Adams County, Pennsylvania
Genealogy and Facts

Adams County

Adams County was established on January 22, 1800 from York County. The county was named in honor of John Adams,second U.S. President.

Currently the Adams County Seat is located in Gettysburg and in addition the county government website is www.adamscounty.us

Counties adjacent to Adams County are Cumberland County (north), York County (east), Carroll County, Maryland (southeast), Frederick County, Maryland (southwest), Franklin County (west).

Municipalities situated in Adams County consist of Townships: Berwick, Butler, Conewago, Cumberland, Franklin, Freedom, Germany, Hamilton, Hamiltonban, Highland, Huntington, Latimore, Liberty, Menallen, Mount Joy, Mount Pleasant, Oxford, Reading, Straban, Tyrone, Union. Boroughs: Abbottstown, Arendtsville, Bendersville, Biglerville, Bonneauville, Carroll Valley, East Berlin, Fairfield, Gettysburg, Littlestown, McSherrystown, New Oxford, York Springs. See also Adams County Municipalities Incorporation Dates.

Adams County vital records can be found at the Pennsylvania Office of Vital Records has copies of birth and death records since 1906 and death records. There is a fee for each copy requested. Please refer to the information to the Statewide Vital Records in Pennsylvania for current fees and application process. Birth, marriage, and death records are connected with central life events.

You can search online for Adams County Birth, Marriage, Divorce or Death Records. You can also Order Electronically Online or can download an application for Pennsylvania  Birth CertificateDeath Certificate Applications to mail. Walk-in service is available at any of these six public offices: Erie, Harrisburg, New Castle, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or Scranton.

Adams County does have Federal Census Schedules to assist in looking into your family tree. Federal Population Schedules are available for 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragment), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.

Adams Co. Mortality Schedules can be obtained for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Adams Co. Industry and Agriculture Schedules can be acquired for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Adams Co. Union Veterans Schedules can be found for 1890. You can find free down-loadable and also printable census forms to help with your research.

Adams County Society and Family History Resources

A list of Adams County Historical  and Genealogical Societies, Forums, Message Boards, Libraries, Archives.

Adams County Courthouse and Government Records

Researchers often forget the great importance of Adams County court, probate, and land documents as a resource of genealogical information. Hidden away in Pennsylvania courthouses and archives everywhere are the hopes and dreams and frustrations of countless Pennsylvania inhabitants. The possibilities are great that your chosen ancestors have left a detailed record of at least several factors of their lives in the Adams County court records. Even if your ancestors and forefathers is not mentioned in a Court case, contemplate all of the other procedures which may have lead to him or her appearing in court records.

You should speak to the clerk's department to determine hours, mailing address, fees and other facts in advance of visiting or looking for information because of sometimes changing contact info. The Department Offices DO NOT DO RESEARCH. The data files are readily available to interested parties, barring private issues. A lot of employees will guide individuals in locating the materials, but it's up to the man or women to complete the researching.

The below information and facts shows whatever death, marriage, birth,, land, wills, and legal records are typically in Adams County. The dates indicated listed below tend to be the first known records data with this county.

  • Adams County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
    • Address: 111-117 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325
    • Phone: (717) 334-6781 Register of Wills
  • Adams County Recorder of Deeds is responsible for recording documents related to property. Documents recorded consist of, but are not limited to, deeds, mortgages, restrictions, notaries, public and elected county officers. Other documents, such as Military Service Discharges, foreign birth certificates, as well as obscure documents like cattle brands, are also recorded here.
    • Land Records: 1800
  • Adams County Prothonotary / Clerk of Courts has been the clerk of court of common pleas since 1707. Court records here include divorces, naturalizations, peddlers' licenses, registration of attorneys, oaths of county officers, equity, sheriff's sales, juror lists, some tax records, and some civil court records.Other court records are with the clerk of courts.
    • Court & Divorce Records: 1800
  • Adams County Register of Wills / Orphan's Court Clerk are often the same person, sometimes sharing the responsibility of the recorder of deeds and clerk of courts as well. The Register of Wills' principal duties include probating wills and accepting for filing all documents necessary to complete the administration of a decedent's estate. The Clerk of Orphans' Court, our office serves as the filing office and custodian of records for matters involving adoptions, guardianships and estate litigation. The office also issues all marriage licenses. Since 1885 the clerk of the orphans' court in each county has had the responsibility of recording marriages
    • Marriage & Probate Records: 1800 
    • Birth & Death Records: before Jan 1906
  • Adams County Tax Assessor Office has tax records but may also be in the county commissioners' office or with the prothonotary.

Adams County Links

The following are web links to Genealogy and family history, Records and Resources relevant to Adams County. Each of these genealogy links fall into 3 categories: Business oriented Sites, Private Sites or Organization Sites. Some have free access some require a cost. This is basically a listing which has been compiled or submitted. I do not recommend or promote one genealogy site over another. Feel free to provide your own favorite Adams County genealogy or family history related sites.

Adams Co. PA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Adams Co. PA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Adams Co. PA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Adams Co. PA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Adams Co. PA Census Records

Adams Co. PA Cemeteries & Graveyards

Adams Co. PA Church & Bible Records

Adams Co. PA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Adams Co. PA General and History Websites

Adams Co. PA Immigration & Naturalization

Adams Co. PA Military Records

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