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. The Pennsylvania records are on 104 Family History Library films beginning with 854965.
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. (On 104 Family History Library films beginning with 563394 item 2.) 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 561039.) Records are filed alphabetically by surname.
Chester County Historical Society (West Chester, Pennsylvania). Genealogical Clippings File, up to 1968. (On 151 Family History Llibrary films beginning with 560531.) 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 (Family History Library films 540684-97).
State Library of Pennsylvania. The state library and the Family History Library have the Genealogical Surname Card Index (on 42 Family History Library films beginning with 1002825 item 2). 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 (Family History Library 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. (On 360 Family History Library films beginning with 345738.)
Family Records No. 2 "F.C. Collection." (Family History Library films 525531-82.)
Genealogical Notes. 33 volumes and indexes. (On 20 Family History Library films beginning with 522153.)
Gilbert Cope Collection of Family Data. This collection is especially important for Quaker research. (Family History Library films 517003-78.)
Warren S. Ely Collection of Genealogical Data, Letters (Eastern Pennsylvania Families). (On 46 Family History Library films beginning with 511938.)
Albert H. Gerberich Collection of Pennsylvania German Families. This collection is alphabetically arranged in 6 sets. (On 16 Family History Library films beginning with 522107 and 522119.)
William H. Mervine Collection of Genealogical Notes. (On 119 Family History Library films beginning with 503279.)
Sophie Seldon Rogers Collection (Genealogical Material). Indexed and in alphabetical order. (On 45 Family History Library films beginning with 511759.)
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; on 5 Family History Library films beginning with 1698260.) 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. 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.
Genealogies of Pennsylvania Families: From the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. Baltimore, Maryland.: Genealogical Publishing, 1981.
Jordan, John W., et. al. Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania. 11 vols. New York, NY: Lewis Publishing, 1911-65; vols. 1-5 on 3 Family History Library films beginning with 1697635.)
Pennsylvania Archives. 135 vols. Philadelphia, PA: J. Severns, 1851-1935. (Family History Library on 65 films beginning with 824438 item 2; on 302 fiche starting with 6051521.) 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. (Family History Library 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-. (Family History Library on 31 films beginning with 1698167.) 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 1698167 item 4; 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 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 1000540 items 3-5.) This area includes the counties of Allegheny, Armstrong, Clarion, Forest, Venango, Warren, and Westmoreland.
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