Fulton County Historical Society

Genealogy: Fulton County, Pennsylvania


Until 1895, births were recorded in a Family Bible. Some families paid a school teacher to prepare or fill in a birth or baptism certificate. These records were not filed in any government office. From 1895 to 1905 the Fulton County Courthouse has a register of local births. From 1906 to the present, Pennsylvania births are filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics, Box 1528, New Castle, PA 16103. Fee for certified copies are $10 for births and $9 for deaths.


Persons wishing to get married traditionally announced their intent before the community at a church service, then were married privately by a minister of their choice who gave them a wedding certificate. From 1852-54, ten wedding licenses were filed at the Fulton County Courthouse; from 1885 to the present, people could registered at any county courthouse.


The Fulton County Courthouse has 25 death records filed between 1852-54. The courthouse has death records from 1895-1905; for deaths since 1906 write the Bureau of Vital Statistics above. Some local churches included baptisms, marriages and deaths in church books.


The Fulton County Historical Society Library has microfilm copies of the Fulton Democrat, the Fulton Republican, and the Fulton County News, with no issues dating earlier than 1866. Unless it was a tragedy, 19th century newspapers carried only a one-sentence listing under "Died" and only if the family submitted the notice. The Historical Society does not have volunteers to search these papers, but some obituaries have been copied and filed on obituary cards.


Historical Society volunteers tried to copy all readable tombstones in Fulton County cemeteries in the 1980s. The records are available online and are continuously updated.

Deeds and Wills

Prior to 1850 Fulton County was part of Bedford County, and prior to 1771 Fulton County was a part of Cumberland County.  Therefore, prior to 1771 deeds and wills are filed at the Cumberland County Courthouse, and from 1771 to 1850 Fulton County deeds and wills are filed at the Bedford County Courthouse. Since 1850 they are filed in the Fulton County Courthouse.  Relevant Bedford and Cumberland County websites are:

Bedford County
Pioneer Historical Society of Bedford County
Cumberland County
Cumberland County Historical Society

Two excellent sites for Bedford/Fulton genealogy research are my.richnet.net/~clabaugh and www.motherbedford.com.  A very good resource for Fulton County History is the 1884 History of Fulton County, by Waterman & Watkins.   Other very good resources are the 1873 and 1916 maps of Fulton County that show the location of every dwelling, school, etc. with the owner's or school name listed.  These maps may be seen at the Society's Library.

For additional information regarding finding your family records, contact the Director of the Fulton County Historical Society at the email address or regular mail address above.

About the Cemetery Records for Fulton County, PA

This is a VOLUNTEER effort of the Fulton County Historical Society, containing more than 20,000 individual names. Over the years, numerous people walked through the cemeteries of Fulton County and copied data from the tombstones.  This was begun in the 1930s and 1940s by the late Walter Sloan and others from the old Historical Society.  It was continued in the 1950s and 1960s by such local genealogists as Samuel Buterbaugh.  When the Historical Society was reorganized in 1975 prior to the US bicentennial, this became a project for local volunteers such as Hazel Harr, John Nelson, Glenn Cordell and others. Where cemeteries had already been recorded, such as found on Latter Day Saints (LDS) microfilm, this information was accepted. The data was written on the back of old IBM cards and filed alphabetically in 14 drawers at the Fulton House.

When visitors stopped at the Historical Society library to do research on people or events in Fulton County's history, they always used the cemetery file.  Members would sometimes write to the Society and request, "Please send me the birth and death dates of all the Mellotts buried in Sideling Hill cemetery!" The Society saw a need to make this information more readily available to everyone. Fortunately, Mrs. Doris Finney, a dedicated member living out of the area, offered to enter ALL this data on computer. In the early 1990s, letter by letter, drawer by drawer, file cards were mailed to Doris who spent a large part of two years recording the names and dates of all the residents of Fulton County who are buried in our local soil.

The information compiled by Mrs. Finney was first made available on a diskette.  Now this information is available in a database format on the Historical Society website.  The advantage of the new format is that the information can be easily sorted and/or searched on any of the data fields.

As you find errors in the data, if you will send corrections to the Fulton County Historical Society at either the above email address or mailing address, the record will be corrected immediately on the master disk. Due to human error and the worn condition of many of the early tombstones, you should check for yourself dates on the original marker.  But this file will point you in the direction of the correct cemetery and should save you much time.

Union Cemetery south of McConnellsburg is the largest cemetery in the county, and the only one where volunteers did not copy from the gravestone. The Society had access to the Burial Book used by the cemetery secretary, the late Rhoda Kendall. Since burial USUALLY occurred 3 days after death, Mrs. Finney recorded a death date 3 days earlier than the date entered in the burial book. This could easily be off by a day, so verify it with another source.

The records are current through June 2004 and, in addition, for the last twenty-plus years Hazel Harr has clipped local obituaries from the newspapers and pasted them on the cemetery cards.  In some cases, the Society was given duplicate older newspapers where obituaries could be cut out.  In this cemetery listing, an asterisk * next to the name indicates that an obituary is included in the Historical Society library file for easy access. Volunteers are currently scanning obituaries, and where a person's name is also a link, then clicking on the link will display a fully searchable copy of the obituary. The ability to view obituaries is only available to members.

Because some of the listings came from obituaries, there may be some questionable cemeteries listed.  For example, if people were cremated but the service was held locally, a ? was used if it didn't say where the ashes would be interred.  Some older obituaries may simply have neglected to mention the burial place but we recorded the names since a local undertaker held the service.  As another example, a newspaper obituary may state that a person was buried at "Pleasant Ridge" without distinguishing between Pleasant Ridge Brethren or Pleasant Ridge Nazarene, and "Sideling Hill" can be either Christian or Primitive Baptist.  Bethel and Bethel Mennonite are the same site, although the denomination changed since the cemetery was started.  And cemeteries are sometimes abbreviated in different ways in the files.

Other Resources


Resources for Military Families

Military Indexes

Lineage Societies

If you can trace one of your ancestral lines far enough back in time, and if you have acceptable proof, you might be able to join a lineage society. Here are links to some of the most popular ones.

General Society of Mayflower Descendants

Daughters of the American Revolution

Sons of the American Revolution

Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the American Revolution

The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War