History of Prothonotary

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If you don’t know what the word “prothonotary” means, you are not alone. Apparently, United States President Harry S. Truman had the same question. A story has been often told that, in 1948, President Truman was introduced to a prothonotary in Pittsburgh and did not know what the term meant. Nearly 60 years later, the question still arises – what is a prothonotary?

The prothonotary is the Chief Clerk of the Civil Court. The word is of Greek origin, and it means "First Clerk." The prothonotary's office of Luzerne County is responsible for filing, storing, and distributing official civil documents. The prothonotary's office also issues passports and maintains naturalization records. Pennsylvania is one of the few states in the United States which still uses the term “prothonotary” to describe its clerk of civil records.
Last Updated: 06/10/08 11:53:13
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