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Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Lancaster County

Lancaster County was established on May 10, 1729 from Chester County. The county was named for the English city of Lancaster.

Currently the Lancaster County Seat is located in Lancaster and in addition the county government website is

Counties adjacent to Lancaster County are Lebanon County (north), Berks County (northeast), Chester County (east), Cecil County, Maryland (south), Harford County, Maryland (south), York County (west), Dauphin County (northwest).

Municipalities situated in Lancaster County consist of Townships: Bart, Brecknock, Caernarvon, Clay, Colerain, Conestoga, Conoy, Drumore, Earl, East Cocalico, East Donegal, East Drumore, East Earl, East Hempfield, East Lampeter, Eden, Elizabeth, Ephrata, Fulton, Lancaster, Leacock, Little Britain, Manheim, Manor, Martic, Mount Joy, Paradise, Penn, Pequea, Providence, Rapho, Sadsbury, Salisbury, Strasburg, Upper Leacock, Warwick, West Cocalico, West Donegal, West Earl, West Hempfield, and West Lampeter. Boroughs: Adamstown, Akron, Christiana, Columbia, Denver, East Petersburg, Elizabethtown, Ephrata, Lititz, Manheim, Marietta, Millersville, Mount Joy, Mountville, New Holland, Quarryville, Strasburg, and Terre Hill. Cities & Towns: Lancaster. See also Lancaster County Municipalities Incorporation Dates.

Lancaster 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 Lancaster 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.

Lancaster 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.

Lancaster Co. Mortality Schedules can be obtained for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Lancaster Co. Industry and Agriculture Schedules can be acquired for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Lancaster 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.

Lancaster County Society and Family History Resources

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

Lancaster County Courthouse and Government Records

Researchers often forget the great importance of Lancaster 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 Lancaster 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 Lancaster County. The dates indicated listed below tend to be the first known records data with this county.

Some early court records have been transferred to the Lancaster County Historical Society
  • Lancaster County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
    • Address: 50 North Duke Street, Lancaster, PA 17602
    • Phone: (717) 299-8242
  • Lancaster 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: (717) 299-8275
    • Land Records: 1729
  • Lancaster 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: (717) 299-8275
    • Court & Divorce Records: 1729
  • Lancaster 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: (717) 299-8243
    • Marriage & Probate Records: 1729 
    • Birth & Death Records: before Jan 1906
  • Lancaster County Tax Assessor Office has tax records but may also be in the county commissioners' office or with the prothonotary.

Lancaster County Links

The following are web links to Genealogy and family history, Records and Resources relevant to Lancaster 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 Lancaster County genealogy or family history related sites.

Lancaster Co. PA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Lancaster Co. PA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Lancaster Co. PA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Lancaster Co. PA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Lancaster Co. PA Census Records

Lancaster Co. PA Cemeteries & Graveyards

Lancaster Co. PA Church & Bible Records

Lancaster Co. PA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Lancaster Co. PA General and History Websites

Lancaster Co. PA Immigration & Naturalization

Lancaster Co. PA Military Records

Lancaster Co. PA Schools & Directories

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