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Orphan's Court Documents
transcribed from LDS Microfilms

Cameron and Clinton Co. docs so far . . . more to come

The name Orphan's Court is deceptive—many of the cases that appeared before the Orphan's Court concerned estates. For instance:

  • If one parent died, and the other was still living, the Orphan's Court assigned a guardian for the minor children of the deceased parent to represent them regarding their deceased parent's inheritance. Pennsylvania state law did not allow inherited property to pass on to the surviving spouse; instead, it was divided evenly among the deceased spouse's children.
  • Property was most often left to the two oldest sons (in wills and in law); but when one of the two oldest sons died, his share of the inherited property was divided evenly among all living siblings, male or female.
  • Women who were married, but still under the age of 21, were appointed a guardian to represent them regarding their inheritance.

The documents here are typed as they were written, so be sure to look for variations of the surname you're searching.

These are not transcriptions of the original documents. They are from the county's register book (a transcription of the original). So, if you're looking for an ancestor's signature, be sure to ask for a copy of the original. Originals aren't always available, but it can't hurt to ask (it might cost a little more).

For more information regarding Orphan's Court documents, contact the Clerk of the Orphan's Court:

Cameron County Courthouse
20 East 5th Street
Emporium, PA 15834-1469
(814) 486-2315

Clearfield County
Clerk of the Orphans' Court
Box 361

Clearfield, PA 16830

Clinton County Courthouse
Jay & Water Street
Lock Haven, PA 17745
570-893-4000

Elk County
Register, Recorder & Clerk of Orphans' Court

P.O. Box 314
Ridgway, PA 15833-0314

Lycoming County Courthouse
48 West Third Street
Williamsport, PA 17701
(717) 327-2200, fax (717) 327-2511
Website: http://www.lyco.org/

Potter County Courthouse
1 East Second Street
Coudersport, PA 16915-1686
814-274-8290
Hours: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM Monday thru Friday
Court House Recorder's Office has deeds, mortages and misc. (includes wills) starting about 1804. Court House Prothonotary's office has marriages from 1885 to present and deaths and births from 1893 to 1905. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Vital Statistics start at 1906 and are housed in New Castle, PA.