Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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Guide to Dauphin County, Pennsylvania ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Harrisburg
Organized: March 4, 1785
Parent County(s): Lancaster[1]
Neighboring Counties
Northumberland  • Perry  • York  • Lebanon  • Lancaster  • Cumberland  • Schuylkill
See County Maps
Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Dauphin County PA Map.png
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named after Louis-Joseph, Dauphin of France, the first son of Louis XVI. The county is located in the southeast-central area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Dauphin County Courthouse- 2nd Floor
101 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Register of Wills Phone: 717-780-6500
Clerk of the Orphans' Court Phone: 717-780-6510
Dauphin County Prothonotary Phone: 717–780-6520
Dauphin County Website

County Clerk has birth and death records 1893-1906, marriage records from 1885, and probate records from 1795
Prothonotary Office has divorce and court records
Recorder of Deeds has land records[3]
The Register of Wills holds birth and death records (1893-1906), marriage records (1850-1855 and 1885-present) and estates. See their Genealogy search request form to request a search.

Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1893 1885 1893 1785 1785 1795 1790
*Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1906. General compliance by 1915.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

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

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

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

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

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[7]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Indentured Servants

  • Immigrant Servants Database hosted by Price Genealogy - Includes indentured/imported servants and transported convicts who served labor terms in Colonial York County, Pennsylvania.

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

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The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.

Cemeteries of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information


Additional Cemetery Resources

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Federal Census

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 18,155
1800 22,270 22.7%
1810 31,883 43.2%
1820 21,653 −32.1%
1830 25,243 16.6%
1840 30,118 19.3%
1850 35,754 18.7%
1860 46,756 30.8%
1870 60,740 29.9%
1880 76,148 25.4%
1890 96,977 27.4%
1900 114,443 18.0%
1910 136,152 19.0%
1920 153,116 12.5%
1930 165,231 7.9%
1940 177,410 7.4%
1950 197,784 11.5%
1960 220,255 11.4%
1970 223,834 1.6%
1980 232,317 3.8%
1990 237,813 2.4%
2000 251,805 5.9%
2010 268,100 6.5%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. For members, they may contain: age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage date and maiden name; death/burial date. For general information about Pennsylvania denominations, see Pennsylvania Church Records.

Dauphin county pennsylvania churches.png

The Historical Society of Dauphin County has an excellent collection of records and photographs for many local area churches. Their records include baptisms, marriages and death records for many Dauphin County churches, some dating back to the 1700's. The society also maintains an archive with hundreds of manuscript items. Details of their manuscript holdings are available on their website. For information about research services and fees, see the "Research Fees" page.

The Capital Area Genealogical Society in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has some published Dauphin County church records. See the Research Library Holdings page for a 2010 pdf. list of all their holdings.

For a good history concerning early churches of Dauphin County, see History of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. The religion section is divided into town and township and discusses the denominations in each of the areas.

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational

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

Bindnagle Lutheran and Reformed Church, Derry Township

Hill Lutheran Church, Derry Township

Klinger's Evangelical Lutheran and Reformed Church, Upper Paxton Township

St. John's Lutheran Church near Berrysburg, Miflin Township

St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lykens Township

St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Middletown

Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Killinger

St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Derry Township

Union Salem Church, Berrysburg

Zion Evangelical Lutheran and Evangelical Reformed Congregations, Erdman

Zion Lutheran Church, Harrisburg

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hummelstown


The first three churches established in the county were the Hanover, Paxtang and Derry Churches. These were organized prior to 1730.Luther Reily Kelker, "History of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania" (New York: Lewis Publishing Company, 1907) 224-240. WorldCat 361725; FHL book 974.818 H2k vol. 1

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

The Hanover Presbyterian Church was built in 1736 in a Scotch-Irish settlement in what is now Lebanon County. This settlement was previously in Lancaster County, before Dauphin County was formed. Wayland F. Dunaway, The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania (Chapel Hill, N.C.: The University of North Carolina Press, 1944), 53-54. Free digital version at PA's Past: Digital Bookshelf at Penn State.

Derry Presbyterian Congregation, Derry Township

Harrisburg Presbyterian Church

Pine Street Presbyterian Church, Harrisburg

Westminster Presbyterian Church, Harrisburg

Hoffman Reformed Church

Shoop's Reformed Church, Harrisburg

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

For information about records kept in the Orphan's court, Prothonotary Court, Court of Common Pleas, and other courts in counties of Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Court Records Wiki page.

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

For online resources, passenger lists, and specific groups coming to Pennsylvania, see Pennsylvania Emigration and Immigration.

  • Immigrant Servants Database hosted by Price Genealogy - Includes indentured/imported servants and transported convicts who served labor terms in Colonial York County, Pennsylvania.

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

For groups that came, see People section of the Pennsylvania Emigration page.

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

The Orphan's Court ensures the best interests of those not capable of handling their own affairs: minors, incapacitated persons, decedents' estates, and more.[9]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Dauphin county pennsylvania townships.png

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a specific location and reveal family relationships. Records include: deeds, abstracts, indexes, mortgages, leases, grants, sheriff sales, land patents, maps and more. For more information, see Pennsylvania Land and Property.

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

Online Land Abstracts and Records

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

York CountyLancaster CountyLebanon CountySchuylkill CountyNorthumberland CountySnyder CountyJuniata CountyPerry CountyCumberland CountyPA DAUPHIN.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Maps of Pennsylvania (1673-1878)

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

Ancestor Tracks has posted downloadable images of The Combination Atlas Map of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, Compiled, Drawn and Published from Personal Examinations and Surveys by Everts & Stewart, 1875. This wall map located in the Library of Congress shows major landowners and geographic sites at the date of publishing. While the physical maps are in the public domain, the images we have taken of the maps belong to us and are not be used commercially. We hereby give permission to use them strictly for personal use; please attribute to Ancestor Tracks.

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

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

French and Indian War
In 1756, Colonel Armstrong recruited many Scotch-Irish men from what is now Dauphin County (then Lancaster County). They attacked and destroyed the Indian village at Kittanning (present-day Armstrong County).[10]

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

Revolutionary War
Men from what is now Dauphin County (then Lancaster County) served in the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment.[11]

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

Civil War

World War II

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. For more information, see Pennsylvania Naturalization

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers may contain obituaries, births, marriages, deaths, anniversaries, family gatherings, family travel, achievements, business notices, engagement information, and probate court proceedings. Newspapers are often found in local or university libraries, historical or genealogical societies, or state archives in the area where the newspaper was published. See Pennsylvania Newspapers for more information.

Newspapers of Dauphin County

Online Newspapers

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

Online Newspaper Abstracts

Newspaper Excerpts and Abstracts June - September 1918.

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

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Obituaries are generally found in local newspapers where the person died or where family members lived. Local libraries or societies may have indexes or other sources.

Online Obituary Abstracts

Obituary Excerpts and Abstracts

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

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Dauphin 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 Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[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. County marriage records were kept in earnest in 1885. Births and deaths, at the county level, were begun in 1893 and kept through 1905. For the most complete set of records, contact the County Orphans' Court.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Early births 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. For more information, see Pennsylvania Vital Records.

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Pennsylvania marriages were created by county officials. Contact Dauphin County Courthouse

Death[edit | edit source]

Early deaths 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. For indexes and records, 1906 and later, see Pennsylvania Vital Records.

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Divorce records are available through the office of the Prothonotary.

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Dauphin County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Pennsylvania Archives and Libraries.

National Archives at Philadelphia
14700 Townsend Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154-1096
Phone: 215-305-2044
Fax: 215-305-2052

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Dauphin County. For state-wide library facilities, see Pennsylvania Archives and Libraries.

  • Alexander Family Research Library and Archives
    219 S. Front Street
    Harrisburg PA 17104
The Library is a wonderful resource for both genealogical and local history research. It holds church records, newspaper clippings, cemetery inventories, military records, and more.If you cannot come to Harrisburg to do your own research, the Librarian can conduct on-site research for an additional fee. Please contact the Librarian if you have any questions.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Dauphin County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Pennsylvania Societies.

Websites[edit | edit source]

  • USGenWeb project. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the state, then the county.
  • Dauphin County PA Genealogy
  • FamilySearch Catalog – The FamilySearch catalog contains descriptions and access information for all genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) in their collection.  Use Historical Records to search for specific individuals in genealogical records.

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dauphin_County,_Pennsylvania accessed 2/2/2017
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002) Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, p.589
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Dauphin County, Pennsylvania," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dauphin_County,_Pennsylvania, accessed 18 January 2020 .
  8. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/2/23/Igipennsylvaniac.pdf.
  9. The Philadelphia Courts at Common Pleas accessed 10 July 2012
  10. Wayland F. Dunaway, The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania (Chapel Hill, N.C.: The University of North Carolina Press, 1944), 150-154. Free digital version at PA's Past: Digital Bookshelf at Penn State.
  11. 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.
  12. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/2/23/Igipennsylvaniac.pdf.
  13. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/2/23/Igipennsylvaniac.pdf.