Rhoda ENGLISH Ladd, formerly of Wellsboro, dedicated a liefetime to the accumulation of genealogical materials which are available at the Tioga County Historical Society in Robinson house in Wellsboro, PA. Thanks to her efforts and accomplishments, today's researchers in Tioga County have available easily accessible research tools which she compiled. These include several volumes of newspaper clipping abstracts, lists of the cemetery burials in the county, Bible records, census data and much more. These volumes are available in many other libraries as well. At her retirement, she also donated the personal genealogy library that she and her husband, William Ladd ,had accumulated. She presently resides out of state, but I think of her every time I so conveniently walk to my shelves to take down the abundance of material she made available to us. When we research in other counties where such materials are not so easily available, we are reminded how fortunate we are to have had such a committed genealogist in our county. We can now build our research on the foundation she created. Thank you, Rhoda.
A Little About Source Records
1. Birth Record: Should give your complete name, date of birth, where born and parents names, hopefully name of mother.
2.Marriage Record: should give your name, your spouses, date of marriage, where married, and by whom. Witnesses names. Application for Marriage License,: should give your names, your age, occupation, parents’ names, where born, if you were married before, divorced or if spouse died. Where you were living.
3.Death Certificate: should give complete name, date of death, place of death and where buried. Parents names and where they were born, spouses name if still living .This certificate gives name of person supplying the information. Doctors name and the undertaker’s name.
4.Family Bible: These family records written in the family bible, if complete, gives names, birth dates, death dates, and marriage dates and usually to whom married. Look closely between the pages of the bible for written data about the family, memorial cards, marriage announcements, or newspaper clippings. Add a complete copy of the bible record, including title page and presentation page to your family records to be used as source material..
5.Tombstone or Cemetery Records: Very few cemeteries keep complete records, you may find who purchased the lot and how many burials, but not always was a record kept of who was buried there. Checking the lot yourself, and coping the inscriptions from the tombstones is most helpful. Do not forget to look for a foot stone, initials can give clues to the person buried there. Copy all inscriptions given, within the family lot. Names could be different but still be apart of your family group. Sometimes this is the only record of a birth or a death. Copy complete record given on the stones.
6. Church Records: may be used with the above. The Pastor might record date of burial. If a Baptism date is given, usually just the date of Baptism is given not a birth date and should be recorded in your records as Baptized. Not all marriages were recorded by your minister- you are fortunate to locate a complete record. Many times a letter of dismissal is given, it is recorded by date and sometimes tells where to. You need to know which church your family belonged to.
7. Wills and Administrations: If your ancestor did not leave a will it is possible you might locate Letters of Administration. If you are fortunate to locate a will or Letters of Administration you might locate wife’s name and children’s. Sometimes a grandchild is listed and spouse’s names of married daughters, date will was made, witnesses, date will was probated and sometimes date of death and where buried. Special bequests are also included. Sometimes if a member of the family has left the area, it will tell where.
8. Orphan’s Court, No matter which spouse dies first, if there are children under age- the Orphan’s Court plays a part in the settlement of the estate or what happens to the children, their names and ages are given here, also tell you if a guardian was appointed.
9.Deeds, Grantee, and Grantor, Especially, in the settling of an estate are very important documents, you need to learn how to read them, hoe to abstract the pertinent data correctly, how to use them. You can learn how early your ancestor came into the area, where the land came from, and to whom it was deeded. Many times a death record is given, the relationship of family members is cited and how this property is to be divided, and whether the spouse is still living, if he or she is deceased, a death date could be recorded here. Deceased children names are given if they have left children who will receive their share of property.
10.County Histories, are an excellent source for family history and data, many times it tells where the families came from, and where they settled, marriages, births, deaths, children, whom they married and if they married more than once
A County History was prepared and written by individuals and historians using source materials, tax records, township records and county records. Mini sketches of our pioneer families were given by members of these families, many times records were used from the family bible.
County Histories were a conscription deal. A person paid in advance for a copy. That person prepared a family sketch which was placed in the book. If you could not afford to buy the book you could not have a sketch printed. The history that was printed gives us valuable insight into our family background, nationality, religion, occupations, and the part our pioneer ancestors played in the making of our county.
11.Census Records, The first census record was taken in 1790 for the states then in existence, namely, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, & South Carolina. After that a Federal Census that lists head of households and other members living within the household, ages and where born is the 1850 Census... See page giving complete data furnished by the Federal Census Bureau.
12. Tax Records, Once you know where your family lived and what years they lived there the tax records can verify this, since every person was taxed. Tax records can be very helpful in determining 6a death record. If your ancestor paid tax in 1846 and in 1847 his name is crossed off and written is estate and tax paid by a spouse or son you can assume he died within the last year. During the war years young men who could serve were listed, their age was given and they were taxed a stated amount or not taxed at all. This list was compiled by the tax assessor.
a list of poor children, names and ages would also be made by assessor, giving parent or guardian’s name, the assessor determined if they were qualified to receive town or county aid for school.
13. Pension Records, Actually these are stepping stones to our past. War of 1812, Spanish American War ,Civil War, and the Revolutionary War. In lieu of monies, many times grants of land were given. In order to receive a pension, a soldier had to prove he was who he said he was, and prove his service. A questionnaire asked for his name, age where born. Married, date, to whom and children. All of these statements had to be substantiated, sometimes by affidavits, of family members, or persons knowing them for a considerable length of time. Doctors affidavits, Minister’s affidavits, Bible records, etc. were included in the proofs submitted to prove a veteran was eligible for pension monies or grant of land.
14.Newpaper Files, Very helpful in locating family history which would otherwise be lost to families. Located in obituaries, anniversaries, reunions or in the affairs of villages, towns and within the county, can be located very valuable information about the history of individuals and families. This is very time consuming, if you can locate a date of death, start with that date and then search for a period of two to three weeks after. The same for a marriage or the celebration of a wedding anniversary.
15. Court Houses, Historical Societies, Libraries are the main source of records.
Research available at the Tioga County Court House. Located at 116/118 Main St. Wellsboro, Pa. 16901. Open Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. The County Court House is situated across from " The Green." Records available in the Register’s & Recorder’s office are:
Marriage 1889 - till now
Vital records are not complete. Records on file in Tioga County only if event took place in Tioga County. Records were not always recorded at the time an event took place. After 1905, all birth and deaths should be located at Pennsylvania Dept. of Health, Division of Vital Records, P.O. Box
Box 1528, New Castle, Pennsylvania 16103. A proper form is needed. These are available at the address just given or at your Register’s and Recorder’s office.
Wills and Administrations: These records start in 1806. The register
has the jurisdiction over the probate of Wills and the granting of the
Letters Testamentary. Where there is a Will, Letters of Administration
may be granted. Inventories and Appraisements and accounts of Executors
Administrators ( first and Final Accounts) are filed in this office.
The Register of Wills is obliged to give a bond. The Register of Wills is an Agent of the Commonwealth for the collection of the inheritance tax. The recorder of Deeds places bond on record and then transmits it to the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Deeds, Grantee, and Grantor: These records begin in 1806 The office of Recorder of Deeds became an effective office in 1838, and the Recorder was given a three (3) year term. In 1909 the tenure was increased to four (4) years. In the Deed Books are recorded copies of all deeds and conveyances of land situated within the county. In Mortgage Books are recorded copies of all Mortgages. On the margin of the recorded mortgage must be noted any satisfaction, release, or assignment. Deeds, Grantee, Grantor, should be used together. Grantee, Is one who receives the land; Grantor is the one who sells the land...
NOTE: During the past year it has come to our attention that not all deeds or transactions of land were recorded.. Many original deed are becoming the property of the Tioga County Historical Society. While checking at the Court House and unable to find a recorded deed, we were told, "unless the person involved paid the fee proper, the deed would not then have been placed on file"..
Orphan Court: Should be used along with Probate records, to complete your search, all minor children are given special attention in the Orphan’s Court Records, Names and ages and sometimes dates of birth needs to be furnished. Guardians are appointed and Trustees of estates are appointed by the court for minor children.
Tax Records: and Maps: Located in the Tax Assessment Office. From the beginning of Tioga County, Pennsylvania (1804) till now. Records are on file in separate books, one for each year, one for each year in each township.. Here, you need to know your history, and to determine when each township was created and from what. Just like a Genealogy of the townships and in chronological order.
The Responsibilities and the Duties of the
Register of Wills- Recorder of Deeds- Clerk of Orphan’s Court in Tioga
County, Pennsylvania 6th Class
Provided by Nancy C. Kimble, Chief Deputy Register and Recorder.
The officer is elected at the municipal election next preceding the expiration of the term of the officer in office and hold office for a term of four (4) years from the first Monday in January next after election. Like all County officers, Register of Will, Recorder of Deeds and clerk of the Orphan’s Court must be an American citizen and a resident of the county for at least one year before assuming office. There are three deputies that have authority to administer oaths and affirmations to all persons pertaining to the business of the office. The register must be bonded and take oath before taking office. All papers such as Deeds, Mortgages, Oil and Gas leases, Assignments, Releases, Power of Attorney, Register’s Papers and Orphan’s Court papers are microfilmed in our office each week.
Recorder of Deeds. The office of the Recorder of Deeds became an elective office in 1838 and the Recorder was given a three (3) year term. In 1909 the tenure was increased to four (4 ) years. In the Deed Books are recorded copies of all deeds and conveyances for land situated within the County. The year they start in our County is 1807. In Mortgage Books are recorded copies of all Mortgages. On the margin of the recorded mortgage must be noted any satisfaction, release or assignment. In the Deed Books are also recorded oil and gas leases and Power of Attorney. There is a fine map file in the Recorder’s Office given by Ernest Green, a former Recorder and Mildred Gerould, Elizabeth Davis and Dorothy D. Jones, all former Chief Deputy Register and Recorders. These were indexed by Dorothy D. Jones.
In the Soldiers Discharge Books are found recorded copies of Military discharges of Soldiers, Sailors and Marines. There is no charge for recording Soldiers discharges. This fee is paid by the County Commissioners. the first recorded discharge we have is August 18th, 1868. These records are not impounded but are considered "classified" and are not open to the public--- only the veteran, his immediate family and the administrator of Veteran Affairs have access to these records.
The Bond and Commission Book includes Bonds and Commissions of all officers who must be commissioned by the Governor of the Commonwealth before they may assume office. The officers are County Commissioners, Treasurer, Sheriff, Prothonotary and the Clerk of the Courts, Coroner, Register of Wills, Recorder of Deeds, Clerk of the Orphan’s Court, District Justices and Notary Publics.
Register of Wills: The Register of Wills is obliged to give a bond. The Recorder of Deeds places it on record and then transmits it to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. The Register has jurisdiction over the probate of Wills and granting of Letters Testamentary. Where there is no Will, Letters of Administration may be granted. The Register of Wills is Agent of the Commonwealth for the collection of the inheritance tax. Inventories and Appraisements and Accounts of Executors or Administrators ( First and Final Accounts) are filed in Register and Recorders Office. These records start in 1806.
Clerk of the Orphan’s Court: The Clerk of the Orphans’ Court was established in every County in 1683.The Clerk issues marriage Licenses. Marriage Records are from 1885. When a minor (16/18 yrs) applying for a marriage license has no parent or guardian to give consent, the Judge appoints a guardian for just that purpose. No one under 16 years of age may be married even with parental consent, except in special cases, when the Judge authorizes the Clerk of Orphans’ Court to grant a license. Since May 17th,1940, the clerk has not been permitted to issue a Marriage License until both parties file a physician’s statement and certificate from the laboratory, signed by an authorized person, showing the blood tests to be negative.
Birth Records: are filed in Register and Recorders Office from 1893 to January 1, 1906. These records are very incomplete because they were sent in by assessors who received five cent for each name. All births from January 1, 1906 to the present time are recorded in Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of Vital Records, P.O. Box 1528, New Castle, Pennsylvania 16103. Proper Forms are available from the above address or at the Register and Recorders Office.
Adoption Papers are the only impounded papers in our office, and are opened by Order of the Court.
Miscellaneous Data; Deed Book Records
June 7, 1920 Deed Book No. 160 page 340 last hand written deed
June 9, 1920 Deed Book No. 160 page 341 started typing deeds
Feb. 8, 1954 Deed Book No. 247 started microfilming
May 19, 1889 Deed Book No 114 page 1 Started using printed forms for handwritten Deeds
Microfilmed Records are housed in temperature controlled under ground storage facilities; not available to the public.
Deeds and Land Transactions in Pennsylvania
All land transactions in Pennsylvania that are recorded are found at the county level at the Register and Recorder’s office. These records are recorded to show proof of ownership of the land. A deed will give the exact location and metes and bounds of property. By recording deeds a buyer can check to see if the land if held free and clear with no liens. In Pennsylvania there is no law requiring the recording of deeds or property although it is strongly advised for the purchaser’s protection.. In genealogical research deeds are often very valuable in proving relationships since often a parent would transfer land to children when they were old. The office of Register and Recorder in Tioga Co. is located in the "old" court house and the Clerk of the Orphan’s Court is in the " new" building.
The Tioga Agitator dated 22 Febraury1865. Notice to record all records: All unrecorded deeds should be recorded or be adjudged fraudulent and void.
Grantor & Grantee indices....
1807-1874 Book 1
1874-1883 Book 2
1883-1892 Book 3
1892-1903 Book 4
1904-1915 Book 5
Sources at Veterans Administration
Director of Veterans Affairs ( Milford Pond)
118 Main St. Court House Annex, Wellsboro, Pa. 16901( Send self addressed , stamped envelope)
Duties of the V.A.: To help veterans with benefits coming to them and to help make out forms.
Records Available: Cemetery and Burial Records taken from permit for Veteran Burial Assistance. Later record give: Name, Birth, Where born,
Death, Where Died, Buried ( name & location of cemetery, not always lot no.) Service, Discharge, ( Spanish American War; W.W.1,WW11; 1940- present) The two (2) oldest books are for Civil War Veterans and start in 1902.Data given is as follows: Name, Rank, Discharge, Date of death, Burial ( cemetery & location) ( date and place of birth not recorded)
Research is available from this office, It is best to make an appointment but Mr. Pond will see if he is not busy. When you ask for information you need the following information: 1. Name of soldier 2. Branch of service( Army, Navy, Air Force etc.) 3. Dates of birth not recorded.
Remember if person did not apply for benefits names will not be recorded.
The undertaker fills out a form entitled Application for Burial Expenses of a Deceased Service Person. This gives the following:.
1.Name of Soldier 2. Date and Place of Birth 3.Service information ( incl. enlistment and discharge dates etc.) 4.Date and Place of Death 5. Burial Date, Cemetery & exact location by lot etc. 6. Social Security number A card of the Grave Registration of the Veteran is sent to the ADJUTANT GENERAL’S OFFICE, Harrisburg, Pa. and copy on file at County office, V.A. Hours Mon, Wed, Fri 9:00- 4:00 at Court House. Tue, Thur. 9:00- 4:00 at Mr. Pond’s home in Knoxville, Pa.
Duties of the Prothonotary
The Prothonotary is the chief clerk of the court and performs the duties of Clerk of the Court. The Prothonotary is responsible for the recording and keeping of all court related documents and proceedings. The records kept by the Prothonotary are public records and are generally available to the public. Adoption records are the exception since these are " sealed" and only a court order can open them. Among the records of the Prothonotary are Court Transcripts, Judgements, Bonds for Public Officials, certain licenses such as Tavern Licenses, Divorce Proceedings and Decrees, Alien records etc. The Prothonontary is an elected office. In Tioga County,Pa. the Office of the Prothonotary is located in the "old" court house. The hours they are open from 9:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.