Services & Orders

Research Services

For those who are unable to travel to LancasterHistory to conduct research themselves, the LancasterHistory Research Center offers a few services online and/or through the mail.

2024 Services Update: Please note that LancasterHistory has changed the structure and pricing for Family Bible viewings as of May 9, 2024. Please review the list below for the most up-to-date information.

Archival Document Request Service

LancasterHistory can provide a photocopy or PDF of historic Lancaster County government documents, Lancaster City records, and obituaries. These documents include, but are not limited to:

  • Deeds: 1729-1860s
  • Obituaries: 1798 to present*
  • Orphan's Court: 1742-1867
  • Wills: 1730-1908
  • Probate records: 1729-1913
  • Civil and criminal court records: 1730s-1870s
  • Commissioners’ Orders for Payment: 1810-1901
  • Liquor License Papers: 1802-1889

Pricing

Document requests are $5.00 per document, plus 6% sales tax (if PA resident). This item is not eligible for discounts.

How To Request

LancasterHistory's collections database allows patrons to identify specific documents in our collections that will aid in research.

When submitting a request, please provide as much information as possible, including the name or subject, place, and date. Please note that date of death must be provided if requesting a copy of an obituary. Obituaries are not common before the late 19th century. Include the Object ID and the website URL when available. Submit requests by email to research@lancasterhistory.org.

For example:

“I would like a photocopy of the will of John Smith of Lancaster. He died in 1765.”

OR

“I would like a PDF of the Administrators’ Account for
Elliott Eskridge Lane, Lancaster, 1858
AdAcct 1858 F004 L
https://collections.lancasterhistory.org/en/permalink/9fd7157f-abc0-46fe-b832-478614601010

Requests for information beyond the scope of this request may be referred to another of LancasterHistory's Research Services.

Historic Photographs Scan Requests

LancasterHistory's collections database allows patrons to identify specific photographs in our collections that will aid in research, exhibition, or for personal use.

With an exact Object ID or website URL, LancasterHistory can provide a high resolution digital copy of an image or manuscript item. Eligibility for item scanning is based upon the condition, type, and size of the item. High resolution digital images can also be provided for curatorial items. Digital images can be saved in TIFF or JPEG formats with a resolution range between 72 and 1200 dpi. If no format or resolution is specified, images will be saved as TIFFs and scanned at 600 dpi.

Pricing & How to Request

For pricing information on photo orders and how to request them, please contact research@lancasterhistory.org.

Hourly Research Services

If you are unable to come to the Research Center yourself, or if you would prefer to have us look into a research topic on your behalf, we offer an hourly research service. A staff member or trained volunteer will spend up to 2 hours researching a request before returning to you with what they have found. If you wish for our researchers to keep going, you can pay for additional time, up to 4 hours total on a single topic. 

All services require payment up front. Please allow 6-8 weeks for a response.

Please note that the cost of these services is based on the time that staff and volunteers dedicate to research on your behalf. Although not all attempts to locate information will be successful, they still consume staff time equally. As such, even unsuccessful attempts to locate information in our collection requires payment of the hourly rate. 

Types of Hourly Research:

  • Genealogical Research: Minimum 2 hours. Genealogical Research Requests are limited to a single name in Lancaster County. Provide our researchers with as much information as possible, including related names, dates (birth, death, marriage), places of residence or worship, religious denomination, and country of origin. Please indicate what it is you are hoping to learn from this research as part of your Genealogical Research Form.
  • House and Property History Research: Minimum 2 hours. House and Property History Research requests are limited to a single address within Lancaster County. Please provide any information about the property that you already have, and indicate what you are hoping to learn from this research as a part of your request.
  • General Research: Minimum 1 hour. This may include any other topics you would like us to research on your behalf, or would like assistance with (i.e. transcriptions). All requests are subject to staff approval.

Pricing:

$35/hour for non-members, includes scans of all related documentation. A 20% discount is available for members. (Learn how to become a member!) A 6% sales tax applies for PA residents.

What are these fees used for? Research fees help offset a portion of the costs of running the Research Center including staff salaries, purchasing new materials, conservation of collections items, and providing free educational programming to local students.

How to Request:

Customers should email research@lancasterhistory.org with information on what they would like researched on their behalf.

If customers are specifically looking for Genealogical Research, they should complete and return a Genealogical Research Form.

LeFevre, Eby, & Other Family Bible Viewings

Patrons may meet with LancasterHistory staff to see the genealogy and historical information recorded in the LeFevre and Eby Bibles or other Bibles in the collections.

How to Request

Special appointments are required to view Family Bibles, including the Lefevre and Eby Bibles. To make an appointment, please contact research@lancasterhistory.org or (717) 392-4633, ext. 126 at least two weeks in advance to discuss the Bible viewing with a staff member. Walk-in viewings or late notice appointments may not be accommodated.

Pricing

  • Adults - $7.00
  • Seniors (65+) - $5.00
  • Students and Children under 18 - FREE
Library Document Scanning Service

LancasterHistory can provide PDF scans from materials in the Library collection, including books, journals, and atlases. We do not provide scans of entire Family Files or Information Files. LancasterHistory staff reserve the right to deny a request if they believe that fulfillment of the order would violate copyright law, cause damage to the object in question, or violate prior agreements regarding access to sensitive materials.

If you would like an issue of The Journal of Lancaster County Historical Society to be mailed to you, please email research@lancasterhistory.org. The cost is $10 per issue, plus $5 shipping and handling, and this service is subject to availability. LancasterHistory's Museum Store also sells more recent copies of the Journal online

Pricing:

It is a $5 flat fee for staff to locate the requested item, plus 50 cents per page of said item, including 6% sales tax (if PA resident). This service is not eligible for discounts.

How to Request:

To submit your request, please complete a Library Document Scan Order Form and submit it to research@lancasterhistory.org. Please make sure to include the call number for the item and the title.

If you have questions, please contact the Research Center at (717) 392-4633, ext. 126 or email us at research@lancasterhistory.org.

Look-Up Service

A staff member or volunteer will look up a single baptismal, marriage, or burial record in a specific church's records, or locate a plot in a named cemetery. Customers must provide the name of the individual they are researching and a date. Customers will receive a scan of the record, if located, for their own reference.

If the customer does not know what church or cemetery their individual belongs to, they will need to visit the Research Center to conduct research or pay the Hourly Research Fee for genealogical research.

Pricing:

$10 per look-up, plus 6% sales tax (if PA resident). This service is not eligible for discounts.

How To Request:

Contact (717) 392-4633, ext. 126 or email research@lancasterhistory.org.

Manuscript Collections/Object File Request Service

LancasterHistory's collections database allows patrons to identify specific documents in our collections that will aid in their research. LancasterHistory will provide a photocopy or low-resolution color PDF of documents from our Manuscript Collections. This is also the service customers should use if they are requesting copies of LancasterHistory curatorial files or object records.

Pricing:

The Manuscript Collections Request Service is $25 per half hour (30 minutes), plus 6% sales tax (if PA resident). Price is inclusive of staff time pulling and copying/scanning necessary documents which can range from a few pages to many. This service is not eligible for discounts.

How To Request:

When submitting a request, please provide as much citation information as possible, including the Object ID or specific item within a manuscript group, and the website URL in an email to research@lancasterhistory.org.

For example:

Dr. Elizabeth Bricker Collection, MG-36, Box 1, Folder 1, Insert 1, Letter to Nina Bricker and Opal Bricker answering inquiry of 20 October 1962. Gives history of the Bricker Family. *insert URL*

Patrons will be contacted to confirm that the item(s) can be copied or scanned, and to inform of the cost to reproduce the requested documents. Some materials may have copyright restrictions. Up to 10% of a manuscript collection may be photocopied.

Special Subject Tours & Workshops for Groups & Classes

LancasterHistory offers customizable Special Subject Tours and Workshops for groups and classes led by one of our curators, archivists, or information specialists. (For example, primary source workshops.)

To learn more or schedule a Special Subject Tour, please visit our Group & Bus Tours webpage to fill out a Group Tours Information Request, send us an email at groups@lancasterhistory.org, or call (717) 392-4633.

Unsure if we have the document or photograph you are looking for? We encourage you to check out our collections online to see if you can locate the document or photograph. If you are still unable to identify a specific document or photograph needed or which service is best for your request, please contact the Research Center at research@lancasterhistory.org or (717) 392-4633, ext. 126 for more information.

Local Genealogists

LancasterHistory’s Research Center may not be able to fulfill all requests for genealogical research or reconstruct lines of descent. The following individuals below are local genealogists who can also conduct paid research on your behalf.

Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement on the part of LancasterHistory. If you are a local researcher who wishes to be included on this list, please email research@lancasterhistory.org.

Online Order Pay for Research Center

Prefer to pay online for your Research Center service or order? No problem! An order number and balance total is required to submit your payment online. These would have been given to you by the LancasterHistory staff member writing up your order. (If you do not have these, please contact research@lancasterhistory.org or call (717) 392-4633, ext. 126.)

To pay online, please complete the webform at the link below. Upon clicking “Submit,” you will be taken to PayPal to securely complete your transaction. At the successful conclusion of your transaction, you will receive a confirmation email and a staff member will be in touch with your order.

Online Order Pay Form