The word Prothonotary is a Latin work meaning First Notary, or Highest Notary. The English borrowed this word and still are using it today in their court system. In England, the
Prothonotary was very distinguishably dressed in the court room. The Judges still wear black robes with white wigs. Four Commonwealth states, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia,
and Kentucky also use the word Prothonotary.
The Prothonotary is the keeper of all civil papers, which comprise of accident cases,
contractual disagreements, land appeals, protection from abuse cases, asbestos cases,
judgments, executions, eminent domain and all miscellaneous law suits. The Office is also
an agent for the Federal Government accepting passport applications and questions concerning naturalization matters.
The Clerk of Courts office maintains all criminal records at the Common Pleas level. We also handle all jury selections, court minutes, swearing in of witnesses, and verdicts in Court.
The Orphan Court office handles all marriage licenses, adoption records, first and final accounts and petitions for incapacitated persons.
In Lawrence County, all three divisions are held by one office holder. In surrounding communities, they are individual offices each held by an elected officials.
The Prothonotary’s Office is essentially “The Work Shop of the Courts”