Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
Genealogy and Facts

Philadelphia County

Philadelphia County was established in 1682 as one of three original counties. The county was named for the "Brotherly love" from Greek philos ("love") and adelphos ("brother").

Currently the Philadelphia County Seat is located in Philadelphia and in addition the county government website is http://www.phila.gov

Counties adjacent to Philadelphia County are Montgomery County (north), Bucks County (northeast), Burlington County, New Jersey (east), Camden County, New Jersey (southeast), Gloucester County, New Jersey (south), Delaware County (west).

Municipalities situated in Philadelphia County consist of Districts, Townships and Boroughs of the County of Philadelphia Before 1854: Aramingo Borough, Belmont District, Blockley, Bridesburg Borough, Bristol, Byberry, Delaware, Frankford Borough, Germantown Borough, Germantown, Kensington District, Kingsessing, Lower Dublin, Manayunk Borough, Moreland, Moyamensing District, Northern Liberties District, Northern Liberties, Oxford, Passyunk, Penn District, Penn, Philadelphia City, Roxborough, Richmond District, Southwark District, Spring Garden District, West Philadelphia Borough, Whitehall Borough. See also Philadelphia County Municipalities Incorporation Dates.

Philadelphia 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 Philadelphia 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.

Philadelphia 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.

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

Philadelphia County Society and Family History Resources

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

Philadelphia County Courthouse and Government Records

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

The city and county of Philadelphia were combined in 1854 and city and county offices merged in 1952.
  • Philadelphia 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: Department of Records, Room 156, City Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19107
    • Phone: (215) 686-2261
    • Land Records: 1684
  • Philadelphia 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: First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Room 284 City Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19107
    • Phone: 215 686-6652
    • Court & Divorce Records: 1682
  • Philadelphia 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: Room 180 City Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19107
    • Phone: (215) 686-6250
    • Marriage & Probate Records: 1682 ; (215) 686-2234
    • Birth & Death Records: before Jan 1906
  • Philadelphia County Tax Assessor Office has tax records but may also be in the county commissioners' office or with the prothonotary.

Philadelphia County Links

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

Philadelphia Co. PA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Philadelphia Co. PA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Philadelphia Co. PA Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Philadelphia Co. PA Court, Probate Land and Tax Records

Philadelphia Co. PA Census Records

Philadelphia Co. PA Cemeteries & Graveyards

Philadelphia Co. PA Church & Bible Records

Philadelphia Co. PA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Philadelphia Co. PA General and History Websites

Philadelphia Co. PA Immigration & Naturalization

Philadelphia Co. PA Military Records

Philadelphia Co. PA Schools & Directories

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