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Index to the 1876 York County Atlas, an often overlooked resource


If you have done much historical or genealogical York County research, you are probably aware of the invaluable 1876 Atlas of York Co., Pennsylvania, Illustrated from Actual Surveys by and under the Direction of Beach Nichols, published by Pomeroy, Whitman & Co. of Philadelphia.

Each township has its own page or pages, and towns and villages have separate maps shown in larger scale, usually, but not always, with or near the township in which they are situated. Every known property owner is marked by a little square and labeled with initial and last name, like D. Bollinger, J. Leib or Mrs. Forry. The maps also mark locations of many schools, churches, cemeteries, hotels, post offices, railroad stations, ferries, toll houses, ore banks, lime kilns, distilleries, saw mills, grist mills, blacksmith shops, wagon shops, tanneries and other businesses. Roads, railroads and creeks are also clearly marked.

Business notices are included on the appropriate pages for those who wished to advertise. Hanover’s list includes categories for Banks, Coal and Lumber, Dentists, Hotels, Insurance, Livery and Sales Stables, Manufacturers and Merchants, each giving the name, address and short description of wares or services. For example “C. Moul, near Depot, Manufacturer of Reapers and Mowers, Sash, Doors, Blinds, &c. Brackets, Mouldings, &c.” or “A. Baker & Co., Dealers in Groceries, Provisions, Flour, Feed and Queensware, Abbottstown St.”

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You might not be aware that the atlas was indexed 25 years ago by South Central Pennsylvania members Patricia A. Gross, Leonard A. Heilman and Samuel J. Saylor. They were published in 1991 as Alphabetized, Cross Reference and Coded Indexes to the 1876 Atlas of York County, Pennsylvania in Two Volumes, numbers 44 and 45 in SCPGS’s ongoing Special Publications series. Number 44 is an Individual Name Index and Number 45 is a Subject Index, indexing features found on the maps themselves, such as ferries, and also indexing the business notices by subject.

Both index publications are available through the SCPGS website. Reprints of the 1876 Beach Nichols atlas itself can be purchased at the York County History Center Museum Shop. Atlases and indexes also can be used by patrons at the YCHC Library/Archives.