Pennsylvania, United States Genealogy
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the Keystone State
- PA's earliest European settlers of New Sweden 1638-1655 were Swedes, Finns, and Germans.
- William Penn's proprietor records are online.
- Some early southwest PA land records are in VA.
- Most county land records have weird indexes.
- Use church records for missing vital records.
- Astronomers Mason-Dixon settled a dispute by a 1763-1767 survey of the PA/MD border.
Pennsylvania CountiesClick on the map below to go to a county page. Hover over a county to see its name. To see a larger version of the map, click here.
Pennsylvania State Archives · State Library of Pennsylvania · Historical Society of Pennsylvania · Haverford College · Swarthmore College · Franklin & Marshall College · National Archives and Records Administration · New York Public Library · Library of Congress
Beaver and Erie Canal · Bethlehem Pike · Braddock's Road · Canada Road · Centre Turnpike · Culbertson's Path · Delaware River · Forbes Road · Great Island Path · Great Shamokin Path · Great Trail · Great Valley Road · King's Highway · Kittanning Path · Lake Erie · Lake Shore Path · Leheigh and Lackawanna Path · Minsi Trail · National Road · Ohio River · Pennsylvania Road · Philadelphia Lancaster Turnpike · Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road · Pennsylvania Railroad · Schuykill Canal · Tuscarora Path · Union Canal · Venango Path
Origin of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania began as a British colony in 1681 when King Charles II appointed William Penn (1644-1718) proprieter. Pennsylvania was the second state admitted to the Union in 1787. Colony, and later state boundary lines, were in dispute for many years, and often lead to bloodshed (i.e. Cresap's War). The Mason-Dixon Line was the result of one of these disputes. Philadelphia served as the capitol of the United States from 1790 to 1800.
Did you know?
- PAGenWeb This non-profit orginization is the oldest free Pennsylvania genealogy federation of sites on the Internet. Their transcribed records are available to the public for free in every area of Pennsylvania genealogy and history.
- PA-Roots, a non-profit organization, offers free access to its transcribed records projects, including vital records, military records, newspaper articles, obituaries, and county histories of Pennsylvania.
- FamilySearch Record Search offers over 25,846 unindexed digital images of Philadelphia marriage records.
- Pennsylvania is the only Union state in the Civil War to have an existing file showing names of men who were conscientious objectors for religious reasons. The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania lists them in a free database.
- The Israel Daniel Rupp Collection of 30,000 early Pennsylvania immigrants from 1727-1776 is digitized in PDF form. Get it at the BYU Family History Archives.
- FamilyHart Pennsylvania Dutch Online Database This online family database has the largest collection of Pennsylvania Dutch names on the Internet. It currenlty has over 630,000 names online. It grows by 1,000 names per week, and is updated online quarterly.
- Harry Senft York and Adams County Cemetery Pictures This site has 100s of 1000s of headstone pictures from over 200 cemeteries in York, Adams, and Cumberland Counties. Indexing of these headstone pictures is currently taking place. Map links are also included for easy finding of these cemeteries.
- Pennsylvania Old Photos contains over 10,000 old photographs of people and places in Pennsylvania, sorted by county, town, surname. Searchable.
- Ask a question about how to find Pennsylvania ancestors at the North America Research forum!
- View historic Pennsylvania maps in the David Rumsey Map Collection.
- Find other Pennsylvania genealogy websites at Cyndi's List - Pennsylvania.
- Ancestor Tracks has posted free, downloadable 19-century landowner maps for approximately 85% of the counties of PA (scroll down to Pennsylvania map and hover over counties for contents)
- Pennsylvania county creation dates and parent counties.
- Research Guide: BYU Research Outline for Pennsylvania
Things you can do
In order to make this wiki a better research tool, we need your help! Many tasks need to be done. You can help by: