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Pennsylvania State Archives

RG-47
Records of COUNTY GOVERNMENTS

(MICROFILM COPIES)



There are 67 counties in Pennsylvania including the consolidated city-county of Philadelphia, and each inhabitant of the state lives in and comes under the jurisdiction of one of them. The largest population is Philadelphia with over one and a half million people; the smallest is Forest with approximately five thousand. The Constitution establishes a basic organization, but counties can adopt their own form of government. Six counties have adopted home rule charters: Philadelphia, Delaware, Erie, Lackawanna, and Northampton.

County Functions

Counties continue to serve in their traditional role as agents of the state for law enforcement, judicial administration and the conduct of elections. The county is also responsible for the property assessment function. Counties become involved in regional planning, solid waste disposal and public health. They perform welfare functions, including mental health. Counties also can establish housing and redevelopment authorities and conduct community development programs. Counties maintain hospitals and homes for the aged. Counties may support local libraries and community colleges.

Legislation enacted in recent years has strengthened the policymaking role of boards of county commissioners, granting them greater control of and responsibility for county government. The geographic size of counties enables them to cope with functions that can be better performed on an area wide basis, that is, mass transportation and environmental protection.

County Government

County government, as provided for in the county codes, may be described as a "no-executive" type. The chief governing body is the three member board of county commissioners. But there are also numerous other elected officials to a large extent independent of the county commissioners. These include the sheriff, district attorney, prothonotary, clerk of courts, register of wills, clerk of the orphans' court, coroner, recorder of deeds and two jury commissioners whose duties are mostly concerned with the work of the county court. Additionally, there are the elective offices of the controller or three auditors and the treasurer who are county finance officers. A public defender is appointed as provided by law. The county commissioners, the elected officers and the county court individually or jointly appoint a number of other county officials and employes needed to carry out county functions by law.

Whereas the 11 elected county officials are enumerated in the Pennsylvania Constitution, their powers and duties are prescribed by statutes which are scattered throughout the county codes and general state laws. Consolidation of certain elected offices is provided by state law in the smaller class counties involving the offices of prothonotary, clerk of courts, register of wills, clerk of the orphans' court, and recorder of deeds.

County records are grouped by office. Accompanying these listings are statements of the date or dates of incorporation of each county, municipality, and school district. The records of an annexed municipality, with the exception of Allegheny City, are listed with those of the surviving jurisdiction. Information concerning the number of microfilm rolls in a records series is usually given after the series title and date. In cases where more than one series is filmed on a roll or group of rolls, the number of rolls involved is given following the last series title of the group. Records actually filmed by the State Archives and projects involving film duplicated by the Archives, are followed by a local records project number. The designation LR is used to indicate the fact that the State Archives created or owns the master negatives. The designation LC is used to indicate that the Archives only has user copies of negatives produced by the local government or by another historical repository. The designation LA is used to indicate that the Archives only has user copies of the negatives produced elsewhere but that it holds the original paper records. A majority of the microfilm rolls listed were generated by the Genealogical Society of Utah and are not coded.

The following are microfilm copies of county records available at the State Archives. Archives staff cannot provide research in or copies of these records. See County Governments for additional records.


ADAMS COUNTY

Created on January 22, 1800, from a part of York County. The county seat is Gettysburg.


Board of County Commissioners

Prothonotary

Recorder of Deeds

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


ALLEGHENY COUNTY

Created on September 24, 1788, from parts of Westmoreland and Washington counties. The county seat is Pittsburgh.



Board of County Commissioners

Prothonotary

Recorder of Deeds

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


ARMSTRONG COUNTY

Created on March 12, 1800, from parts of Allegheny, Lycoming and Westmoreland counties. The county seat is Kittanning.



Board of County Commissioners

Prothonotary

Recorder of Deeds

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


BEAVER COUNTY

Created on March 12, 1800, from parts of Allegheny and Washington counties. The county seat is Beaver.



Board of County Commissioners

Prothonotary

Recorder of Deeds

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


BEDFORD COUNTY

Created on March 9, 1771, from a part of Cumberland County. The county seat is Bedford.



Board of County Commissioners

Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts

Recorder of Deeds

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


BERKS COUNTY

Created on March 11, 1752, from parts of Chester, Lancaster and Philadelphia counties. The county seat is Reading.



Board of County Commissioners

Directors of the Poor

Clerk of Courts

Prothonotary

Recorder of Deeds

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

Treasurer


BLAIR COUNTY

Created on February 20, 1848 from parts of Huntingdon and Bedford Counties. The county seat is Hollidaysburg.


Board of County Commissioners

Prothonotary

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


BRADFORD COUNTY

Created as Ontario County on February 21, 1810, from parts of Lycoming and Luzerne Counties. Its name was changed to Bradford County on March 24, 1812. The county seat is Towanda.



Prothonotary

Recorder of Deeds

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


BUCKS COUNTY

One of the three original counties created by William Penn in 1682. The county seat is Doylestown.



Board of County Commissioners

Clerk of Courts

Coroner

Prothonotary

Recorder of Deeds

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


BUTLER COUNTY

Created on March 12, 1800, from a part of Allegheny County. The county seat is Butler.



Board of County Commissioners

Clerk of Courts

Prothonotary

Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts

Recorder of Deeds

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


CAMBRIA COUNTY

Created on March 26, 1804, from parts of Huntingdon and Somerset counties. The county seat is Ebensburg.



Board of County Commissioners

Prothonotary

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


CAMERON COUNTY

Created on March 29, 1860, from parts of Clinton, Elk, McKean and Potter counties. The county seat is Emporium.



Prothonotary

Recorder of Deeds

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


CARBON COUNTY

Created on March 13, 1843, from parts of Northampton and Monroe counties. The county seat is Jim Thorpe.



Board of County Commissioners

Clerk of Courts

Prothonotary

Recorder of Deeds

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

Sheriff


CENTRE COUNTY

Created on February 19, 1800, from parts of Huntingdon, Lycoming, Northumberland and Mifflin Counties.



Board of County Commissioners

Prothonotary

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


CHESTER COUNTY

One of the three original counties created by William Penn in 1682. The county seat is West Chester.



Board of County Commissioners

Clerk of Courts

Prothonotary

Recorder of Deeds

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

Sheriff


CLARION COUNTY

Created on March 11, 1839, from parts of Venango and Armstrong Counties. The county seat is Clarion.



Prothonotary

Recorder of Deeds

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


CLEARFIELD COUNTY

Created on March 26, 1804, from parts of Lycoming and Huntingdon Counties. The county seat is Clearfield.



Prothonotary

Recorder of Deeds

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


CLINTON COUNTY

Created on June 21, 1839, from parts of Lycoming and Centre counties. The county seat is Lock Haven.



Recorder of Deeds

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court



COLUMBIA COUNTY



Created on March 22, 1813, from a part of Northumberland County. The county seat is Bloomsburg.



Board of County Commissioners

Clerk of Courts

  • Court of Quarter Sessions/Court of Oyer and Terminer Records, 1877. 2 rolls.

     

  • Prothonotary

    Recorder of Deeds

    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


    CRAWFORD COUNTY

    Created on March 12, 1800, from a part of Allegheny County. The county seat is Meadville.



    Board of County Commissioners

    Prothonotary

    Recorder of Deeds

    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


    CUMBERLAND COUNTY

    Created on January 27, 1750, from a part of Lancaster County. The county seat is Carlisle.



    Board of County Commissioners

    Clerk of Courts

    Prothonotary

    Recorder of Deeds

    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


    DAUPHIN COUNTY

    Created on March 4, 1785, from a part of Lancaster County. The county seat is Harrisburg.



    Board of County Commissioners

     

    Clerk of Courts

    Prothonotary

    Recorder of Deeds

    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


    DELAWARE COUNTY

    Created on September 26, 1789, from a part of Chester County. The county seat is Media.



    Board of County Commissioners

    Prothonotary

    Recorder of Deeds

    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


    ELK COUNTY

    Created on April 18, 1843, from parts of Jefferson, Clearfield and McKean counties. The county seat is Ridgway.



    Board of County Commissioners

    Prothonotary

    Recorder of Deeds

    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


    ERIE COUNTY

    Created on March 12, 1800, from a part of Allegheny County. The county seat is Erie.



    Board of County Commissioners

    Clerk of Courts

    Prothonotary

    Recorder of Deeds

    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


    FAYETTE COUNTY

    Created on September 26, 1783, from a part of Westmoreland County. The county seat is Uniontown.



    Board of County Commissioners

    Prothonotary

    Clerk of Courts

    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    FOREST COUNTY

    Created on April 11, 1848, from a part of Jefferson County. Part of Venango County was added on October 31, 1866. The county seat is Tionesta.



    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds

    FRANKLIN COUNTY

    Created on September 9, 1784, from a part of Cumberland County. The county seat is Chambersburg.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Clerk of Courts
    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    FULTON COUNTY

    Created on April 19, 1851, from a part of Bedford County. The county seat is McConnellsburg.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    GREENE COUNTY

    Created on February 9, 1796, from a part of Washington County. The county seat is Waynesburg.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Clerk of Courts
    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


    HUNTINGDON COUNTY

    Created on September 20, 1787, from a part of Bedford County. The county seat is Huntingdon.



    Board of County Commissioners

    Treasurer

    Clerk of Courts

    Prothonotary

    Recorder of Deeds

    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court


    INDIANA COUNTY

    Created on March 30, 1803, from parts of Westmoreland and Lycoming counties. The county seat is Indiana.



    Clerk of the Orphans' Court
    Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts
    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    JEFFERSON COUNTY

    Created on March 26, 1804, from a part of Lycoming County. The county seat is Brookville.



    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    JUNIATA COUNTY

    Created on March 2, 1831, from a part of Mifflin County. The county seat is Mifflintown.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    LACKAWANNA COUNTY

    Created on April 17, 1878 from part of Luzerne County. The county seat is Scranton.



    Clerk of Courts
    Prothonotary
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    LANCASTER COUNTY

    Created on May 10, 1729, from a part of Chester County. The county seat is Lancaster.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Clerk of Courts
    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    LAWRENCE COUNTY

    Created on March 20, 1849, from parts of Beaver and Mercer counties. The county seat is New Castle.


    Board of County Commissioners

    Clerk of Courts

    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    LEBANON COUNTY

    Created on Februray 16, 1813, from parts of Dauphin and Lancaster counties. The county seat is Lebanon.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    LEHIGH COUNTY

    Created on March 6, 1812, from a part of Northampton County. The county seat is Allentown.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Treasurer
    Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts

    LUZERNE COUNTY

    Created on September 25, 1786, from a part of Northumberland County. The county seat is Wilkes-Barre.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Prothonotary

    Recorder of Deeds

    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    LYCOMING COUNTY

    Created on April 13, 1795 from part of Northumberland County. The county seat is Williamsport.


    Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts

    Recorder of Deeds
    Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    McKEAN COUNTY

    Created on March 26, 1804, from a part of Lycoming County. The county seat is Smethport.



    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    MERCER COUNTY

    Created on March 12, 1800, from a part of Allegheny County. The county seat is Mercer.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Clerk of Courts

    Recorder of Deeds

    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    MIFFLIN COUNTY

    Created on September 19, 1789, from parts of Cumberland and Northumberland Counties. The county seat is Lewistown.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Clerk of Courts
    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    MONROE COUNTY

    Created on April 1, 1836, from parts of Northampton and Pike counties. The county seat is Stroudsburg.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Clerk of Courts
    Prothonotary

    MONTGOMERY COUNTY

    Created on September 10, 1784, from a part of Philadelphia County. The county seat is Norristown.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Clerk of Courts
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    MONTOUR COUNTY

    Created on May 3, 1850, from a part of Columbia County. The county seat is Danville.



    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    NORTHAMPTON COUNTY

    Created on March 11, 1752, from a part of Bucks County. The county seat is Easton.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY

    Created on March 21, 1772, from parts of Lancaster, Cumberland, Berks, Bedford and Northampton counties. The county seat is Sunbury.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    PERRY COUNTY

    Created on March 2, 1820, from a part of Cumberland County. The county seat is Bloomfield and the post office name is New Bloomfield.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    PHILADELPHIA COUNTY

    One of the three original counties created by William Penn in 1682. On February 2, 1854, all the municipalities within the county were consolidated with the City of Philadelphia, which was the county seat. The county offices were merged with the city government in 1952.



    Board of County Commissioners

    Guardians of the Poor

    Clerk of Courts

    Recorder of Deeds

    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    PIKE COUNTY

    Created on March 26, 1814 from part of Wayne County. The county seat is Milford.



    Prothonotary
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    POTTER COUNTY

    Created on March 26, 1804 from a part of Lycoming County. The county seat is Coudersport.


    Prothonotary

    Recorder of Deeds

    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    SCHUYLKILL COUNTY

    Created on March 1, 1811, from parts of Berks and Northampton counties. The county seat is Pottsville.



    Board of County Commissioners

    Clerk of Courts

    Prothonotary

    Recorder of Deeds

    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    SNYDER COUNTY

    Created on March 2, 1855, from a part of Union County. The county seat is Middleburg.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    SOMERSET COUNTY

    Created on April 17, 1795, from a part of Bedford County. The county seat is Somerset.


    Board of County Commissioners
    Clerk of Courts

    Prothonotary

    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    SULLIVAN COUNTY

    Created on March 15, 1847, from a part of Lycoming County. The county seat is Laporte.



    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY

    Created on February 21, 1810, from part of Luzerne County. The county seat is Montrose.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Prothonotary
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court
    Recorder of Deeds

    TIOGA COUNTY

    Created on March 26, 1804, from a part of Lycoming County. The county seat is Wellsboro.


    Board of County Commissioners

    Recorder of Deeds


    UNION COUNTY

    Created on March 22, 1813, from a part of Northumberland County. The county seat is Lewisburg.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Clerk of Courts
    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    VENANGO COUNTY

    Created on March 12, 1800, from parts of Allegheny and Lycoming counties. The county seat is Franklin.


    Board of County Commissioners
    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    WARREN COUNTY

    Created on March 12, 1800, from parts of Allegheny and Lycoming counties. The county seat is Warren.



    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    WASHINGTON COUNTY

    Created on March 28, 1781, from a part of Westmoreland County. The county seat is Washington.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Clerk of Courts
    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    WAYNE COUNTY

    Created on March 21, 1798, from a part of Northampton County. The county seat is Honesdale.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    WESTMORELAND COUNTY

    Created on February 26, 1773, from a part of Bedford County. The county seat is Greensburg.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Prothonotary
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    WYOMING COUNTY

    Created on April 4, 1842, from a part of Luzerne County. The county seat is Tunkhannock.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Prothonotary
    Clerk of Courts
    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    YORK COUNTY

    Created on August 19, 1749, from a part of Lancaster County. The county seat is York.



    Board of County Commissioners
    Clerk of Courts
    Coroner's Office
    • Coroners' Reports, 1796-1958. 5 rolls.(LC 103)

     

    Prothonotary

    Recorder of Deeds
    Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans' Court

    VARIOUS COUNTIES



    PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Finding Aids for Collections Land Records