INTRODUCTION TO NAME SEARCH DATABASES
BIRTHS & BAPTISMS
This database lists births and baptisms from various sources including county church records.
Request a copy of the record (PDF)
This database contains an index of the Birth Certificates that have been loaned to the Society by the Columbia County Prothonotary and covers births from 1906 to 1955. The collection consists of nearly 20,000 certificates from, and only from, the town of Bloomsburg, the borough of Millville and these townships: Greenwood, Hemlock, Madison, Montour, Mt. Pleasant, Pine and Scott. IN addition to the name, place and date of birth, a certificate also has the parents’ names and ages, the mother’s residence, parents’ marital status and other vital record data. These certificates are the Dept. of Health Registrar’s copies only and cannot be used for proof of information for legal purposes. Reproductions of these certificates are available at the Society or by mailing in the Photocopy Request Form (PDF). Steve Wiist, retired from Andruss Library at Bloomsburg University, was the compiler of this index.
This database contains an index of the Death Certificates that have been loaned to the Society by the Columbia County Prothonotary and covers deaths from 1906 to 1955. The collection consists of over 11,000 certificates from, and only from, the town of Bloomsburg, the borough of Millville, and these townships: Greenwood, Hemlock, Madison, Montour, Mt. Pleasant, Pine, and Scott. In addition to the name, place and date of death, a certificate also has information about parents, cause of death, occupation, place of burial, and other vital record data. Information about a spouse was added to the certificates starting in 1928. These certificates are the Department of Health Registrar’s copies only and cannot be used for proof of information for legal purposes.
Reproductions of these certificates are available at the Society. Steve Wiist,
retired from Andruss Library at Bloomsburg University, was the compiler of this index.
Request a photocopy of the record (PDF).
This database lists over 100,000 death records including obituaries and notices from seventeen Columbia County newspapers published in Bloomsburg, Berwick, Benton, and Catawissa beginning in 1839. Some cemetery listings and miscellaneous files are also included. Most entries are for the period 1870 – 1941. In Pennsylvania one set of early public records, from the Orphans Court, often named names of the then-living descendants of a deceased person. Now the names of over 5,100 individuals mentioned in these records for Columbia County from 1814 to 1849 are included in this database.
Request a copy of the record (PDF).
This database indexes over 5,000 records pertaining to land ownership, mostly in Columbia County, dating from 1768 to the present. The majority of these documents are from the files of the surveying firm of Solomon and Samuel Neyhard in Bloomsburg, PA (circa 1840 to 1914). To search, type a name (Grantor or Grantee) or a place (township/borough) in the search box below. The search can be further refined if needed by consulting the Remarks box in the search results. Principals in over 1,000 real estate transactions in Orphans Court Records from 1814-1849 are also included here. In addition, we are adding Tax Assessment records by township from 1802-1840 in Northumberland/Columbia County to this database. Grantor = Occupant and Grantee = Owner in this set of records. Request a copy of the record (PDF)
- Grantor – the Owner of Seller of real property
- Grantee – the Buyer or recipient of real property
The Type of Document in the Deeds and Draft collection may be any of the following:
- Deed – a formal record of land ownership
- Deed – Abstract of a Deed or Brief of Title (succession of owners)
- Draft (Draught) – a surveyor’s sketch of a tract of land, with “Metes and Bounds”
- Warrant – Permit to survey a tract of public land to apply for a Patent
- Patent – Record of land grant by Pennsylvania to an individual or firm
- Calculation – surveyor’s table to calculate the Area of a surveyed tract
- Will – Copy of a will disposing of real property
- Letter appointing someone as a legal representative or “attorney”
- Business letter, memorandum, etc.
- Order for a survey, from the Pennsylvania Property Board
- Certificate or commission appointing someone to a public office
- Other – Agreement, Bond, Indenture of an apprentice, Minutes, Receipt, etc.
This is a consolidated database of all our original data from the microfilm records of Columbia County newspapers in addition to records from the Columbia County prothonotary
from 1885 through about 1927. The bride and groom name fields below will be the key to the quantity of data returned. Request a copy of the record (PDF)
This database includes 2,781 individuals who applied for Naturalization (U.S. Citizenship) through the Columbia County Courts in the years 1827 to 1906 and 1930 to 1956. The records are searchable by surname and alternate name (many individuals anglicized their surname during the application process). The indexed forms may include the place and date of birth, former citizenship, parents’ names, names of spouses and children, date of immigration and port of entry. Some forms include a photograph of the applicant. If the husband was naturalized, the wife and children are automatically citizens. Only the applicants’ names are indexed. Request a copy of the record (PDF). The Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society is very
appreciative of the cooperation and assistance of Tami B. Kline, former Columbia County
Prothonotary & Clerk of Court, in allowing it to microfilm these naturalization records.
WORLD WAR I DRAFT REGISTRATION CARDS
The Society’s World War I Draft Registration Cards collection contains microfilm copies of all the draft cards from Columbia and Montour Counties. This is approximately 13,000 cards. All men born between 13 September 1872 and 12 September 1900 were required to register, so the database provides a partial substitute for the lost 1890 census. To find if a man had a WWI Draft Registration Card, type the last name in the last name box, then click Search. The search will list all men with that last name. Please note that alternate spellings exist, so you may want to try different spellings or the asterisk wild card when searching. You can also use the first name and middle name to refine your search. Request a copy of the record (PDF)
About this collection –
Information that can be found on all World War I Draft Registration Cards –
The World War I draft registration cards asked for name, age, address, birth date, naturalization status, citizen of what country (if not the U.S.), name and address of employer, race, height (tall, medium, short), build (slender, medium, stout), color of eyes, color of hair, if physically disabled, the location of registration and as mentioned, the registrant’s signature. Depending on the date registered, additional information was requested as described later under Registration Cards.
The Society’s Collection –
The World War I draft registration cards microfilm rolls for Columbia and Montour Counties are located at the Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society (CCHGS) and provide a partial substitute for the 1890 U.S. Census for Columbia and Montour Counties. Using the World War I Draft Registration Cards can be a valuable source of genealogical data when information in the last decade of the 1800s is needed.
After you find your ancestor’s card, the information can be used as a springboard to lead you to other records. For example, you can use that information to find your ancestor in a city directory and then trace your ancestor through that city’s directories for as many years as you can.
The draft cards are also a good source for finding immigrant information because all young men were required to register, regardless of U.S. citizenship status, and since 1880 – 1920 was a high immigration period, a large portion of immigrant men registered and gave information of birth date, birthplace, and in some cases their father’s birth
place and nearest relative. In addition, many men who immigrated were naturalized.
The Columbia County Historical & Genealogical Society has copies of Columbia County Naturalization records from 1837 to 1906 and 1930 to 1945. An index is available for searching on this Web site.
The 1890 U.S. Census was essentially destroyed by fire making it difficult to determine genealogical information about ancestors during this period. Because all men of draft age had to register for the World War I draft registrations, the draft registration cards can be looked upon as a quasi-census of males in the U.S. who were at
least 28 years old in 1900. There were three registrations in which registration cards were filled out by the applicants typically in their own hand which occasionally makes some of the information difficult to read. In some cases the information was printed or typed on the cards. These apparently were done by the applicant, but in all cases, the
applicants were required to sign the cards.
As mentioned, there were three World War I draft registrations.
- The 1st draft registration was held 5 June 1917 for all men aged 21 through 30.
- The 2nd draft registration was held 5 June 1918 and included all men who had become 21 since 5 June 1917. A supplemental registration was held 24 August 1918 for all men who had turned 21 since 5 June 1918 and that supplement is considered part of the second registration.
- The 3rd draft registration was held 12 September 1918 for all men ages 18 through 45.
Registration Cards –
The three registrations each used a slightly different card. While each required the information described above, depending on which card was used, additional information was requested as described below.
The 1st registration card asked if married or single; if father, mother, wife, child under 12, or sister or brother under 12 were solely dependent on registrant’s support; military service; rank; years and for what nation or state; if claiming exemption.
The 1st and 2nd registration cards asked where born, and the lower left-hand corner of the card was to be cut off if registrant was African descent.
The 1st and 3rd registration cards asked for the registrant’s trade, occupation or office.
The 2nd registration card asked for the registrant’s father’s birthplace.
The 2nd and 3rd registration cards asked for the name and address of nearest relative.
All men born between 13 September 1872 and 12 September 1900, even those who were non-citizens, severely handicapped, in prison, or insane, had to register. There were two exceptions; those men who were already in the military, or who enlisted before the required registration date. There was a lot of pressure to have all men register
due to the war effort. Newspapers advertised when the registrations would be occurring, there were parades and the names of those who registered were listed in local papers.
General Microfilm Information –
The cards from each of the three draft registrations of each county or local draft board if applicable are combined so the alphabetical grouping of the microfilmed cards represents a complete listing of all cards from each county/board.
More than one local draft board is on each roll. Each board or board portion is referred to as a “Target” on the microfilm. Ensure you are in the correct board, as well as the correct county, looking for a particular card.
There are two images for each card. There is a front and back. Both sides have information on them. The two images were microfilmed side-by-side. Ensure you see both images for your ancestor when browsing the cards.
The cards are organized by the last names of the registrants. The last names are not always in strict alphabetical order. They are grouped together with those that start with the same first letter. Thus all the last names that start with “A” are in the same group and all that start with “B” are in the same group, and so forth.
The names are in a looser alphabetical order within each letter group. For example, all the Abbotts are grouped together, but not in the order of their first names. Also, last name “Ale” is after “Albertson.” So, ensure you browse all the names within a letter group to determine if your ancestor had registered.
Occasionally registration cards from another county are included on a roll. For example, there are four cards from the neighboring town of Nescopeck, Luzerne County in the “A” family names group of Local Board No. 1 of Columbia County.