Pennsylvania Archives and Libraries
The following archives, libraries, and societies have major collections or services helpful to genealogical researchers.
- 1 Pennsylvania State Archives
- 2 National Archives-Mid-Atlantic Region
- 3 Philadelphia Federal Records Center
- 4 State Library of Pennsylvania
- 5 City Archives of Philadelphia
- 6 Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
- 7 Pennsylvania Digital Collections
- 8 Pennsylvania Counties
- 9 USGenWeb
- 10 Ohio River Valley Families
- 11 Friends Historical Library
- 12 Family History Library
Pennsylvania State Archives
Mail:350 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1026
Phone: (717) 783-3281
Website: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
Arias (Archives Records Information Access System) is designed to facilitate citizen with online access to archival records created by all branches and levels of Pennsylvania State Government. The original papers were originally microfilmed and later digitized. As of September 2010 there are about 1.5 million records online with more to be added in the future,
Wednesday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Saturday ( microfilm use only ), 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and State Holidays.
The Family History Library has these important guides to collections at the State Archives:
- Suran, Frank M. Guide to the Record Groups in the Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1980. FHL book 974.818/H1 J53s
- Baumann, Roland M., and Diane S. Wallace. Guide to the Microfilm Collections in the Pennsylvania State Archives. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1980. FHL book 974.8 A3ba
- Dructor, Robert M. A Guide to Genealogical Sources at the Pennsylvania State Archives. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1980. (Family History Library book 974.8 D23p.)
- Fortna, Nancy L. P., and Frank M. Suran. Guide to County and Municipal Records on Microfilm in the Pennsylvania State Archives. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1982. (Family History Library book FHL book 974.8 A1 no.613
- Whipkey, Harry E. Guide to the Manuscript Groups in the Pennsylvania State Archives. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1976. FHL book 974.818/H1 J53w; FHL film 1036704 item 13
- Guide to the Microfilm of the Records of Pennsylvania's Revolutionary Governments, 1775-1790: (record group 27) in the Pennsylvania State Archives. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1979. FHL book 974.8 N23g
For an index to this guide, see:
- Baumann, Roland M. and Diane Smith Wallace. Index to the Guide to the Microfilm of the Records of Pennsylvania's Revolutionary Governments, 1775-1790, in the Pennsylvania State Archives. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1980. (Family History Library book FHL book 974.8 N23g index
900 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-4292
Phone: (215) 606-0100
Fax: (215) 606-0116
14700 Townsend Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154-1025
Phone: (215) 305-2000
Fax: (215) 305-2038
333 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17126-1745
Phone: (717) 787-4440
Fax: (717) 783-8445
A helpful source is A Guide to the Genealogy/Local History Section of the State Library of Pennsylvania, 3rd rev. ed. (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The Division, 1987; FHL film 1320564 item 6. See also Janice B. Newman, Genealogical Research at the State Library of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine 35 (1988): 199-212.
Dept. of Records
401 N. Broad Street, Suite 942
Philadelphia, PA 19108-1099
Phone: (215) 686-1580
Fax: (215) 686-2283
A helpful guide is John C. Daly, Descriptive Inventory of the Archives of the City and County of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: City of Philadelphia, Department of Records, 1970; Supplement, 1980; FHL book 974.811 A3d; FHL film 1036003 item 4
4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4080
Phone: (412) 622-3100
Fax: (412) 621-1267
Pennsylvania Digital Collections
has statewide online database links which may include vital records, biographies, cemeteries, censuses, histories, immigration records, land records, maps, military records, naturalizations, newspapers, obituaries, or probate records.
To learn more about the history and record-keeping systems of Pennsylvania counties, use the county archive inventories produced around 1940 by the Historical Records Survey. The Family History Library has copies of 17 published inventories and 40 unpublished inventories. See:
- Inventory of the County Archives of Pennsylvania: Records of the Works Project Administration, Pennsylvania Historical Writer's Project FHL film 1014724-1014728 These records contain material on many counties that did not publish an inventory.
- A more current list is: County Records Survey, 1985-1986 [of Pennsylvania]. [Harrisburg, Pennsylvania]: Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Division of Archives and Manuscripts, 1986. FHL fiche 6333952 Philadelphia County is not included, but Pittsburgh city is.
- A very helpful guide is Sylvester K. Stevens and Donald H. Kent, eds., County Government and Archives in Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1947; FHL book 974.8 N2s; FHL film 1320887 item 10 This guide describes the records kept by the county, the information they contain, when most began, and important history of their development.
- Also helpful though dated is Irwin Richman, Historical Manuscript Depositories in Pennsylvania FHL book 974.8 H23r It provides a detailed description of the manuscripts in most libraries and archives in Pennsylvania in 1965.
- A useful directory of eastern Pennsylvania libraries is Directory of Libraries and Information Sources in the Philadelphia Area FHL book 974.811 J54s; film 1036557 item 9
A cooperative effort by many volunteers to list genealogical databases, libraries, bulletin boards, and other resources available on the Internet for each county, state, and country.
Ohio River Valley Families
A site for Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia and Illinois family history research Contains 13,035 related family members dating back to the 15th century.
Friends Historical Library
Established in 1871, Friends Historical Library is located on the campus of Swarthmore College in suburban Philadelphia and is open to the public. Its mission is to document the history of the Society of Friends (Quakers) and its concerns from the 17th century to the present.
Friends Historical Library
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081
Phone: (610) 328-8496
Fax: (610) 690-5728
Family History Library
FamilySearch, a collection of computer files containing several million names, is a good place to begin your research. Some of the records come from compiled sources; some have been automated from original sources. Many have been indexed and are searchable online.