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Research Materials Available In The Library

Below you can see what types of items are found in the library. We encourage you to come explore our library in person, but you can also search for items in our catalog.

Atlases & Maps

Lancaster County has three published atlases: 1864 (with index), 1875 (with index), and 1899 that show landowners, acreage, churches, graveyards, and schools. The earliest indexed map is the Joshua Scott map of 1824. All maps in our collection are listed in the library catalog and a variety have been compiled in a list.

 

Birth Records
  • Microfilm copies of county birth records from:
    • 1852 - 1855
    • 1894-1907
  • Microfilm copies of delayed birth records filed from:
    • 1941-1959 for births from 1869-1906
  • Collection of baptismal records from various churches in Lancaster County

For more information, please view our Research Guide to Birth and Baptismal Records.

Cemetery Records

Researchers may want to consult our research guide to Death, Probate, and Cemetery Records.

Another resource is Churches and Cemeteries of Lancaster County: A Complete Guide by A. Hunter Rineer. This book guides you to the location of church and cemetery records. The book is available for sale in our Museum Store (call 717-392-4633 for availability) and in our library to view.

Census Records

Federal population schedules for Lancaster County are available on microfilm from 1790-1930 (except for 1890). Indexes are available from 1790-1870.

The collection also includes:

  • Indexes to the 1850 and 1870 Pennsylvania Mortality schedules
  • Manufacturer's census of Lancaster County for 1820 and 1850-1880
  • Pennsylvania Septennial census for various years
  • Agricultural Schedules for 1850-1880.

We also have much of the Lancaster County census in CD format, and we subscribe to Heritage Quest Online and Ancestry Library Edition. Researchers may also want to check out our Research Guide to Census Records.

 

Church Records

Church Records are listed in the library catalog. The book, Church and Cemeteries of Lancaster County: A Complete Guide, compiled by A. Hunter Rineer, guides you to the location of church records.

County Histories

A variety of county histories give a general overview of the county and its residents. Specific titles can be found by searching the library catalog.

Deeds

Lancaster County deed books from 1729-1894 and 1935-1958 are available on microfilm. A microfilm index of Grantees and Grantors from 1729-1894 is also available. To learn more about deeds and deed searching, please view our Research Guide to Land Records.

Family Bibles

All Bibles have been cataloged and can be viewed in our library catalog online. Loose materials from each Bible have been photocopied and placed in family files associated with the Bible. All other material has been photographed. Bibles are tagged with family name, date of publication, and language. Martyrs Mirrors are now located in the Rare Book Collection, oversize area, at LancasterHistory.org as of August 2014.

Family Files

LancasterHistory.org keeps an extensive verticle file collection of surname information. This information contains miscellaneous material gathered from a variety of sources, often other researchers who generously donate their findings for staff to photocopy. To see if we have a family file for a particular surname, please view the library catalog.

Periodicals & Journals

A list of periodicals and journals that LancasterHistory.org currently receives can be found here. In addition to these listed, we also subscribe to newsletters from many local and regional historical societies and museums. Articles specifically about Lancaster County are cataloged individually and can be found by searching the library catalog.

Genealogies

Many family histories are in the collection. To view the listings, please search the library catalog.

Immigration and Naturalization Records

The collection includes a variety of listings of immigrants, as well as records for individuals who were naturalized in Lancaster County. Published sources include:

  • Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, multi-volume
    • This resource is also available through LancasterHistory.org's online subscription to Ancestry Library Edition, available on-site at LancasterHistory.org
  • Immigration records
    • Includes various cutural and ethnic groups including:
      • Germans
      • Swiss
      • Scots
      • Scots-Irish
      • English
      • Dutch
      • French

We encourage you to search the library catalog for specific titles.

Naturalization records in our collection consist of microfilm copies of petitions for naturalization and notes of testimony, many of which we are in the process of entering into a searchable electronic database.

For more information, please view our Research Guide to Immigration and Naturalization Records.

Jasper Yeates' Colonial Law Library

Available to researchers by appointment only. Contact Nathan Pease, Director of Library Services, for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Jasper Yeates (1745-1817), originally from Philadelphia, was admitted to the Bar in 1765. He served as a delegate from Lancaster County to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and received a commission as Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1791. The preservation of the 1,043 volumes in Yeates law library was stipulated in the will of his daughter, Catharine, and the collection was placed into the care of the Lancaster Law Library Association. This Association was later incorporated into the Lancaster Bar Association, which maintained the volumes until the early 1960s when a lack of space encouraged them to offer the entire collection to LancasterHistory, then the Lancaster County Historical Society.

"The Journal of Lancaster County's Historical Society"

Published since 1896, our quarterly Journal of the Lancaster County Historical Society has articles of both historical and genealogical interest. Each article is cataloged individually and can be found by searching the library catalog. The Journal is still publishing to this day.

Lancaster City and County Directories

Names, addresses, occupations, business advertisements, organizations, and more are available in city and county directories. The earliest Lancaster City directory we have is 1843 and the earliest Lancaster County directory is 1869. We have Lancaster City directories on microfilm for the years 1903-1935. Bound volumes are also available in the library.

Lancaster City Directories are also available online for the years 1843-1922 on our Digital Resources webpage.

Marriages & Deaths

An on-site database at LancasterHistory.org contains marriages and deaths from 1800 to 1905 found in Lancaster City newspapers. Two Lancaster City newspapers, The Lancaster Examiner & Herald and The Intelligencer Journal, are available online for select years via our Digital Resources webpage.

Newspapers

Microfilm is available for major Lancaster County newspapers and various other communities in the county.

Newspapers available on microfilm at LancasterHistory.org.

Newspapers available online.

Pennsylvania Archives for Military Record

This multi-volume set of materials, along with the earlier Colonial Records, is useful for pre-1800 information. It is currently available online at Fold3 for a fee. Military Records are also available via the Pennsylvania State Archives via ARIAS.

Tax Records

Local tax records are available from 1750-1939 (with gaps). Indexes are available for pre-1729, 1750, 1770, and 1780. We also have the 1798 window tax on microfilm and the 1815 direct tax in a bound volume.

View what tax records are in the LancasterHistory.org collection.

Wills & Probate Records

We hold a large collection of published, manuscript, and microfilm probate records, including wills, intestate records, estate inventories, and more. View our Research Guide to Death, Probate, and Cemetery Records for a more complete description of our holdings.