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Bedford County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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Guide to Bedford County, Pennsylvania ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

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County Facts
County seat: Bedford
Organized: March 9, 1771
Parent County(s): Cumberland[1]
Neighboring Counties
Blair  • Fulton  • Somerset  • Allegany (MD)  • Huntingdon  • Cambria
See County Maps
Courthouse
Bedford County Courthouse Pennsylvania 200 px.jpg
Location Map
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

It is named from the Fort Bedford. It is located in the South-Central section of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Bedford County Courthouse
200 S Juliana St.
Bedford, PA 15522-1714
Phone: (814) 623-4812
Clerk of the Court/Orphan's Court: 814-623-4833
Prothonotary: 814-623-4833, Fax: 814-623-4831, Email: bcproth@pennswoods.net
Bedford County Website

The courthouse houses records of county births and deaths (1893-1905) and marriage records (1885 to the present). The Office of the Prothonotary is located in the courthouse and is a good place to search for divorce and civil case records.

Bedford County, Pennsylvania Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[3]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1852 1852 1852 1771 1771 1771 1790
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1906. General compliance by 1915.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

The original Bedford County, sometimes called "Mother Bedford," encompassed a huge area when it was created in 9 March 1771. Later counties which were originally part of Bedford County include: [6]

For animated maps illustrating Pennsylvania county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Pennsylvania County Boundary Maps" (1673-1878) may be viewed at the MapofUS.org website.

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

The following are locations in Bedford County, Pennsylvania:

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Indentured Servants

  • List of imported servants and transported convicts from Europe. Online at: Immigrant Servants Database. Includes list of imported servants and transported convicts who served labor terms in Colonial York County, Pennsylvania.

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Bedford County, Pennsylvania online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information

 

Additional Cemetery Resources

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The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.


Census Records[edit | edit source]

For links and tips on using Federal (or United States) census records online for Bedford County, see: Pennsylvania Census.


Value, Content, and Search Tips
See the United States Census page to learn about the value, content, and search tips of census records of the United States. The United States Census page also points to nationwide and statewide record sets available online and at archives and libraries.

Census Strategy: Start with State-wide Records
Free indexes and transcriptions of Bedford County census records abound, but many of these resources are divided into separate files by borough or township. Since townships are relatively small, and since people sometimes crossed township borders without having to move very far at all, it is often useful to begin your search in a statewide index in case an ancestor appears in an unexpected township. Since statewide indexes are not listed on this county page, check the Pennsylvania Census page to see if a statewide index or database is available for the year in question. If for some reason you can't access a statewide collection or if you searched it and can't find an ancestor, visit the United States Census page for listings of nationwide indexes, or return here for links to Bedford County resources.

USGenNet has the simplest listing of transcribed Bedford County U.S. census records from USGenWeb from 1790-1860. Also includes an 1890 Veteran's Schedule.

Bedford County Pennsylvania Census Records links to census transcriptions of various townships in various years that were compiled for PA-Roots.

Bedford County, Pennsylvania Census Resources from CensusFinder links to sites containing census data from 1790-1850 and 1890.

Census Resources by Year

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. For members, they may contain: age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage date and maiden name; death/burial date. For general information about Pennsylvania denominations, see Pennsylvania Church Records.

Bedford County Pennsylvania Churches.png

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational

Contains church records of:

  • Bedford: St. John's United Church of Christ
  • Fishertown: Centre Lutheran Church
  • Londonderry: Wills Creek Charge
  • Pavia: Zion United Church of Christ
  • Saxton: St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • The Bedford County Genealogical Project contains an extensive list of churches in the county. Many of them include locations and brief histories, but few contain records of members or sacramental records.

Catholic
The first Catholic church was built in 1817 and is still standing. [7]

  • "100 years of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese 1843 -1943". Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly, 17:1. FamilySearch Library book 974.8 B2wg. Contains chronolgy, map, county-by-county information.

Lutheran
The first protestant church in the county was built in 1770 by Lutherans and Reformeds, though the first services were held in 1758 in the fort. The church built in Schellsburg in 1806 is the oldest one in the county. [8]

Quaker
In 1793 the Quakers built a church on Dunning Creek. [9]

  • 1800s -1900s Pennsylvania Quaker Records: Warrington, York County, Little Brittain, Lancaster County, Centre, Centre County, West Branch, Clearfield County, Dunnings Creek, Bedford County n.p. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

Court Records[edit | edit source]

For information about records kept in the Orphan's court, Prothonotary Court, Court of Common Pleas, and other courts in counties of Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Court Records Wiki page.

Pioneer Library, Bedford County Historical Society:
Alms House Records ($)
Divorce Records ($)
Orphan Court Records: 1771-1900 ($)

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

For online resources, passenger lists, and specific groups coming to Pennsylvania, see Pennsylvania Emigration and Immigration.

Indentured Servants

  • List of imported servants and transported convicts from Europe. Online at: Immigrant Servants Database. Includes list of imported servants and transported convicts who served labor terms in Colonial York County, Pennsylvania.

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

For groups that came, see People section of the Pennsylvania Emigration page.

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

The Orphan's Court ensures the best interests of those not capable of handling their own affairs: minors, incapacitated persons, decedents' estates, and more.[10]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a specific location and reveal family relationships. Records include: deeds, abstracts, indexes, mortgages, leases, grants, sheriff sales, land patents, maps and more. For more information, see Pennsylvania Land and Property.

Land records in Bedford County began in 1771. These records are filed with the Register and Recorder office in Bedford, Pennsylvania.

Online Land Indexes and Records

Land Warrants 1771-1893


Local Histories[edit | edit source]

FamilySearch Digital Library. A Brief History of Bedford, Pennsylvania, from pioneer days to the present, compiled by Annie M. Gilchrist. 1955 (revised). FamilySearch Digital Library. History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties ... 1884. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co.
WorldCat lists over 180 titles within the subject Bedford (Pa.) History.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Franklin CountyCumberland CountyYork CountyWashington CountyFrederick CountyCarroll CountyPA ADAMS.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Maps

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Online resources available through the Pioneer Library, Bedford County Historical Society:

Revolutionary War
Local men served in the Bedford County Militia. A guide at the Pennsylvania State Archives website identifies townships where specific companies recruited soldiers, see Revolutionary War Militia Battalions and Companies, Arranged by County.

Bedford County men also served in the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment,[11], possibly the 3rd Pennsylvania Regiment,[11] and the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment.[12]

Civil War

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Naturalization records can contain information about immigration and nativity. Prior to 1906, it is rare to find the town of origin in naturalization records. For more information, see Pennsylvania Naturalization

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers may contain obituaries, births, marriages, deaths, anniversaries, family gatherings, family travel, achievements, business notices, engagement information, and probate court proceedings. Newspapers are often found in local or university libraries, historical or genealogical societies, or state archives in the area where the newspaper was published. See Pennsylvania Newspapers for more information.

Newspapers of Bedford County

Online Newspapers

To learn if there are newspapers on line for a specific town or city in Pennsylvania, see news.google.com/newspapers and search for the town or the name of a newspaper.

Online Newspaper Abstracts

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Obituaries are generally found in local newspapers where the person died or where family members lived. Local libraries or societies may have indexes or other sources.

Online Obituary Abstracts

Obituary Excerpts and Abstracts

  • Claar, Archie, edited and indexed by Jan Oberle and James D. Boor, Obituary Clippings [in Blair and Bedford Counties, Pennsylvania] (Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania:Hoenstine's, 1990-1996) FHL book 974.87 V4c volume 1-66 Photocopy of newspaper clippings. Each volume contains an index.
  • Mitchell, Caryl A., Extracts from the Bedford Gazette, Beford County, Pennsylvania September 7, 1832 - September 9, 1836 (Westminster, Maryland:Family Line Publications, 1998) FHL book 974.871/B2 B38m

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Bedford County are handled by the Orphans' Court and start when the county was created.

In addition to wills and administrations, the Orphans' Court also handles: audits of accounts of executors, administrators, trustees, and guardians; distribution of estates; appointments of guardians; adoptions; appeals from the Register of Wills; inheritance tax appeals, and various petitions and motions.

Online Probate Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

  • 1773 -1784 Returns of Taxables for the Counties of Bedford (1773 to 1784), Huntingdon (1788), Westmoreland (1783, 1786), Fayette (1785, 1786), Allegheny (1791), Washington (1786) and Census of Bedford (1784) and Westmoreland (1783) (Pennsylvania Archives, Series 3, Vol. 22). Digital versions at Ancestry ($); Google Books

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital records are handled by the County Orphans' Court. Between the years 1852-1855 Pennsylvania made a failed attempt to record birth, marriage and death events at the county level. County marriage records were kept in earnest in 1885. Births and deaths, at the county level, were begun in 1893 and kept through 1905. For the most complete set of records, contact the County Orphans' Court.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Early births 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. For more information, see Pennsylvania Vital Records.

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Pennsylvania marriages were created by county officals. Contact Bedford County Courthouse

Death[edit | edit source]

Early deaths 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. For indexes and records, 1906 and later, see Pennsylvania Vital Records.

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Divorce records are available through the office of the Prothonotary, Bedford County Courthouse.

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

  • National Archives at Philadelphia
    14700 Townsend Road
    Philadelphia, PA 19154-1096
    Phone: 215-305-2044
    Fax: 215-305-2052
    website

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes.

Libraries[edit | edit source]

  • Bedford County Library
    240 South Wood Street
    Bedford, PA 15522
    Phone: 814-623-5010
    Website

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

  • Blair County Genealogical Society
    Roller-Hojeth Memorial Library
    431 Scotch Valley Rd.
    Hollidaysburg, PA 16648
    Phone: 814-696-3492
    Website
    Collection covers Blair and surrounding counties, particularly Huntingdon, Cambria, and Bedford Counties.
The Society has collected 4500 family histories and indexes to Alms House Records, Civil War Exemptions, Divorces, Naturalization Papers, Obituary\ies, Orphans Court (1771-1900), and Military Pension Files (Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish American War) of local residents.
  • Directory of Pennsylvania Genealogical & Historical Societies
    Website

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedford_County,_Pennsylvania accessed 2/1/2017
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. Pennsylvania line: a research guide to Pennsylvania genealogy and local history, 1990 ed (Laughlintown, Pa.: Southwest Pennsylvania Genealogical Services, 1990), [FHL book 974.8 D27p 1990].
  7. Anne M. Gilchrist, A Brief History of Bedford Pennsylvania: from Pioneer Times to the Present Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 2008; digital copy of original published: Bedford, Penn.: Inquirer Print, 1955), 13. FHL digital copy.
  8. Anne M. Gilchrist, A Brief History of Bedford Pennsylvania: from Pioneer Times to the Present Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 2008; digital copy of original published: Bedford, Penn.: Inquirer Print, 1955), 13. FHL digital copy.
  9. Anne M. Gilchrist, A Brief History of Bedford Pennsylvania: from Pioneer Times to the Present Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 2008; digital copy of original published: Bedford, Penn.: Inquirer Print, 1955), 13. FHL digital copy.
  10. The Philadelphia Courts at Common Pleas accessed 10 July 2012
  11. 11.0 11.1 John B.B. Trussell and Charles C. Dallas, The Pennsylvania Line; Regimental Organization and Operations, 1776-1783 (Harrisburg, Pa.: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1977). Digital version at Family History Archive.
  12. Wikipedia contributors, "8th Pennsylvania Regiment," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8th_Pennsylvania_Regiment, accessed 31 May 2012.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/8/86/Igipennsylvaniabb.pdf.

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