To request editing rights on the Wiki, click here.

Centre County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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

{{{link}}}
County Facts
County seat: Bellefonte
Organized: February 13, 1800
Parent County(s): Lycoming, Mifflin, Northumberland, Huntingdon[1]
Neighboring Counties
Clinton  • Union  • Blair  • Mifflin  • Clearfield  • Huntingdon
See County Maps
Courthouse
Centre County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Centre County PA Map.png
Adoption
Adopt-a-wiki page
Pa-rootsbuttonwiki.gif This page adopted by:
PA Roots and its members
who welcome you to contribute.
Adopt a page today

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county is located in the Centre section of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Centre County Courthouse
102 South Allegheny Street
Bellefonte, PA 16823
Phone: 814-355-6727 Fax: 814-355-6707
Prothonotary/Clerk of Courts: 814-355-6796
Recorder of Deeds: 814-355-6801
Register of Wills/Orphan's Court: 814-355-6724 Fax: 814-355-8685
Centre County Website

Centre 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
1893 1885 1893 1800 1801 1800 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]

  • Formed from Lycoming, Mifflin, Northumberland and Huntingdon Counties 13 February 1800.[4]
  • County seat: Bellefonte[5]
  • 27 January 1750: Centre County was originally part of Cumberland County when the county was created.
  • 9 March 1771: When Bedford County was carved out of Cumberland County, the western 2/3 of what is today's Centre County was part of Bedford County and the eastern 1/3 remained part of Cumberland County. A very small portion of the eastern-most point was in Berks County.
  • 21 March 1772: When Northumberland County was created, the western 1/3 of today's Centre County remained in Bedford County, while the eastern 2/3 of today's Centre County was included in Northumberland County.
  • 19 September 1789: When Mifflin County was formed, much of today's Centre County became part of Mifflin County; the eastern-most point (about 20% of the county) remained in Northumberland County.
  • 13 April 1795: When Lycoming County was created, a small portion of today's eastern Centre County. was absorbed into Lycoming County, the rest of eastern Centre County remained in Northumberland County, a small southeastern portion offuture Centre County was part of Huntingdon County,and the bulk of the county remained in Mifflin County.
  • 21 January 1839: Clinton County set off.

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 Centre County, Pennsylvania:

  • Boroughs: Bellefonte, Millheim, Philipsburg, State College
  • Townships: Benner, Boggs, College, Ferguson, Gregg, Haines, Harris, Halfmoon, Patton, Potter

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Centre County Biographies

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

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Centre 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

Census Records[edit | edit source]

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


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.

Center county pennsylvania churches.png

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational

Contains church records of:
  • Bellefonte: Faith United Methodist Church; St. John's Lutheran Church; Trinity United Methodist Church
  • Boalsburg: St. John's United Church of Christ
  • Houserville: United Methodist Church
  • Madisonburg: Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Milesburg: United Methodist Church
  • Philipsburg: Trinity United Methodist Church
  • Pleasant Gap: United Methodist Church
  • Rebersburg: Sinking Creek Presbyterian Church; United Methodist Church
  • Runville: United Brethren Church Runville Charge
  • State College: St. Paul Methodist Church
  • Zion: Zion Lutheran Church

Centre County PAGenWeb is finding and making available church records of Centre County. They are beginning with four topics to try to understand the religious inclinations of Centre countians:

  • 1877 History of Religious Affiliation
  • 1906 Census of Religious Adherence
  • 1990 Census of Religious Adherence
  • Current Listing of Religious Organizations

Presbyterian

Quaker

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.

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.

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

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

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.[7]

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 Centre County began in 1843. These records are filed with the Centre County Recorder of Deeds office in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

Maps

  • Centre County Land Records & Deeds online at: PA USGenWeb Series 3, Volume 25, pp. 785-809
  • Warrant Map of Centre County State College, Pennsylvania: Centre County Genealogical Society, 2011. FHL book 2974.853 E7cc


Local Histories[edit | edit source]

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]

Revolutionary War

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 Centre County

Free Lance (monthly) - April 1887-April 1904
State Collegian (weekly) September 28, 1904-June 10, 1911
Penn State Collegian (weekly) September 28, 1911 to August 2, 1940
The Daily Collegian (daily) September 5, 1940 to present.

Online Newspapers

To learn if there are newspapers online 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

Archived Historical Newspapers

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

Obituaries and Indexes

Obituary Excerpts and Abstracts

  • Compiled by John H. Wion , Deaths in Central Pennsylvania; an Index to the Obituaries Appearing in the Democratic Watchman, Bellefonte, Pa (S.I.:s.n., 1969) FHL book 974.8 V4w Volume 2
  • A scrapbook kept by martha M. (Hoy) Vonada; index prepared by R. Fred Houts, Martha Vonada Scrapbook (Minneapolis, Minnesota:R.F. Houts, 1995) FHL book 974.853 V3v Martha Vonada saved funeral cards and obituaries from Centre County, Pennsylvania.
  • Compiled by Nancy Lee Stover, Centre County, Pennsylvania Newspaper Death Notices, 1821-1869 (S.I.:N.L. Stover, 1999) FHL book 974.853 V4s

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Centre 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.

The county's probate and court records begin with the founding of the county, the land records in 1801.

Online Probate Index and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

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.

  • 1726-1930 Pennsylvania, Births and Christenings, 1709-1950 Pennsylvania, Births and Christenings, 1709-1950- index. Not complete for all years. This index is an electronic index for the years 1726 to 1930. It is not necessarily intended to index any specific set of records. This index is not complete for any particular place or region. This collection may include information previously published in the International Genealogical Index or Vital Records Index collections.
  • 1852-1854 Pennsylvania Births Ancestry $
  • 1893-1906 Bellefonte, Centre County, Birth Index 1893-1906 in International Genealogical Index at FamilySearch[8]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

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

  • 1626-2016 Pennsylvania, United States Marriages at FindMyPast ($)
  • 1700-1821 Pennsylvania Marriage Records Ancestry $
  • 1725-1976 Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1709-1940 index. Not complete for all years. This index is not necessarily intended to index any specific set of records. This index is not complete for any particular place or region. This collection may include information previously published in the International Genealogical Index or Vital Records Index collections.
  • Pre-1810 Pennsylvania Marriages Ancestry $
  • 1852-1854 Pennsylvania Marriages Ancestry $

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, Centre 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]

  • Roller-Hojeth Memorial Library
    Blair County Genealogical Society
    431 Scotch Valley Rd.
    Hollidaysburg, PA 16648
    Phone: 814-696-3492
    Website
Collection covers Blair and surrounding counties, particularly Huntingdon, Cambria, and Bedford Counties.
Specializes in genealogy collections, obituary and marriage indexes, Pennsylvania county histories, church and cemetery records, original Centre County records, newspapers (1821 - present), and abundant historical and genealogical periodicals. The Spangler Collection is an unique indexed collection of 18th- and 19th-century records about many central Pennsylvania families.[10]

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

  • Centre County Genealogical Society
    P. O. Box 1135
    State College, PA 16804-1135
    Website
  • Centre County Historical Society
    1001 East College Ave
    State College, PA 16801
    Phone: 814-234-4779
    Website
The Centre County Historical Society was founded in 1904 and works to preserve local landmarks including the Furnace Mansion and the Boogerburg School as well as other artifacts, books, manuscripts, maps, and photographs related to the area.
  • Directory of Pennsylvania Genealogical & Historical Societies
    Website
  • Roller-Hojeth Memorial Library
    Blair County Genealogical Society
    431 Scotch Valley Rd.
    Hollidaysburg, PA 16648
    Phone: 814-696-3492
    Website
Collection covers Blair and surrounding counties, particularly Huntingdon, Cambria, and Bedford Counties.

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/Centre_County,_Pennsylvania accessed 2/1/2017
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Centre County, Pennsylvania. Page 588-593 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 579-581.
  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. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/2/23/Igipennsylvaniac.pdf.
  7. The Philadelphia Courts at Common Pleas accessed 10 July 2012
  8. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/2/23/Igipennsylvaniac.pdf.
  9. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/2/23/Igipennsylvaniac.pdf.
  10. Pennsylvania Room at Center County Library and Historical Museum (accessed 3 October 2012).

To access available information, first log into FamilySearch.