Pennsylvania GenealogyEdit This Page
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Most archives, historical societies, and genealogical societies have special genealogical collections and indexes. These must usually be searched in person or online. For an excellent bibliographic listing of sources for Pennsylvania, see:
Woodroofe, Helen Hutchison, comp. A Genealogist's Guide to Pennsylvania Records. Reprinted from the Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine. Philadelphia, PA: Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, 1995.
Many of the Pennsylvania genealogical societies are identified online in the Pennsylvania Genealogy Society Directory.
Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Collection. This large collection includes transcripts of Bible, cemetery, church, genealogy, and vital records from Pennsylvania. It was microfilmed at the DAR Library in Washington, D.C. FHL film 854965 (first of 104 films)
Chester County Historical Society. The society and the Family History Library have the following:
Chester County Historical Society (West Chester, Pennsylvania), Genealogical Manuscripts up to 1968. FHL film 563394 item 2 (first of 151 films) The only index to these records is in General Card Index, a 70-80 drawer card file at:
- Chester County Historical Society
225 N. High Street
West Chester, PA 19380-2691
Genealogical and Biographical Records File, up to 1968. (On 41 Family History Library films beginning with FHL film 561039 (first of 41 films) Records are filed alphabetically by surname.
Chester County Historical Society (West Chester, Pennsylvania). Genealogical Clippings File, up to 1968. FHL film 560531 (first of 151 films) This includes newspaper clippings, books, and articles arranged alphabetically in two sections.
Historical Society of Pennsylvania. This society and the Family History Library have Genealogical Collections: Families of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, etc., 1700-1950 and the Edmunds and Lukens collections FHL films 540684-97
State Library of Pennsylvania. The state library and the Family History Library have the Genealogical Surname Card Index. FHL film 1002825 item 2 (first of 42 films) This indexes local histories, family histories, periodicals, and many compilations of cemetery, church, and Bible records at the state library. The call numbers listed are for that library. However, many of the sources are also available at the Family History Library.
Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. The following are examples of the extensive collections at the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania that are also available at the Family History Library.
Manuscript Card Catalog of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania(also called the "Manuscript Material Index" or the "Genealogical Material Index"). This is a very helpful index to many collections at the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania FHL films 377629-37 This source indexes many collections, such as the Buckman, Clement, Cope, and Justice collections, and manuscripts. It references persons, places, families, localities, and events. It includes all manuscript collections listed below, except the Ely and Gerberich collections.
A necessary guide to the above card catalog is J. Carlyle Parker, Pennsylvania and Middle Atlantic States Genealogical Manuscripts: A User's Guide to the Manuscript Collections of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania (Turlock, Calif.: Marietta Publishing, 1986.
Family Records Arranged Alphabetically. FHL film 345738 (first of 360 films)
Family Records No. 2 "F.C. Collection." FHL films 525531-82
Genealogical Notes. 33 volumes and indexes. FHL film 522153 (first of 20 films)
Gilbert Cope Collection of Family Data. This collection is especially important for Quaker research. FHL films 517003-77
Warren S. Ely Collection of Genealogical Data, Letters (Eastern Pennsylvania Families). FHL film 511938 (first of 46 films)
William H. Mervine Collection of Genealogical Notes. FHL film 503279 (first of 119 films)
Sophie Seldon Rogers Collection (Genealogical Material). Indexed and in alphabetical order. (On 45 Family History Library films beginning with FHL film 511759 (first of 45 films)
Others include the collections by Buckman, Dotterer, Enders, Gearhart, Harlan, Hocker, Hough, Justice, Mendenhall, Seldon, Stow, Welch, and Wood. Many genealogical materials are found in the Author-Title Search of the Family History Library Catalog under COLLECTIONS OF THE GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF PENNSYLVANIA.
Egle, William Henry, ed. Notes and Queries: Historical, Biographical, and Genealogical, Relating Chiefly to Interior Pennsylvania. 1894-1904. Reprint, Baltimore, Maryland.: Genealogical Publishing, 1971. FHL film 1698260 (first of 5 films) This is listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under PENNSYLVANIA - HISTORY - PERIODICALS. An index to this source is:
Schory, Eva Draegert. Everyname Index to Egle's Notes and Queries. 2 vols. FHL book 974.8 B2nq Decatur, Illinois: Decatur Genealogical Society, 1982.Vol. 1 had indexes to series 1-4; vol. 2 has an index to the five annuals, 1896-1900.
Genealogies of Pennsylvania Families: From the Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine. 3 vols. Baltimore, Maryland.: Genealogical Publishing, 1982. These are reprints of family histories published from 1895 to 1980. FHL book 974.8 D2g
Genealogies of Pennsylvania Families: From the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. Baltimore, Maryland.: Genealogical Publishing, 1981. FHL book 974.8 D2p
Jordan, John W., et. al. Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania. 11 vols. New York, NY: Lewis Publishing, 1911-65; vols. 1-5. FHL film 1697635 (first of 4 films)
Pennsylvania Archives. 135 vols. Philadelphia, PA: J. Severns, 1851-1935. FHL film 824438 item 2 (first of 65 films) and FHL fiche 6051521 (first of 302 fiche) This set of volumes is published in nine series. The volumes contain significant documents including but not limited to: militia and muster rolls, church records, colonial land warrants, tax lists, vital records, governor's papers, etc. The Family History Library has only the first seven series. An explanation of the contents of these series is:
Eddy, Henry Howard. Guide to the Published Archives of Pennsylvania. Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1976. FHL film 908202 item 2 It includes the missing names STERNFELDT-STINOR in volume 5 of the index in the Seventh Series
Another guide is:
Morris, Jean Sansenbaugher. Use of the Published Pennsylvania Archives in Genealogical Research. Pittsburgh, PA: Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, 1978. This has a helpful list of items for most volumes; page 2 discusses the indexes to the Archives.
Rider, Fremont, ed. American Genealogical- Biographical Index. Vols. 1-186+. Middletown, Connecticut: Godfrey Memorial Library, 1952-. FHL film 1698167 (first of 31 films) This is a continuing series.
An earlier version of 48 volumes was published as The American Genealogical Index, 1942-1951. This index has over four million brief citations (name, date, and source) to manuscripts, periodicals, and books. The early version referenced 350 sources. The second version includes the original 350 sources and an additional 800 sources.
To help interpret citations and locate the original sources, use the colored pages in some volumes or Patricia L. Clark and Dorothy Huntsman, eds., American Genealogical Biographical Key Title Index (Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1990; Family History Library film FHL film 1698167 item 4 and FHL fiche 6088377 It indicates which sources are at the Family History Library and gives their call numbers.
Virdin, Donald Odell. Pennsylvania Family Histories and Genealogies. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1992. This is a bibliography of Pennsylvania family history books.
Some helpful sources for a few of the minorities that settled Pennsylvania are:
Hocker, Edward W. Genealogical Data Relating to the German Settlers of Pennsylvania. 1743-1800. 1935.
Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies, Chiefly Scotch-Irish and German. Reprint. Baltimore, Maryland.: Genealogical Publishing, 1969.
Some examples of regional sources include:
Jordan, John W., ed. Genealogical and Personal History of Northern Pennsylvania. 3 vols. New York, NY: Lewis Historical Publishing, 1913. (Family History Library films FHL films 946642-3
Jordan, John W. Genealogical and Personal History of the Allegheny Valley, Pennsylvania. 3 vols. New York, NY: Lewis Historical Publishing, 1913. (Family History Library film FHL film 1000540 items 3-5 This area includes the counties of Allegheny, Armstrong, Clarion, Forest, Venango, Warren, and Westmoreland.
Writing and Sharing Your Family History
Sharing your own family history is valuable for several reasons:
- It helps you see gaps in your own research and raises opportunities to find new information.
- It helps other researchers progress in researching ancestors you share in common.
- It draws other researchers to you who already have information about your family that you do not yet possess.
- It draws together researchers with common interests, sparking collaboration opportunities. For instance, researchers in various localities might choose to do lookups for each other in remote repositories. Your readers may also share photos of your ancestors that you have never seen before.
- See also: