Business Property Research
With an abundance of raw materials, readily available sources of power, a willing work force, York County was destined to become a center of business and industry. The History Center’s collection includes many original records of local businesses, organizations and business leaders.
In 1999, the Agricultural and Industrial Museum of York County merged with the Historical Society of York County, forming the York County Heritage Trust. The business records collection of the Agricultural and Industrial Museum joined the records already amassed by the Historical Society. A grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) made it possible to survey the records, and to identify, arrange and describe them. The project included the development of a searchable database and made it possible to preserve the correspondence, ledgers, daybooks and sundry materials that document York County’s rich history.
Home Property Research
It is recommended that the researcher begin by developing a lineage of previous owners by researching property deeds. It is important to realize that not all York County deed transfers have been recorded and that many unrecorded deeds still remain in private hands Additionally, the Library & Archives has many unrecorded deeds in its collection. All recorded deeds beginning in 1749 are found at the York County Archives located at 150 Pleasant Acres Road, York. The grantor and grantee indexes for the York County Deed Books from 1749 through 1943 are searchable on their website. Please keep in mind that many unrecorded deeds still remain in private hands.
The Library & Archives also has copies of recorded York County deed transfers from 1749 to 1850 on microfilm, but it is best to begin with recent property transfers and work backwards. If you have recently purchased a property or had it refinanced, request a copy of the title search from your settlement company. The title search will provide a list of prior owners over the past several decades.
The names of the previous owners and their dates of ownership, these names and dates that will become the “keys” to access the resources found in the Library & Archives.
Original Land Record Maps and Books – by Neal Otto Hively
Rev. Dr. Neal Otto Hively, recently retired Lutheran pastor, has donated his life’s work and copyright to maps and accompanying books on original York County land records.
Dr. Hively first “discovered” early York County Land records while he was pastor at Bethlehem Steltz Church in southern York County. In 1986, while pursuing his doctorate, the late Dr. Charles Glatfelter strongly urged him to look into the founding family angle of these early land records. After many hours and miles of travel to the York County History Center, the Pennsylvania State Archives, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the Hall of Records in Annapolis, Maryland, he created 16 books and 14 maps for York County. Dr. Hively has researched 11,400 colonial surnames, and 4,545 tracts of land while creating the maps. In 2003 the South Central Pennsylvania Genealogical Society presented the Henry J. Young award to Dr. Hively for his tremendous work pertaining to the original land warrantees for properties in York County.
*Please contact the York County History Center Book Store at 717-848-1587 to check the availability of maps and books.
Now available in the Library! – Annotated York County Land Warrant Register – By Neal Otto Hively
(This book is only available for research use, not for sale)
After seven years of work, Dr. Neal Hively has produced a new reference for land records, the Annotated York County Land Warrant Register. This volume is a companion to the York County Land Records Series and is cross-referenced with Dr. Hively’s York and Adams County published land research. The York County Warrant Register contains over 5,900 separate name indexed listings. Each county’s original “warrant register” is housed in the Pennsylvania State Archives and details alphabetically and sequentially those persons who applied for a parcel of property, beginning in 1749 for York County.
YORK COUNTY LAND RECORDS BOOK SUMMARY LINKS