The nearly 37,000 estate files indexed in this database contain original papers including wills, inventories, accounts, guardianship appointments, orphans' court real estate sales, etc. Because of the numerous spellings for family names that appear in the estate files, a system was devised whereby a generic spelling of the last name is used for filing purposes. For your convenience, you may search the database either by the name as it originally appeared in the records or by the generic (variant) name which has been assigned to that name. When requesting records from the Berks County Register of Wills office, however, please utilize the variant file name.
This database is a part of the more than 750,000 records held by the Berks County, Pennsylvania Register of Wills/Clerk of the Orphans' Court whose office is located in the Berks County Services Center in Reading, Pennsylvania. The indexes were compiled by the staff of these offices and volunteers over a period of eight (8) years. The records were typed either from the indexes themselves or, for those records not indexed, from the actual documents.
In 1752 Berks County was formed as the seventh Pennsylvania County, from portions of Philadelphia, Lancaster and Chester Counties. At that time, Berks County included parts of the present counties of Schuylkill, Northumberland, Columbia, Montour, Union, Centre and Lycoming. As more settlers populated the frontier, additional counties were formed and Berks was limited to its present boundaries. For this reason, researchers from Berks and neighboring counties often find traces of their family heritage through Berks County's historical records.
To obtain copies of the original records indexed in these records, e-mail your request to "[email protected]" with a list of the records which interest you. You will receive back a listing indicating how much each record will cost. Next, mail a check or money order to the address listed below. In your correspondence, indicate the records you would like to obtain, list your email address, and indicate that you found the records on Ancestry.com. Copies will be forwarded as soon as possible upon receipt of your payment. Your check is not cashed until your order is processed.
Register of Wills
Berks County Courthouse
633 Court Street
Reading PA, 19601-3581
More information about researching in Berks County is available at www.berksregofwills.com.