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Online Research Request

Genealogy Request

The Genealogy Request is best suited for the researcher who has already done some family research and is trying to locate more information about a specific individual. Each Genealogy Request is limited to one name of an individual. Separate Genealogy Requests must be submitted for more than one individual. Please provide as many details on the subject of your search as possible to enhance our searching capabilities. We will then attempt to locate additional information about that individual found within the items as listed on the research prospectus.

The Library & Archives has over 8,800 genealogical family files. Surnames can be spelled numerous ways, and the family collection reflects many of these variations. Each family collection is organized under the unique Center’s control spelling and may contain a family file and series of cards. The family or surname file contains various materials pertaining to that particular surname and its variations. For example, a surname file may include newspaper clippings of obituaries, weddings and engagements; short genealogies (less than 40 pages); family group sheets; pedigree charts; previous research queries; copies of original documents and photos. Materials in the family files have been collected or submitted to us over the years by volunteers and researchers. Five sets of index cards accompany each family file. These cards include abstracts from church records, cemetery tombstones, Will books and Orphans Court Dockets (1749-1850), a sampling of pre-1800 tax records, and other selected sources.

Upon receipt of the Research Request Order Form and payment, we will search the twelve major reference sources in The History Center’s genealogy collection, including the family file and accompanying index cards.

The fee for each Genealogy Request is $50 for non-members and $35 for York County History Center members. This fee is payable in advance and is nonrefundable regardless of the outcome of the search. The fee includes research time and up to 15 copies from the sources searched. Additional photocopies are $0.50 each and will be limited to 20 extra copies. Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for a reply.

Obituary Request

The York County History Center is one of the only repositories in Pennsylvania that has the two major York County newspapers and their predecessors on microfilm.

Not every death that occurred in York County will have a corresponding obituary in the local newspaper. If an obituary did appear in the local newspaper, the details included in it vary depending on the time period. Early obituaries, when found, may only reference that the individual died, or that he died “leaving a wife and children”, without providing the names of the family members.

When an exact date of death is known (e.g. February 27th, 1987), The History Center will locate the obituary on microfilm from one (1) newspaper and provide a copy of the obituary for a $15.00 fee. When only the month and year of death is known, that month will be searched in one (1) newspaper for the obituary and provide a copy of the found obituary for a $25.00 fee. The research fee is non-refundable.

PLEASE NOTE: On some occasions when an individual died over the weekend, an obituary may not have appeared in the local York newspapers; this is because for many years York’s Sunday paper was printed by a Lancaster County newspaper company and these newspapers are not available at The History Center. Please allow 2 to 4 weeks for processing.

Family Report

The Family Report provides a comprehensive (but not exhaustive) set of data about one particular family that was available at the time of compilation. They are useful to the researcher who wants to get a broad overview of a particular family’s presence in York County. Researchers who need additional information about only one individual would probably find the Genealogy Request more helpful.

The Historical Society of York County, now the York County History Center, compiled Family Reports on over 500 families in the 1920s through the 1950s. Abstractions were made from church records, wills, bonds, orphans court dockets, deeds, mortgages, and numerous other sources. Reports vary in the types of items abstracted. Many years have passed, and numerous church records and other sources have been added to the genealogy collection, but they have not been added to these reports.

Family Reports can be photocopied in their entirety for personal use only. The fee is a $15.00 minimum research fee, plus a charge of $.50 per page. Enter the surname you are looking for in the search box at the bottom of this page. If your first attempt is unsuccessful, please try another variation of the spelling. If a Family Report is available, complete the Research Request Order Form on the results page or at the bottom of this screen. Please be sure to indicate the appropriate volume and page total for the desired Family Report (the search results include this information). Please allow 2 to 4 weeks for processing.

Business Research Request

The York County History Center’s Library & Archives business collections include original records (correspondence, ledgers, daybooks, etc.) of local firms, organizations, and business leaders. The availability of records will greatly increase the chance of a successful business request. To inquire about records of a particular business before submitting an inquiry, please contact Adam Bentz at We are able to answer some business inquiries with standard reference sources such as, Polk city directories, and Sanborn insurance maps. Inquiries that require fewer than 10 minutes to complete are complimentary, but answered subject to staff availability.

Please see the full research prospectus for a list of the nine resources we will consult. When filling out our online or print form, we ask that you supply us with the business name, approx. years of operation, its location in York County, and its product(s) (if known). We also ask that you specify the question you are trying to answer, such as, how long did Company X manufacture Product Y, or, why did Company X relocate from Glen Rock to York? Alternately, you may ask us to compile a short (approx. 2-page) history of the firm, with some supporting evidence such as copies of correspondence, ads, product brochures, etc. as appropriate. The $50 fee will include up to 15 total pages, with additional copies (up to 20 pages) billed at 50¢ per page. Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for a reply.