Berks County, Pennsylvania
Genealogy and Facts
Berks County was established on March 11, 1752 from Chester County, Lancaster County and Philidelphia County. The county was named for the English county of Berkshire.
Currently the Berks County Seat is located in Reading and in addition the county government website is www.co.berks.pa.us
Counties adjacent to Berks County are Schuykill County (north), Lehigh County (northeast), Montgomery County (southeast), Chester County (south), Lancaster County (southwest), Lebanon County (west).
Municipalities situated in Berks County consist of Townships: Albany, Alsace, Amity, Bern, Bethel, Brecknock, Caernarvon, Centre, Colebrookdale, Cumru, District, Douglass, Earl, Exeter, Greenwich, Heidelberg, Hereford, Jefferson, Longswamp, Lower Alsace, Lower Heidelberg, Maidencreek, Marion, Maxatawny, Muhlenberg, North Heidelberg, Oley, Ontelaunee, Penn, Perry, Pike, Richmond, Robeson, Rockland, Ruscombmanor, South Heidelberg, Spring, Tilden, Tulpehocken, Union, Upper Bern, Upper Tulpehocken, Washington, Windsor. Boroughs: Adamstown, Bally, Bechtelsville, Bernville, Birdsboro, Boyertown, Centerport, Fleetwood, Hamburg, Kenhorst, Kutztown, Laureldale, Leesport, Lenhartsville, Lyons, Mohnton, Mount Penn, New Morgan, Robesonia, St. Lawrence, Shillington, Shoemakersville, Sinking Spring, Strausstown, Topton, Wernersville, West Reading, Womelsdorf, Wyomissing. Cities & Towns: Reading. See also Berks County Municipalities Incorporation Dates.
Berks 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 Berks County Birth, Marriage, Divorce or Death Records. You can also Order Electronically Online or can download an application for Pennsylvania Birth Certificate, Death Certificate Applications to mail. Walk-in service is available at any of these six public offices: Erie, Harrisburg, New Castle, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or Scranton.
Berks County does have Federal Census Schedules to assist in looking into your family tree. Federal Population Schedules are available for 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragment), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.
Berks Co. Mortality Schedules can be obtained for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Berks Co. Industry and Agriculture Schedules can be acquired for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Berks 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.
Berks County Society and Family History Resources
A list of Berks County Historical and Genealogical Societies, Forums, Message Boards, Libraries, Archives.
- Pennsylvania Genealogy Network Community (plus.google.com)
- State of Pennsylvania Genealogy Network (facebook.com)
- Pennsylvania Archives - Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (fold3.com) series contains records of pennsylvania, from 1664 to 1780, and includes military, marriage, tax and land records. This is a Free Database.
- Berks County Historical Society, 940 Centre Avenue, Reading 19601
- Berks County Genealogical Society, 3618 Kutztown Road, Laureldale 19605
- Berks County, Pennsylvania Message Boards (boards.ancestry.com) read and post messages about your ancestors in Berks County
- Berks County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Forum (genforum.genealogy.com) read and post messages with other genealogy researchers for Berks County
Berks County Courthouse and Government Records
Researchers often forget the great importance of Berks 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 Berks 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 Berks County. The dates indicated listed below tend to be the first known records data with this county.
- Berks County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
- Address: 633 Court Street, Reading, PA 19601
- Phone: (610) 478-5600
- Berks 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.
- Phone: 610.478.3380
- Land Records: 1752 (There are unrecorded deeds back to 1717 on microfilm at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.)
- Berks 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.
- Phone: 610.478.6550
- Court & Divorce Records: 1752
- Berks 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
- Phone: (610) 478-6600
- Marriage & Probate Records: 1752
- Birth & Death Records: before Jan 1906
- Berks County Tax Assessor Office has tax records but may also be in the county commissioners' office or with the prothonotary.
Berks County Links
The following are web links to Genealogy and family history, Records and Resources relevant to Berks 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 Berks County genealogy or family history related sites.
Berks Co. PA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers
Berks Co. PA Books, Newspapers & Publications
Berks Co. PA Birth, Marriage & Death Records
- See Also Statewide Birth, Marriage, Divorce and Death Records in Pennsylvania
- Order Hard Copies of Vital Records (archives.com)
- Berks County, Pennsylvania Marriages, 1885-1929 (search.ancestry.com)
- Reading, Pennsylvania Births, 1876-1905 (search.ancestry.com)
- Reading, Pennsylvania Deaths, 1873-1905 (search.ancestry.com)
- Berks County, Pennsylvania Births, 1876-1906 (search.ancestry.com)
- Berks County, Pennsylvania Deaths, 1852-55, 1894-1906 (search.ancestry.com)
- Reading, Pennsylvania Marriages, 1876-84 (search.ancestry.com)
- Berks County, Pennsylvania Delayed Births (search.ancestry.com)
- Pennsylvania Vital Records, Vol. I, Vol. II, Vol. III (search.ancestry.com)
- Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1885 - 1950 (familysearch.org)
- Social Security Death Index (search.ancestry.com)
Berks Co. PA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records
- See Also Pennsylvania Court & Tax, Land and Probate Records
- Order County Court, Civil or Criminal Records Online
- Berks County, Pennsylvania Estate Records, 1752-1914 (search.ancestry.com)
- Index of Berks County, Pennsylvania, wills and administration records, 1752-1850 (search.ancestry.com)
- Early Pennsylvania Land Records (search.ancestry.com)
- State of the accounts of the collectors of excise for Berks County, from the 4th of August 1774 ... until the 24th of November (search.ancestry.com)
- State of the accounts of Nicholas Brosius, Esq., collector of excise, Berks County, from the time of his appointment, November (search.ancestry.com)
- State of the accounts of Conrad Foos, collector of excise, Berks County, from November 24th 1781, to the 22d of August 1783 ... (search.ancestry.com)
- State of the accounts of Nicholas Brosius, Berks County, 1785. (search.ancestry.com)
- BLM Land Records (glorecords.blm.gov)
Berks Co. PA Census Records
Berks Co. PA Cemeteries & Graveyards
Berks Co. PA Church & Bible Records
- See Also Statewide Church & Bible Records for Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania Church Records - Adams, Berks, and Lancaster Counties, 1729-1881 (search.ancestry.com)
- Berks County, Pennsylvania, 1745-1805: Cacusi or Hain's Reformed Church (search.ancestry.com)
- Berks County, Pennsylvania, 1762-1810: Longswamp Reformed Church records (search.ancestry.com)
- Rural free delivery directory of Berks County, Pa., covering 62 routes (search.ancestry.com)
- Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985 (search.ancestry.com)
- Topographic Church List and Map for Berks County, Pennsylvania (topozone.com)
- Berks County, Pennsylvania Church Books (amazon.com)
Berks Co. PA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories
Berks Co. PA General and History Websites
Berks Co. PA Immigration & Naturalization
Berks Co. PA Military Records
- See Also Statewide Military Records for Pennsylvania
- Berks County, Pennsylvania Service Roster, 1917-18 (search.ancestry.com)
- Durell's Battery in the Civil War : (Independent Battery D, Pennsylvania Volunteer Artillery) : a narrative of the campaigns a (search.ancestry.com)
- Company 6-F, Berks County Pennsylvania State Guard Reserve of Rehrersburg, Pa. (search.ancestry.com)
- Officers of Berks County, for each year, from 1752 to 1860, also the vote of the county at the presidential & governors' elect (search.ancestry.com)
- Pennsylvania Military Records (fold3.com) offers access to military records, stories, photos, and personal documents belonging to the Pennsylvania both males and females who served. Excellent for Berks County genealogists, researchers, historians and a lot more.
Berks Co. PA Schools & Directories