History since 1729
Lancaster County court offices have been creating records since its beginning in 1729. Explore collection descriptions for nearly 500 diverse record series that line the shelves of the archives. Click the following link for a searchable inventory of our entire archives: Lancaster County Archives Collection Database
How are records kept?
Our archives represent the business records of government which makes us unique from historical organizations because we do not collect records. All records were originally created here as a function of county government. Court offices such as the Register of Wills, Recorder of Deeds, Prothonotary are the creators of government records that over time gain historical value to researchers.
The Lancaster County Archives recognizes the archival principles of provenance and original order in maintaining records and making them accessible for research. Provenance dictates that records from different origins or offices be kept separately and reflects how and why they were originally used by county offices. Records are also kept in their original order which they were originally created. Records are valuable not only as single documents but also as part of their larger collection known as a record series. A record series is accumulated and used together for a specific related function such as deed records. Lancaster County Archives collections are cataloged at the record series level. Most county records are kept in large books known as dockets with original papers often complimenting this. Original papers may contain signatures which become significant for those searching for ancestors.