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McKean County, Pennsylvania

McKean County

McKean County was established on March 26, 1804 from Lycoming County. The county was named in honor of Thomas McKean, second Governor of Pennsylvania.

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

Counties adjacent to McKean County are Cattaraugus County, New York (north), Allegany County, New York (northeast), Potter County (east), Cameron County (southeast), Elk County (south), Forest County (southwest), Warren County (west).

Municipalities situated in McKean County consist of Townships: Annin, Bradford, Ceres, Corydon, Eldred, Foster, Hamilton, Hamlin, Keating, Lafayette, Liberty, Norwich, Otto, Sergeant, Wetmore. Boroughs: Eldred, Kane, Lewis Run, Mount Jewett, Port Allegany, Smethport. Cities & Towns: Bradford. See also McKean County Municipalities Incorporation Dates.

McKean 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 McKean 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.

McKean 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.

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

McKean County Society and Family History Resources

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

McKean County Courthouse and Government Records

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

McKean County was attached to Centre County until 1814 and to Lycoming County for judicial and elective purposes, McKean County was not fully organized until 1826.
  • McKean County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
    • Address: 500 Main Street, Smethport, PA 16749
    • Phone: (814) 887-5571
  • McKean 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: 814.887.3250
    • Land Records: 1827
  • McKean 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: 814.887.3323 ext 4302
    • Court & Divorce Records: 1827
  • McKean 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: 814.887.3260
    • Marriage & Probate Records: 1827 
    • Birth & Death Records: before Jan 1906
  • McKean County Tax Assessor Office has tax records but may also be in the county commissioners' office or with the prothonotary.

McKean County Links

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

McKean Co. PA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

McKean Co. PA Books, Newspapers & Publications

McKean Co. PA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

McKean Co. PA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

McKean Co. PA Census Records

McKean Co. PA Cemeteries & Graveyards

McKean Co. PA Church & Bible Records

McKean Co. PA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

McKean Co. PA General and History Websites

McKean Co. PA Immigration & Naturalization

McKean Co. PA Military Records

McKean Co. PA Schools & Directories

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