I‘m accustomed to visiting the websites of state and county archives to learn more about their holdings to determine if I should plan a visit or request information by mail. Sometimes you can find quite a bit more. Such is the case with the York County Archives (Pennsylvania).
I’ve been pondering additional research on Christian Hoover of Heidelberg Township. His will names his brothers Ulrich, Jacob and Henry and his sister Ann Keny, but doesn’t provide any additional information. The will specifically leaves money for the surviving heirs of his brothers and two of his sister’s sons John and Henry, but again does not provide any other clues, no other names or locations.
Wondering what estate information was available for research and where I could write to get it, I did a search for York County estate files and wound up at the York County Archives website. The site provides a list of available records and additional information on each records group. It also provides access to indices for many of the records groups. You can search by surname and the site will provide a link to an index in PDF format for that name.
Although the Estate Files (1749-1958) were not indexed, I emailed the archives and they very quickly got back to me with a list of available records from Christian’s estate file AND suggested some additional files for a Ulrich Hoover that might be relevant. I ordered the files, paying by credit card online, and received them as PDF files the NEXT morning via email. Since then I’ve also ordered several deed files and experienced the same friendly, efficient and fast turnaround.
Talk about customer service!
If you know specifically what document you’re looking for and can’t get to York County yourself, this is a fantastic alternative to hiring a researcher or ordering films through the FHL. I know I’ll probably be ordering more records in the near future!