Less than a year after the American Revolution, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enacted legislation to ensure inhabitants gave their allegiances to the newly formed government. On June 13, 1777 all male inhabitants over age 18 were required to subscribe an oath before a Justice of the Peace where they resided renouncing all allegiances to Great Britain. This legislation also extended to undocumented visitors that traveled into Lancaster County during this time. Justices of the Peace were required to keep registers of all names that subscribed to the oath of allegiance and submit them each year to the Recorder of Deeds. Justices of the Peace received one shilling for every person that took the oath. The Recorder’s office received five shillings for every hundred names recorded.
Lancaster County Oaths of Allegiances lists were recorded in Deed Book ‘L’pages 375-406 but names were not indexed in the regular deed indexes. Subscriber names were recorded and are in typewritten format. Names have been indexed exactly as they were recorded in Deed Book ‘L’ so researchers should search for alternative spellings of surnames. Oaths of Allegiance lists may be viewed via the Recorder of Deeds website www.lancasterdeeds.com and selecting “E-Film Reader”. Original Oaths of Allegiance records may be kept at the Pennsylvania State Archives.