Crawford County, Pennsylvania


Vital Records

BIRTHS         MARRIAGES         DEATHS


     Aside from a brief period during the 1850s, Pennsylvania did not require the registration of births until 1893.1  Births were registered by the county until 1905, and thereafter by the state.

     No birth records have been found for Crawford County during the 1850s.  Records of births from mid 1893 through 1905 are located in the Office of the Clerk of Courts in the Crawford County Courthouse.  Lists of births were periodically returned from each township, city, or borough, and recorded among Orphans' Court records in a two volume set labelled Record of Births.  The birth records, while unindexed, are arranged by first letter of the infant’s surname, more or less chronologically.

    The Record of Births may be viewed in the Clerk of Courts’ Office in person or by hiring a researcher.  They have also been microfilmed by the Mormans and are available on loan at any Family History Center.  The original returns are presumably in the Clerk's attic storage.

     A birth certificate may be obtained from the Clerk of Courts for a fee of ten dollars ($10.00), payable by money order or cashier’s check only.  This may be a typed abstract of the information contained in the Record of Births, not a photostatic image of either the docket or of the original returns.  If the exact date of birth is unknown, an additional search fee of ten dollars ($10.00) is required.  (Birth certificates may be free for veterans, their spouses, and minor children.)

     Not all births in the county during these years were recorded, particularly during the earliest years of registration.  Persons who births were not recorded could, beginning in the 1940s, file papers to supplement the county records. These “Delayed Birth Records” were recorded in five volumes, all of which have also been microfilmed and are available on loan at any Family History Library.  The fifth volume is located in the Office of the Clerk of Courts; the other four volumes are in basement storage, but may viewed on microfilm at the Meadville Family History Center.  An index appears in the front or back of each volume.  (It is hoped that a composite index to these records can later be placed at this site.)

     For births occurring after 1905, a birth certificate may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, or visiting its public offices in Erie, New Castle, Harrisburg, etc.

MEADVILLE BIRTHS

    The Health Department of the City of Meadville also kept records of birth between the years 1880 and 1927.  Those records are available in two bound volumes at the Meadville City Hall.  The records for 1880 to 1891 were partially abstracted and published by Dr. Elizabeth Ongley-Jennings in a three volume set (which may now be out of print) titled Births Recorded in the City of Meadville, Pennsylvania.

    The Meadville birth records are also available on microfilm at the library of the Crawford County Historical Society, but the film in many places is very difficult to read.  Dr. Jennings’ books can be requested at the library of the Crawford County Historical Society.  See Research Facilities.

TITUSVILLE BIRTHS

    [to be continued]

1 1893 Pa. Laws 340 (Act No. 281, approved 6 June 1893).   RETURN


BIRTHS         MARRIAGES         DEATHS


    Pennsylvania began to record marriages only in 1852.  Registration was discontinued in 1854, and did not resume again until 1 October 1885.1  The only other civil records of marriages from the nineteenth century are the dockets and ledgers of the Justices of the Peace, few of which have survived.  The Marriage Ledger of Ebenezer R. Hall is one of only two known to the writer.

    Marriage records have always been kept on the county level, by the Clerk of the Orphans' Court.  Those from  1852 to 1854 are abstracted here.  Records from 1885 are available in the Clerk of Courts' Office on microfiche (only), indexed in several sets of bound volumes.  The earlier indexes and marriage dockets have been microfilmed by the Mormons, and are available at any Family History Center; see LDS call numbers.

    Note that a couple need not have obtained their marriage license in the county where they were married.  Thus, for instance, the marriage records for many Titusville area families will probably be found Franklin, the county seat for Venango County, which was closer than Meadville.

    If the marriage docket or license number is known, a marriage certificate may be obtained from the Clerk of Courts (Crawford County Courthouse, 903 Diamond Square, Meadville, PA 16335) for a fee of five dollars ($5.00).  This will be a typed abstract of the information contained in the dockets, not a photostatic image of either the docket or of the original marriage license return.  For an additional two dollars, i.e., a total of seven dollars ($7.00), a photocopy of the marriage license application will be provided along with a marriage certificate.  In either case, the Clerk of Courts charges an additional, nonrefundable ten dollar ($10.00) search fee if the marriage docket or license is not known.

    Due to the almost complete lack of civil marriage records prior to October 1885, it is necessary to rely upon other sources.  Of primary importance is the card index to thousands of marriage notices appearing in local newspapers, found at the library of the Crawford County Historical Society; see Research Facilities.  Some church and other private marriage records have also been published in Crawford County Genealogy; see subject index to CCG.

DIVORCES

    A divorce could be obtained by from the Pennsylvania Legislature (until 1874), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, or (beginning in 1804) any county Court of Common Pleas.  See Legislative divorces.  The writer has compiled a list of all nineteenth century divorce actions filed in the Crawford County Common Pleas Court, and has prepared abstracts (including verbatim transcriptions of all testimony) of all divorce cases through 1877, and some later.
1 1885 Pa. Laws 146 (No. 115, approved 23 June 1885).  RETURN


BIRTHS         MARRIAGES         DEATHS


    Aside from a brief period during the 1850s, Pennsylvania did not require the registration of deaths until mid 1893.  Deaths were registered at the county level between the years 1893 and 1905,1 and thereafter by the state.

    A transcript of Crawford County death records from the 1850s appears on this site at 1852-1854.  Records of deaths from mid 1893 through 1905 are located in the Office of the Clerk of Courts in the Crawford County Courthouse.  Lists of deaths were periodically returned from each township, city, or borough, and recorded by the Clerk of the Orphans' Court in a two volume set labelled Record of Deaths.  The entries in these volumes, while unindexed, are arranged by first letter of fhe decedent's surname, and more or less chronologically.

    The Record of Deaths may be viewed in the Clerk of Courts' Office in person or by hiring a researcher.  They have also been microfilmed and are available on loan at any Family History Center; see LDS call numbers.  The original returns are located in the Clerk's attic storage area.

    A death certificate may be obtained from the Clerk of Courts for a fee of nine dollars ($9.00), payable by money order or cashier's check only.  This may be a typed abstract of the information contained in the "Record of Deaths," not a photostatic image of either the docket or of the original returns (which are in attic storage).  If the exact date of death is unknown, an additional search fee of ten dollars ($10.00) is required.  Write to the Clerk of Courts, Crawford County Courthouse, 903 Diamond Square, Meadville, PA 16335.

    For deaths occurring in Crawford County after 1905, a death certificate may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, or visiting its public offices in Erie, New Castle, or Harrisburg.


MEADVILLE DEATHS

    The Health Department of the City of Meadville kept records of deaths from 1880 to about 1927.  Those for 1880 through 1892 have been published in Crawford County Genealogy.  (The years 1885-1892 are essentially verbatim transcriptions, and the earlier years are being redone in the same format with the hope of making them available at or from this site.)  Those for 1880 have been posted experimentally.

TITUSVILLE DEATHS
     ... [to be continued]

1 1893 Pa. Laws 340 (Act No. 281, approved 6 June 1893).   RETURN