In this guide, you will find a series of research articles packed with helpful ideas for tracing ancestors in big cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, as well as 67 counties throughout the state. Pennsylvania Online Genealogy Records will help you quickly discover what is available online. In Pennsylvania, birth, marriage, and death records generally do not begin until the late 1800s and early 1900s. Church records are a valuable substitute for birth, marriage, and death records if you are searching in an earlier time period. In the county guides, such as Berks County, a great deal of effort has been made to determine which church records are available online at sites such as Ancestry, FamilySearch, and USGenWeb.
There are articles about using Philadelphia passenger lists (at one time, British North America’s busiest port), finding newspapers (dating all the way back to Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette), naturalizations, and township maps identifying homes of early settlers. Pennsylvania never took state censuses, but the Pennsylvania Census article will help you quickly get to federal censuses. You will learn how to trace Delaware, Iroquois, Shawnee, and Tuscarora American Indian ancestors, follow old migration routes such as the National Road, Braddock’s Road, and the King’s Highway, and learn tips about using Pennsylvania genealogy collections in Philadelphia at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. There are also articles to help you determine which Civil War regiments were recruited in which counties, and background on extinct jurisdictions, such as New Sweden.
Counties in Pennsylvania