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Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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Guide to Lehigh 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: Allentown
Organized: March 6, 1812
Parent County(s): Northampton[1]
Neighboring Counties
Carbon  • Northampton  • Schuylkill  • Montgomery  • Berks  • Bucks
See County Maps
Courthouse
Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Lehigh County PA Map.png
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for after the Lehigh River, whose name is derived from the Delaware Indian term Lechauweki or Lechauwekink, meaning "where there are forks". It is located in the East Central area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Lehigh County Courthouse
455 West Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA 18101-1614
Court of Common Pleas Phone: 610-782-3000
Clerk of Courts 610-782-3148
Prothonotary 610-782-3148
Orphans' Court 610-782-3220
Recorder of Deeds 610-782-3162
Register of Wills 610-782-3170
Lehigh County Website

Lehigh 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
1895 1885 1893 1812 1812 1812 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]

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

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

The following are locations in Lehigh 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]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Lehigh 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

 

  • Cemetery records often reveal birth, marriage, death, relationship, military, and religious information.

Additional Cemetery Resources

Census Records[edit | edit source]

For links and tips on using Federal (or United States) census records online for Lehigh 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.

Lehigh County Pennsylvania Churches
County-wide Database – Multi-denominational[edit | edit source]
Contains the church records of:
  • Jonathan Worrall, J.P./Misc. Marriage Licenses, 1890-1915
  • Alburtis: Zion Lehigh Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Allentown: Asbury United Methodist Church; Christ Lutheran Church; Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church Allentown; Jordan United Church of Christ; Salem United Church of Christ; Salem United Methodist Church; St. John's United Church of Christ; St. Joseph's Evangelical Lutheran Church; St. Paul's Lutheran Church; The Church of the Mediator; Trinity United Church of Christ; United Methodist Church
  • Catasauqua: Presbyterian Church of Catasaqua
  • Coplay: St. John's Lutheran Church
  • Emmaus: Emmaus Moravian Church; Old Moravian Cemetery; St. John's Lutheran Church; St. Margaret's Episcopal Church
  • Old Zionsville: United Church of Christ
  • Schoenersville: Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church; Christ Reformed Church
  • Slatington: Christ Episcopal Church; Methodist Episcopal Church; St. John's United Church of Christ
  • Spinnerstown: Trinity Great Swamp Church
  • Wescosville: Bethany United Methodist Church
Contains the baptism records of Egypt Reformed Church in Whitehall Township; Great Swamp Reformed Congregation, Lower Milford Township; St. Paul's Lutheran and Reformed Congregations in Upper Saucon Township, also known as St. Paul's Blue Church; Jordan Lutheran Congregation in South Whitehall Township; Daniel Schumacher's baptismal register; First Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Upper Milford Township; Moravian Congregation at Emmaus in Salisbury Township; Zion's Lutheran Church in Lower Macungie Township; Ziegel Church in Weissenberg Township; Reformed Congregation in Upper Milford Township, also known as Zion's Reformed Church in Zionsville; Weissenberg Lutheran and Reformed Congregations in Weissenberg Township; Reformed Congregation in Lower Milford Township; Zion Lutheran Congregation, Zionsville, Upper Milford Township; Jerusalem Lutheran and Reformed Congregations in Western Salisbury Township; Frieden's Union Church, Friedensville, Upper Saucon Township; Schlosser's Reformed Church in North Whitehall Township, also known as Union Church in Unionville; Jordan Reformed Congregation in South Whitehall Township; Zion Reformed Church, Allentown; Jerusalem Lutheran and Reformed Congregations in Eastern Salisbury Township; Lowhill Lutheran and Reformed Congregations in Lowhill Township; Heidelberg Lutheran and Reformed Congregations in Heidelberg Township; Reformed Congregation at Schoenersville in Hanover Township; Lutheran Congregation at Schoenersville in Hanover Township; Trexlertown Union Church in Upper Macungie Township; Union Church at Neffs in North Whitehall Township; Chestnuthill Reformed Congregation in Lower Milford Township; St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Allentown; Allemangel Moravian Congregation in Lynn Township.

Lutheran
Lutheran churches in Lehigh County were German in respect to the language used in the services and to the origin of the clergy. Congregations were established as early as 1734 in Upper Milford. Reformed and Lutheran congregations often shared a building. Union organizations were two congregations who purchased property and erected a church shared by both organizations. Fifteen Lutheran congregations existed in 1784.

Early records of the "Blue Church" have been published:

Christ Church, Evangelical Lutheran and Reformed Congregation, Shoenersville

Ebenezer Union Church

Ebenezer Union Church 1740-1990 -- Stones of Help. Appendixes B and D have lists of baptisms with names of children with their dates of birth and baptism and names of their parents. Also lists of confirmations, marriages, and funerals.

Jerusalem Lutheran and Reformed Congregation

St. John's Reformed and Evangelical Lutheran Church, Laury's Station

Ziegel's Lutheran and Reformed Church, Weisenberg Township

Mennonite
The first Mennonite congregation was established in 1738 in Upper Saucon. Two congregations existed after 1784.

Moravian
Moravians established a settlement at Bethlehem in 1741. The Bethlehem Digital History Project (winner of a National Endowments for the Humanities prize) includes community records, Bethlehem diary, bills of sale and manumissions, business activity, meeting minutes, Moravian Indian diaries 1763-1765, registers of baptisms, marriages, and deaths, and church regulations.

There was also a Moravian congregation at Emmaus:

Reformed
As early as 1747 there were at least ten Reformed congregations in Lehigh County. By 1784 there were seventeen congregations.

Ebenezer Union Church

Egypt Reformed Church

Jerusalem Lutheran and Reformed Congregation

Jordan Reformed Congregation, South Whitehall Township

Reformed Church, Lowhill

Schlosser's or Union Reformed Church, Unionville, North Whitehall Township

Upper Milford Reformed Congregation

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.

Prothonotary
In Lehigh County the Prothonotary is known as the Civil Division

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.

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 Lehigh County began in 1812. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Online Land Records

  • 1812 -1911 Deed Records 1812-1901; Index 1812-1911 FHL films 2108782 (first of 73 films) - images only; click on the camera icon to view images
  • 1812 -1911 Mortgage Records, 1812-1886; Mortgage Index 1812-1911. FHL film 2108789 (first of 20 films) - images only; click on the camera icon to view images
  • 1984–present Images are available online using the Landex system. There is a fee to view the images.
https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/6/6a/Lehigh_county_pennsylvania_townships.pngLehigh county pennsylvania townships.png
About this image

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Bucks CountyMontgomery CountyBerks CountySchuylkill CountyCarbon CountyNorthampton CountyPA LEHIGH.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Maps

  • Maps of Pennsylvania (1673-1878)
  • Ancestor Tracks has posted free downloadable images from the 1876 Illustrated Atlas of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. This atlas located in the Library of Congress shows major landowners and geographic sites at the date of publishing. While the physical maps are in the public domain, the images we have taken of the maps belong to us and are not be used commercially. We hereby give permission to use them strictly for personal use; please attribute to Ancestor Tracks.

Migration[edit | edit source]

Early migration routes to and from Lehigh County, Pennsylvania for settlers included:[8]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

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

Naturalization records for Lehigh County, Pennsylvania include the following:

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 Lehigh County

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

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

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Lehigh 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 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 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 $

Marriage[edit | edit source]

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

  • 1626-2016 - Pennsylvania, United States Marriages at FindMyPast $
  • 1677-1950 Pennsylvania Civil Marriages, 1677-1950 at FamilySearch
  • 1700-1821 Pennsylvania Marriage Records Ancestry $
  • 1725-1976 Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1709-1940 index. Not complete for all years. This index is an electronic database of information. The entries are primarily from the International Genealogical Index (IGI) along with some entries derived from compiled and original records such as: Family Records, Church Records, Civil Registration. It may also include indexes generated by the internet indexing project sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Pre-1810 Pennsylvania Marriages Ancestry $
  • 1852-1854 Pennsylvania Marriages Ancestry $
  • 1885-1950 Pennsylvania County Marriage, 1885-1950 Extracted marriage records – free. Most of the records consist of marriage licenses, certificates, applications, docket books, and affidavits. This database is incomplete for all counties. May also contain marriage records earlier than 1885.

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.

  • 1852-1854 Pennsylvania Deaths Ancestry $

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Divorce records are available through the office of the Prothonotary.

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]

  • Allentown Public Library
    1210 W. Hamilton St.
    Allentown, PA 18102
    Phone: 610-820-2400
    website
The library collection includes a number of family histories.
  • Bethlehem Area Public Library
    11 West Church Street
    Bethlehem, PA 18018
    Phone: 610-867-3761
    Website
Online, Bethlehem Obituary/Biographic Article Index
  • The Mennonite Heritage Center Library
    565 Yoder Road
    Harleysville, PA 19438-1020
    Phone: 215-256-3020
    Website
The Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania support the the John L. Ruth Historical Library and Museum at the Mennonite Heritage Center. Located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania the records and resources of this treasure also cover the counties of Bucks, Chester, Berks, Lehigh, Northampton, and Philadelphia. The website provides a comprehensive overview of library resources, online cemetery database, manuscript collections, photo collections, archival collections, and more.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Facilities include an onsite research library about the Lenape Indians.
  • Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum
    432 W. Walnut St.
    Allentown, PA 18102
    Phone: 610–435-1074
    Website
Museum is managed by an historical society. The Historical Society's collection includes:
Church and Cemetery records – includes records of neighboring counties. See the archived list; Repository for early county records including Orphans' Court, tax and prison records;Compiled family histories; Newspapers – Local German and English-language newspapers; Marriage records on film and card index for newspaper obituary and marriage announcements; City directories for Allentown; Wills on film, with translated German text; Land, census and original survey maps.
The Historical Society conducts research for a fee.
  • The Mennonite Heritage Center
    565 Yoder Road
    Harleysville, PA 19438-1020
    Phone: 215-256-3020
    Email: library@mhep.org
    Website
The Cemetery Database at the Mennonite Heritage Center includes 86,000 burial records from 125 local cemeteries. Records cover cemeteries in the counties of Berks, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, and Westmoreland. The database provides transcriptions from Mennonite, Brethren, Lutheran, Reformed, Union, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, community, and private cemeteries. Search the list of cemeteries and the alphabetical surname lists in Adobe PDF format.
Visit the Mennonite Heritage Center to search the cemetery database by various criteria. The transcriptions are available for further research at the MHC library.

Societies[edit | edit source]

  • The Mennonite Heritage Center
    565 Yoder Road
    Harleysville, PA 19438-1020
    Phone: 215-256-3020
    Website
The Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania support the the John L. Ruth Historical Library and Museum at the Mennonite Heritage Center. Located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania the records and resources of this treasure also cover the counties of Bucks, Chester, Berks, Lehigh, Northampton, and Philadelphia. The website provides a comprehensive overview of library resources, online cemetery database, manuscript collections, photo collections, archival collections, and more.

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/Lehigh_County,_Pennsylvania accessed 2/12/2017
  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. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/1/10/Igipennsylvaniall.pdf.
  7. The Philadelphia Courts at Common Pleas accessed 10 July 2012
  8. Handybook, 847-61.

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