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Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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Guide to Lehigh County, Pennsylvania ancestry, family history and genealogy in 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.


Lehigh County, Pennsylvania
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the U.S.
Founded March 6, 1812
County Seat Allentown
Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Address Lehigh County Courthouse
455 West Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA 18101-1614
Lehigh County Website
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Lehigh County Pennsylvania Historical Facts[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1895 1885 1893 1812 1812 1812 1790
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1906. General compliance by 1915.

Parent Counties: Formed from Northampton County 6 March 1812. [2]

County Seat: Allentown

Neighboring Counties: Lehigh County residents may also have records in:[3]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for after the Lehigh River, whose name is derived from the Delaware Indian term Lechauweki or Lechauwekink, meaning "where there are forks". It's county seat is Allentown and was founded March 6, 1812. It is located in the East Central area of the state.[4]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

For animated maps illustrating Pennsylvania county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Pennsylvania County Boundary Maps" (1673-1878) may be viewed for free at the website.

Records Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

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

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
HomeTownLocator WorldCat BillionGraves
PAGenWeb Archives Linkpendium
Tombstone Photos PAGravestones
PA-Roots Epodunk
Pennsylvania Genealogy Access Genealogy
BillionGraves (name) Interment
See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information.

Additional Cemetery Resources

The Cemetery Database at the Mennonite Heritage Center includes 86,000 burial records from 125 local cemeteries. Records cover cemeteries in the counties of Berks, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, and Westmoreland. The database provides transcriptions from Mennonite, Brethren, Lutheran, Reformed, Union, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, community, and private cemeteries. Search the list of cemeteries and the alphabetical surname lists in Adobe PDF format.
Visit the Mennonite Heritage Center to search the cemetery database by various criteria. The transcriptions are available for further research at the MHC library.

Census[edit | edit source]

For tips on accessing Lehigh 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[edit | edit source]

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 Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Church Records  in online catalogs like:

The Lehigh County Pennsylvania Historical Society has a list of church records available in their collection. You can access these records by completing a search request form.

County-wide Database – Multi-denominational[edit | edit source]
Lehigh County Pennsylvania Churches
Contains the church records of:
  • Jonathan Worrall, J.P./Misc. Marriage Licenses, 1890-1915
  • Alburtis: Zion Lehigh Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Allentown: Asbury United Methodist Church; Christ Lutheran Church; Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church Allentown; Jordan United Church of Christ; Salem United Church of Christ; Salem United Methodist Church; St. John's United Church of Christ; St. Joseph's Evangelical Lutheran Church; St. Paul's Lutheran Church; The Church of the Mediator; Trinity United Church of Christ; United Methodist Church
  • Catasauqua: Presbyterian Church of Catasaqua
  • Coplay: St. John's Lutheran Church
  • Emmaus: Emmaus Moravian Church; Old Moravian Cemetery; St. John's Lutheran Church; St. Margaret's Episcopal Church
  • Old Zionsville: United Church of Christ
  • Schoenersville: Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church; Christ Reformed Church
  • Slatington: Christ Episcopal Church; Methodist Episcopal Church; St. John's United Church of Christ
  • Spinnerstown: Trinity Great Swamp Church
  • Wescosville: Bethany United Methodist Church
  • 1734-1800 Humphrey, John T. Pennsylvania Births, Lehigh County, 1734-1800. Washington, D.C.: Humphrey Publications, 1992. FHL Book 974.827 K2h
Contains the baptism records of Egypt Reformed Church in Whitehall Township; Great Swamp Reformed Congregation, Lower Milford Township; St. Paul's Lutheran and Reformed Congregations in Upper Saucon Township, also known as St. Paul's Blue Church; Jordan Lutheran Congregation in South Whitehall Township; Daniel Schumacher's baptismal register; First Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Upper Milford Township; Moravian Congregation at Emmaus in Salisbury Township; Zion's Lutheran Church in Lower Macungie Township; Ziegel Church in Weissenberg Township; Reformed Congregation in Upper Milford Township, also known as Zion's Reformed Church in Zionsville; Weissenberg Lutheran and Reformed Congregations in Weissenberg Township; Reformed Congregation in Lower Milford Township; Zion Lutheran Congregation, Zionsville, Upper Milford Township; Jerusalem Lutheran and Reformed Congregations in Western Salisbury Township; Frieden's Union Church, Friedensville, Upper Saucon Township; Schlosser's Reformed Church in North Whitehall Township, also known as Union Church in Unionville; Jordan Reformed Congregation in South Whitehall Township; Zion Reformed Church, Allentown; Jerusalem Lutheran and Reformed Congregations in Eastern Salisbury Township; Lowhill Lutheran and Reformed Congregations in Lowhill Township; Heidelberg Lutheran and Reformed Congregations in Heidelberg Township; Reformed Congregation at Schoenersville in Hanover Township; Lutheran Congregation at Schoenersville in Hanover Township; Trexlertown Union Church in Upper Macungie Township; Union Church at Neffs in North Whitehall Township; Chestnuthill Reformed Congregation in Lower Milford Township; St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Allentown; Allemangel Moravian Congregation in Lynn Township.
Lutheran[edit | edit source]

Lutheran churches in Lehigh County were German in respect to the language used in the services and to the origin of the clergy. Congregations were established as early as 1734 in Upper Milford. Reformed and Lutheran congregations often shared a building. Union organizations were two congregations who purchased property and erected a church shared by both organizations. Fifteen Lutheran congregations existed in 1784.

Early records of the "Blue Church" have been published:

Christ Church, Evangelical Lutheran and Reformed Congregation, Shoenersville

Ebenezer Union Church

Ebenezer Union Church 1740-1990 -- Stones of Help. Appendixes B and D have lists of baptisms with names of children with their dates of birth and baptism and names of their parents. Also lists of confirmations, marriages, and funerals. - free.

Jerusalem Lutheran and Reformed Congregation

St. John's Reformed and Evangelical Lutheran Church, Laury's Station

Ziegel's Lutheran and Reformed Church, Weisenberg Township

Mennonite[edit | edit source]

The first Mennonite congregation was established in 1738 in Upper Saucon. Two congregations existed after 1784.

Moravian[edit | edit source]

Moravians established a settlement at Bethlehem in 1741. The Bethlehem Digital History Project (winner of a National Endowments for the Humanities prize) includes community records, Bethlehem diary, bills of sale and manumissions, business activity, meeting minutes, Moravian Indian diaries 1763-1765, registers of baptisms, marriages, and deaths, and church regulations.

There was also a Moravian congregation at Emmaus:

Reformed[edit | edit source]

As early as 1747 there were at least ten Reformed congregations in Lehigh County. By 1784 there were seventeen congregations.

Ebenezer Union Church

Egypt Reformed Church

Jerusalem Lutheran and Reformed Congregation

Jordan Reformed Congregation, South Whitehall Township

Reformed Church, Lowhill

Schlosser's or Union Reformed Church, Unionville, North Whitehall Township

Upper Milford Reformed Congregation

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Genealogy court records are housed at the Lehigh 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[edit | edit source]

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. Lehigh 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.[6]

Clerk of the Court[edit | edit source]

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.[7] For the Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Clerk of Courts address see the Courthouse section on this page.

In Lehigh County, the Clerk of Courts is known as the Clerk of Judicial Records.

Prothonotary[edit | edit source]

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 Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Prothonotary office information.

In Lehigh County the Prothonotary is known as the Civil Division

Orphans, Court[edit | edit source]

See Vital Records
The Orphans' Court is responsible for a wide range of matters. The name of the Court is derived from the more general definition of "orphan," that being a person or thing that is without protective affiliation or sponsorship. This would include those not capable of handling their own affairs, minors, incapacitated persons, decedents estates, nonprofit corporations and trusts. It is the role of the Court to ensure that the best interests of the person or entity are not compromised.

It is believed the name of this court was borrowed from the Court of Orphans of the city of London, England which had the care and guardianship of children of deceased citizens, in their minority.[8]

For Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Orphans' Court contact information see the Courthouse section on this page.

Lehigh Orphans' Court
455 Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA 18101-1614
Phone: 610-782-3220

Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas Website

Finding Court Records at Other Repositories

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

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

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

Ethnic Groups[edit | edit source]

Germans[edit | edit source]

Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Published Histories[edit | edit source]

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Land records in Lehigh County began in 1812. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Allentown, 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

  • 1984–present Images are available online using the Landex system. There is a fee to view the images.

Land Records on Microfilm

Additional Resources

Note that the "Maps" section below also includes maps related to land ownership. county pennsylvania townships.png
About this image
Click the image to view an enlarged version

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 Lehigh County Pennsylvania Land in online catalogs such as:

Maps[edit | edit source]

Lehigh County
  • Maps of Pennsylvania (1673-1878)
  • Ancestor Tracks has posted free downloadable images from the 1876 Illustrated Atlas of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. This atlas 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.

Migration[edit | edit source]

Early migration routes to and from Lehigh County, Pennsylvania for settlers included:[9]

Military[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

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 for Lehigh County, Pennsylvania include the following:

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records

Original Naturalization Records on Microfilm

Finding Naturalization Indexes at Other Repositories

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

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Lehigh 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 Lehigh 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[edit | edit source]

OBITUARIES 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

Occupations[edit | edit source]

Indentured Servants[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Poorhouse, Almshouse[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in {{{1}}} County are handled by the Orphans' Court and start when the county was created.

In addition to wills and administrations, the Orphans' Court also handles: audits of accounts of executors, administrators, trustees, and guardians; distribution of estates; appointments of guardians; adoptions; appeals from the Register of Wills; 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:

Lehigh 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 Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Genealogy probate wills in online catalogs like:

Repositories[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]
  • 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.

Courthouse[edit | edit source]
  • Clerk of Courts is also called Clerk of Judicial Records
    Divisions of this court include Civil Division, Criminal Division, Recorder of Deeds, and Register of Wills
    Phone: 610-782-3148
  • Prothonotary also known as the Civil Division under the Clerk of Judicial Records.
    Phone: 610-782-3148
    Fax: 610-871-2895
Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.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 Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Genealogy is the Allentown Pennsylvania Family History Center. For additional nearby Family History Centers, search online in the FHC directory.

Libraries[edit | edit source]
The Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania support the the John L. Ruth Historical Library and Museum at the Mennonite Heritage Center. Located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania the records and resources of this treasure also cover the counties of Bucks, Chester, Berks, Lehigh, Northampton, and Philadelphia. The website provides a comprehensive overview of library resources, online cemetery database, manuscript collections, photo collections, archival collections, and more.
The library collection includes a number of family histories.
Museums[edit | edit source]
Facilities include an onsite research library about the Lenape Indians.
Societies[edit | edit source]
The Historical Society's collection includes:
  • Church and Cemetery records – includes records of neighboring counties. See the archived list.
  • Repository for early county records including Orphans' Court, tax and prison records
  • Compiled family histories
  • Newspapers – Local German and English-language newspapers
  • Marriage records on film and card index for newspaper obituary and marriage announcements
  • City directories for Allentown
  • Wills on film, with translated German text
  • Land, census and original survey maps
The Historical Society conducts research for a fee.

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

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.

See also How to order Pennsylvania Vital Records

Birth[edit | edit source]
  • 1726-1930 Pennsylvania Births and Christenings, 1709-1950 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.

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

Marriage[edit | edit source]

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

  • 1626-2016 - Pennsylvania, United States Marriages at FindMyPast — index $
  • 1677-1950 Pennsylvania Civil Marriages, 1677-1950 at FamilySearch — index and images
  • 1700-1821 Pennsylvania Marriage Records – ($) This database is incomplete for all counties.
  • 1725-1976 Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1709-1940 - free index. Not complete for all years. This index is an electronic database of information. The entries are primarily from the International Genealogical Index (IGI) along with some entries derived from compiled and original records such as: Family Records, Church Records, Civil Registration. It may also include indexes generated by the internet indexing project sponsored by the LDS Church.
  • Pre-1810 Pennsylvania Marriages – ($) 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.
  • 1947-2010 Pennsylvania Obituary and Marriage Collection, 1947-2010 at FamilySearch — index and images
Divorce[edit | edit source]

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

Death[edit | edit source]

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

Lehigh County Pennsylvania Genealogy Websites[edit | edit source]

Lehigh County Pennsylvania Places[edit | edit source]

Lehigh County Pennsylvania Genealogy References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Page 588-593 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 579-581.
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Lehigh County, Pennsylvania" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at,_Pennsylvania.
  4.,_Pennsylvania accessed 2/12/2017
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  6. The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania accessed 10 July 2012.
  7. Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, Clerk of Courts in (accessed 25 Aug 2012)
  8. The Philadelphia Courts at accessed 10 July 2012
  9. Handybook, 847-61.