Prothonotary Justin Dunkelberger

Overview of the Prothonotary's Office

The word "Prothonotary" is a Latin word meaning "First Notary"; dating back to Ecclesiastical Law as being the highest administrator of the Court of Rome and the First Notary. When a case was ready for trial, the Prothonotary would notify the Judges when to appear in Court to try the case. Thus today's meaning of Prothonotary is "first notary of the Court." 

The Prothonotary is the keeper/clerk of the civil records/division for the court and is responsible for filing, storing, and distributing official civil documents.  
 The Prothonotary is elected to serve a four-year term as the legal custodial of documents filed with the County Court of Common Pleas and the Prothonotary's filing duties are set by Pennsylvania statutes, the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure, and the 17th Judicial District Local Rules of Court. Since the early 1800's, the office of Prothonotary has been an elective choice of its citizens.

The Prothonotary/Clerk of Courts Office is located on the first floor of the Courthouse. 
Powers and Duties of the Office of Prothonotary - from the Pennsylvania Constitution, Statute 2737

§ 2737.  Powers and duties of the office of the Prothonotary.

        The office of the Prothonotary shall have the power and duty to:

            (1)  Administer oaths and affirmations and take acknowledgments pursuant to section 327 (relating to oaths and acknowledgments), but shall not be compelled to do so in

        any matters not pertaining to the proper business of the office.

            (2)  Affix and attest the seal of the court or courts to all the process thereof and to the certifications and exemplifications of all documents and records pertaining to the office of the Prothonotary and the business of the court or courts of which it is the Prothonotary.

            (3)  Enter all civil judgments, including judgments by confession.

            (4)  Enter all satisfactions of civil judgments.

            (5)  Exercise the authority of the Prothonotary as an officer of the court.

            (6)  Exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as may now or hereafter be vested in or imposed upon the office by law, home rule charter, order or rule of court, or ordinance of a county governed by a home rule charter or optional plan of government.

     (Apr. 28, 1978, P.L.202, No.53, eff. 60 days)


        1978 Amendment.  Act 53 amended par. (3).


The Office Holder:  Justin Dunkelberger

Biography:  Justin was elected to the position of Prothonotary in 2013.  His election follows the retirement of Kathleen Wolfe-Strausser after many years of service to the citizens of Northumberland County.

Dunkelberger is a lifelong resident of Northumberland County.  He was born and raised in Rockefeller Township.  He now resides in Point Township, with his Wife the former Jayme Aucker of Northumberland and they have a son Caden and daughter Caitlyn.  He is a 1996 graduate of Shikellamy High School and a 2001 graduate of Penn State University, with a degree in Civil Engineering.  He is also a licensed Engineer in Training and Notary Public.

Dunkelberger has extensive experience in private business prior to becoming Prothonotary having founded several small yet successful business that remain to this day.  He has served his community on the following boards;

  • Publicly Elected Point Township, Northumberland County, Board of Supervisors - Served One Term, did not seek relection
  • Sunbury Area Health Foundation Board of Directors (2 Terms)
  • Northumberland County Planning Commission (Since 2005)
  • Northumberland County Comprehensive Plan Committee
  • Northumberland County Recreation Committee (Since 2005)
  • Northumberland County Industrial Development Authority (Since 2012)
  • Northumberland Borough/Point Township Comprehensive Plan Committee
  • Central Susquehanna Thruway Task Force (Since 2008)
  • SEDA-COG Foundation Board of Directors (Since 2012)
  • SEDA-COG Local Loan Review Committee (Since 2012)
  • SEDA-COG Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Committee (Since 2012)
  • Shikellamy Junior High School Head Wrestling Coach  (Since 2005)
  • Shikellamy Junior High School Assistant Football Coach (Since 2013)
  • Board of Directors and Founding Member
  • Past Master of F&AM Lodge 22 of Sunbury
  • Trustee of BPOE No. 267 of Sunbury
  • Former Central PA Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (2 terms)
  • Former Elected Republican Committee Person (2 terms)
  • Former Susquehanna Valley Vision 2020 Committee
  • Former Impact Susquehanna Committee
  • Former Susquehanna Valley Young Professionals Director and Founder
  • Former Phi Gamma Delta, Penn State University Board of Directors
  • Former Sunbury Revitalization Board of Directors - (2 terms)
  • Former Central PA Economic Development Council Board of Directors
  • Former Pennsylvania Solar Task Force Committee
  • Past Junior Achievement Volunteer - Shikellamy School District


Dunkelberger's Staff includes Geraldene "Jerry" Yagle Deputy Prothonotary, Patricia Miller, Penny Brightbill, Julie Campbell and Jamie Saleski