Pennsylvania Counties records vary widely from county to county in both quality and quantity. Some have been carefully preserved while others have been much abused and neglected. Some Pennsylvania records have simply disappeared.
Pennsylvania Counties – There are 67 counties that exist in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Each one holds records that may include: Land, Estates, Taxes, Vital Records, Divorces, Naturalizations, Voter Registration, Court Records. Other records may also be included. However, other resources do need to be consulted.
For example, the orphans’ court or register’s office should be consulted for estate records. Philadelphia became home to an archives in 1952. It is not only the oldest city archives in the state, but also in the entire United States.
In 1982, the first county archives in the state was created in Chester County. All other archives in Pennsylvania were modeled after it. Several other archives are currently being established in the state. See also a list of links to county and county seat government run websites.
List of Pennsylvania Extinct Counties
Pennsylvania Map of Counties
Pennsylvania has counties that no longer exist.
They were established by the state, provincial, or territorial government. Most of these counties were created and disbanded in the 19th century; county boundaries have changed little since 1900 in the vast majority of states.
These counties need to be looked at when doing genealogy research.
Pay close attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was abolished or combined with another county.
List of Pennsylvania Counties with Burned Courthouses
The damage to courthouses greatly has a bearing on genealogists in every way. No only are these historic structures torn from our lifetimes, so are the records they housed: marriage, wills, probate, land records, and others. Once destroyed they’re lost forever.
Although they have been placed on microfilm, computers and film burn too. The most heartbreaking side of this is the reason that nearly all of our courthouses are destroyed at the hands of arsonist. Although, not all records were lost.
Many Pennsylvania counties have suffered a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.
Erie County Courthouse: A courthouse fire destroyed pre-1823 records.
Franklin County Courthouse: burned in 1864 during the McCausland raid .
Mercer County Courthouse: burned in 1866, second courthouse burned in 1907