In 1874, Pennsylvania legislation was enacted requiring an affidavit of death before a will or intestate record was filed in the courts. An executor or administrator was required to provide a petition or affidavit which stated the exact day and hour of the individual’s death to the Register of Wills prior to the probate of a will or letters of administration. Death Affidavits provide the name of the deceased, place of residence, date and time of death, and name/signature of the administrator or executor.
The Death Affidavit record series provides a century of death dates for individuals that lived in Lancaster County and they can be used as a link to additional information published in newspaper obituaries. Death affidavits may have been filed several years after a death occurred. Estate File numbers in the left margin were indexed beginning in 1934 and researchers should request them for additional information.
Search Tip: Names within this index are arranged separately by the first letter of the surname and then by first letter of given name. Names are indexed chronologically by date filed. To make your search quicker, the second letter of the decedent’s surname is written in the left column. Use the bookmark feature within the index to quickly navigate to the appropriate first name section.
Lancaster County Death Affidavit Index Books