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Chester County, Pennsylvania
Genealogy, History & Facts

Chester County, Pennsylvania Facts

Chester County

When was Chester County, PA Created?
Chester County was established on November 1682 as one of the three original counties. The county was named for the English city of Chester in the county of Cheshire.

What is the County Seat of Chester County, PA?
The County Seat is located in West Chester and in addition the county government website is www.chesco.org

What counties are adjacent to Chester County, PA?
Bordering Counties are Berks County (north), Montgomery County (northeast), Delaware County (east), New Castle County, DE (southeast), Cecil County, Maryland (south), Lancaster County (west).

Chester County Townships Map

What cities and towns are in Chester County, PA?
Municipalities located in Chester County include Townships: Birmingham, Caln, Charlestown, East Bradford, East Brandywine, East Caln, East Coventry, East Fallowfield, East Goshen, East Marlborough, East Nantmeal, East Nottingham, East Pikeland, East Vincent, East Whiteland, Easttown, Elk, Franklin, Highland, Honey Brook, Kennett, London Britain, London Grove, Londonderry, Lower Oxford, New Garden, New London, Newlin, North Coventry, Penn, Pennsbury, Pocopson, Sadsbury, Schuylkill, South Coventry, Thornbury, Tredyffrin, Upper Oxford, Upper Uwchlan, Uwchlan, Valley, Wallace, Warwick, West Bradford, West Brandywine, West Caln, West Fallowfield, West Goshen, West Marlborough, West Nantmeal, West Nottingham, West Pikeland, West Sadsbury, West Vincent, West Whiteland, Westtown, Willistown. Boroughs: Atglen, Avondale, Downingtown, Elverson, Honey Brook, Kennett Square, Malvern, Modena, Oxford, Parkesburg, Phoenixville, South Coatesville, Spring City, West Chester, West Grove. Cities & Towns: Coatesville. See also Chester County Municipalities Incorporation Dates.


Chester County, PA Vital Records

Where can find Chester County Birth, marriage, Divorce and Death Records?
Chester 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 Chester 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.


Chester County, PA Census Records

What Chester County, PA census records are available?
There are many types of census records for Chester County guide you in researching 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.

Chester Co. Mortality Schedules can be obtained for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Chester Co. Industry and Agriculture Schedules can be acquired for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Chester Co. Union Veterans Schedules can be found for 1890. You can find free down-loadable and also printable census forms to help you with your research. See Also Pennsylvania Census Records Research Guide


Chester County, PA Courthouse and Government Records


Chester County Courthouse

What genealogical records can I find in the Chester County Courthouse?
The below facts shows exactly what death, marriage, birth, property, wills, and court records are typically in Chester County. The years listed below are the first noted records with this county. See Also Pennsylvania Corthouse Records Research Guide

  • Chester County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
    • Address: 2 North High Street, West Chester, PA 19380
    • Phone: (610) 344-6000
  • Chester 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.
    • Address: 313 W. Market Street, Suite 3302, P.O. Box 2748, West Chester, PA 19380-0991
    • Phone: (610) 344-6330
    • Land Records: 1688
  • Chester 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.
    • Address: 201 W. Market Street, Suite 1400, P.O. Box 2746, West Chester, PA 19380-0989
    • Phone: 610-344-6135
    • Court & Divorce Records: ?
  • Chester 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
    • Address: 201 W. Market Street, Suite 2200, West Chester, PA 19380-0989
    • Phone: 610-344-6335
    • Marriage & Probate Records: 1924 (1714–1923 is located at Chester County Archives and Records Service, Government Services Bldg., Ste. 80, 610 Westtown Rd., West Chester, PA 19382)
    • Birth & Death Records: before Jan 1906
  • Chester County Tax Assessor Office has tax records but may also be in the county commissioners' office or with the prothonotary.
  • Wills of Centre County, Pa., 1800-1853
  • Early Pennsylvania Land Records  
  • BLM Land Records

Chester County, PA Societies and Family History Resources

What genealogical and historical societies, archives, museums, associations and libraries are available for Chester County, PA?
A list of Chester County Historical  and Genealogical Societies, Libraries, Archives. See also list of Statewide Pennsylvania Archives, Historical & Genealogical Societies.

Where can I connect with other Chester County, PA Researchers through message boards and forums?

What other genealogical resources are available in Chester County, PA?
The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources pertaining to Chester 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.

Chester Co. PA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Chester Co. PA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Chester Co. PA Church / Bible Records & Cemeteries / Graveyards

Chester Co. PA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Chester Co. PA General and History Websites

Chester Co. PA Immigration & Naturalization

Chester Co. PA Military Records

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