for the courts and the 519,000 plus citizens of Lancaster County. Many of the records are scanned.
  • Recorder of Deeds
    150 N. Queen St.
    P.O. Box 1478
    Lancaster, PA 17608-1478
    Telephone: : 717.299.8238
    Fax: 717.299.8393
    An online sight allows users to search records from 1729-1981 which requires you to sign in.
  • Office of Prothonotary
    County of Lancaster
    50 North Duke Street
    P.O. Box 83480
    Lancaster PA 17608-3480
    Phone: 717-299-8282
    Fax: 717-293-7210
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 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Genealogy is the Lancaster Pennsylvania Family History Center. For additional nearby Family History Centers, search online in the FHC directory.

  • Lancaster County Library
    Location Address:
        125 North Duke St
    Lancaster, PA 17602
    Phone Number: (717) 394-2651
    Mailing Address:
        125 North Duke St
    Lancaster, PA 17602

The Lancaster Public Library is part of the Lancaster Public Library System that serves 16 libraries. They have shared online catalog which has a sizable genealogy and biography collection.
Online Catalog

  • Winters Heritage House Museum
    Seibert Library
    Elizabethtown Preservation Associates, Inc.
    P.O. Box 14, 41-47 East High Street
    Elizabethtown PA 17022
    Phone: (717) 367-4672
    Fax: (717) 367-9991
    The library has historical and family records, maps, photographs, etc. Call ahead to make an appointment with a research librarian. The museum has three original log structures dating from 1750-1847, and a brick house dating to 1877.
  • Amish Farm and House
    GPS/MapQuest Address:
    The Amish Farm and House
    2395 Lincoln Highway East (Covered Bridge Drive)
    Lancaster, PA 17602
    Phone: 717-394-6185
    Fax: 717-394-4857
    Tours explain Amish life and customs.
  • Bethel Harambee Historical Services
    Hopkins Study Center
    Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
    450-512 East Strawberry
    Lancaster PA 17602-4449
    Phone: (717) 393-8379
    Has historical documents relating to African American history.
  • Ephrata Cloister
    632 West Main Street, Ephrata, PA 17522
    Phone: 717-733-6600
    The cloister has a small research library that is open weekdays by appointment only. Limited genealogical materials are available. "The staff is unable to answer genealogical queries, but can provide some advice on available sources." For an appointment, call the Curator.
    Lancaster County's Historical Society and President James Buchanan's Wheatland
    230 North President Avenue
    Lancaster, PA 17603
    Phone: (717) 392-4633
    Fax: (717) 293-2739
    Email: Information|Research Assistant
    This historical center has a library and archives with many records of genealogical value.  Their collection contains over 15,000 volumes, as well as maps, family files, subject information files, photographs, oral histories, microfilm, and CDs. A reference collection consisting of indexes, genealogical and historical journals, and books is available for browsing. All other books are housed in closed stacks and must be requested at the reference desk.

Lancaster city and county directories 1847-1922 and directories for several other Lancaster cities have been digitized and are available online.


There are two very helpful societies in Lancaster County:

The society has a research library, with an Online Search.
The Family History Library has some of the journals they have published on microfilm.

The society has an online catalog.

  • Come join our Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Group at Facebook


  • Pre-1729 - Eshelman, H. Frank. Assessment Lists and Other Manuscript Documents of Lancaster County Prior to 1729. Digitized by Internet Archive - free.[9]
  • 1751, 1756-1758 - Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Tax Lists 1751, 1756, 1757, 1758: With Additional Tax Lists and Index at FamilySearch Books Online - free.
  • 1771-1773, 1779, 1782 - Proprietary and State Tax Lists of the County of Lancaster: For the Years 1771, 1772, 1773, 1779 and 1782. (Pennsylvania Archives, Series 3, Vol. 17). Digital versions at Ancestry ($); Google Books - free.
  • 1798 - Pennsylvania, U.S. Direct Tax Lists, 1798 at Ancestry ($).

The Salt Lake City Family History Library has microfilmed many Lancaster County taxation records, and they are available in Salt Lake City and can be accessed in its satellite Family History Centers.

Vital Records

For birth, marriage and death records prior to 1906 contact:

Lancaster County Archives
150 North Queen Street, Suite 10
Lancaster PA 17603
Phone: 717-299-8319
Fax: 717-735-9606

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.


The following records are available at the Lancaster County 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

Online Resources:

  • 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.

Old birth records for Lancaster County from 1881 through 1906 are kept by the Register of Wills.

Birth and Death

Birth/Death records from 1907 to the present are kept by the Pennsylvania Department of Vital Records at New Castle, PA

The Lancaster County Register of Wills maintains a 24-hour telephone information line (717-295-2001) which gives specific details about how to access these birth/death records.


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

The following records are available at the Lancaster County Archives :

  • 1852-1855 Marriage Registrations
  • 1885-2004 Marriage License Applications

Online Resources:

  • 1700-1821 - Pennsylvania Marriage Records – ($) This database is incomplete for all counties.
  • 1725-1976 - Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1709-1940 - free index. Not complete for all years. This index is not necessarily intended to index any specific set of records. This index is not complete for any particular place or region. This collection may include information previously published in the International Genealogical Index or Vital Records Index collections.
  • 1730-17791,429 Marriage Records (1730-1779) of Rev. John Casper Stoever Pennsylvania/Maryland, at USGenWeb - Lists date of marriage as well as names and residences of bride and groom.
  • 1767-1913 - Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1709-1940 - free index. Not complete for all years.
  • Marriage Licenses are recorded continuously from 1885 and an index are available on-line.
  • Pre-1810 – Pennsylvania Marriages – ($) 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.
  • 1885-1950 - Pennsylvania County Marriage, 1885-1950 Extracted marriage records – free. Most of the records consist of marriage licenses, certificates, applications, docket books, and affidavits. This database is incomplete for all counties. May also contain marriage records earlier than 1885.
  • Beginning 1948 The Register of Wills keeps a marriage index beginning 1948 with an online index.

Divorce records are available through the office of the Prothonotary. The office of the Prothonotary is located in the courthouse building. Records may be obtained by visiting or writing.

  • 1851-1997 Divorce Records, online index (select Index Book Search)

The following records are available at the Lancaster County Archives :

  • 1852-1855 Death Registrations, online index 
  • 1894-1907 Death Registrations
  • 1874-1978 Death Affidavits

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 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Vital Records in online catalogs like:

Web Sites

  • FamilyHart Online Database This is an online family database containing over 719,000 records, mostly of Pennsylvania Dutch Extraction. Many of the families are from Lancaster County. This database adds 1,000 names per week which is updated online every quarter. It is the most comprehensive family database online for Pennsylvania Dutch families.


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. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Wayland F. Dunaway, The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania (Chapel Hill, N.C.: The University of North Carolina Press, 1944), 50. 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 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "way" defined multiple times with different content
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Philip Syng Physick Conner,"Registers of the Anglican Church in Pennsylvania prior to 1800," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 12 (1888):341-349. For free online access, see WeRelate.
  5. The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania accessed 10 July 2012.
  6. Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, Clerk of Courts in (accessed 25 Aug 2012)
  7. 7.0 7.1 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.
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "9th Pennsylvania Regiment,", accessed 31 May 2012.
  9. Our thanks to FamilyHart at PAGenWeb for this link.