Lancaster County’s first coroner was named in 1729 when Lancaster was established as a county. In 1838, the coroner became an elected office and was summoned to investigate deaths of a suspicious or violent nature. If the coroner was unable to determine the cause of death following an autopsy, an ‘inquest’ was conducted to determine responsibility for death. In the past, six “good and lawful men” were compelled to assist in the inquest as witnesses to determine the manner of death. Coroner Inquest records provide the inquest number, name of deceased, death date, place and nature of death, coroner name, and witnesses examined. Witnesses listed may include family members and may be valuable links for family history research. For related death certificates contact the Pennsylvania Division of Vital records.