Chester County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Guide
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Chester County, Pennsylvania (Map It) was created 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. Learn More About State of Pennsylvania History
Chester County is bordered by Berks County (north), Montgomery County (northeast), Delaware County (east), New Castle County, Delaware (southeast), Cecil County, Maryland (south), Lancaster County (west). A Map of Chester County, Pennsylvania contains detailed information about roads and boundaries, these maps may include rural communities, churches, and cemeteries.
Chester County Townships include 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.
Chester County Boroughs include Atglevondale, Downingtown, Elverson, Honey Brook, Kennett Square, Malvern, Modena, Oxford, Parkesburg, Phoenixville, South Coatesville, Spring City, West Chester, West Grove.
Chester County Cities & Towns include Coatesville. See also Chester County Municipalities Incorporation Dates.
Chester County, Pennsylvania Courthouse Records
Please contact the each clerk's department to confirm mailing address, hours, fees and other information before visiting or requesting information because contact information sometimes changes. The Clerk's Office DOES NOT DO RESEARCH. The documents are available to interested parties, barring confidential issues. Most staff will assist people in finding the materials, but it is up to the individual to do the research.
The following dates indicates what vital, land, probate, and court records are in Chester county. The date listed for each category of record is usually the earliest registration filed. The earliest date does not indicate that there are numerous records for that year and does not mean that all such events were actually registered.
- Chester County Recorder of Deeds has Land Records from 1688. The 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.
- Chester County Prothonotary / Clerk of Courts has Court & Divorce Records from ?. The 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.
- Chester County Register of Wills / Orphan's Court Clerk has Marriage & Probate Records from 1924 (1714–1923 is located at Chester Counry Achives and Records Service, Government Services Bldg) and Birth & Death Records from before Jan 1906. The 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.
- Chester County Tax Assessor Office has tax records but may also be in the county commissioners' office or with the prothonotary.
Chester County, Pennsylvania Census Records
- Learn More: State of Pennsylvania Census Records
- U.S. Federal Population Schedules: 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragmented), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940
- U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules: 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880
- Selected U.S. Federal Census Agriculture Schedules: 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880
- Selected U.S. Federal Census Industry Schedules: 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880
- Union Veterans Schedules: 1890
Chester County, Pennsylvania Vital Records
- Learn More: State of Pennsylvania Vital Records
- Birth & Death Records: 1906 to present.
- Marriage Records: does not have marriage records. The marriage records should be available in the County Court House.
- Divorce Records: does not have marriage records. The marriage records should be available in the County Court House.
- Locations: Pennsylvania Office of Vital Statistics, Pennsylvania State Archives
- Vital Records Online: USAVital, VitalChek or Social Security Death Index
- Vital Records by Mail: Birth Certificate, Death Certificate Applications.
- In Person: Division of Vital Records, 101 South Mercer Street, Central Building, Room 401, New Castle, PA 16103; PH (724) 656-3100
Chester County, Pennsylvania Resources
- Pennsylvania Archives - Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission series contains records of pennsylvania, from 1664 to 1780, and includes military, marriage, tax and land records. This is a Free Database.
- Chester County Historical Society
- Chester rchives and Records Service
- Swedish Colonial Society
- Chester County, Pennsylvania Message Boards
- Chester County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Forum read and post messages with other genealogy researchers for Chester County
Chester County, Pennsylvania External Links
- Historical Maps of Chester County, Pennsylvania - PA D.O.T.
- Historical Newspapers from Pennsylvania (1719 - 1997)
- Chester County, Pennsylvania Books - Amazon
- Wills of Centre County, Pa., 1800-1853
- Chester County, PA Census QuickFacts
- Chester Co., Pennsylvania - FindaGrave
- Pennsylvania Quaker Records
- Commemorative biographical record of central Pennsylvania
- History and topography of Northumberland, Huntingdon, Mifflin, Centre, Union, Columbia, Juniata and Clinton Counties, Pa.