Pennsylvania Genealogy
Guide to Ancestry and Family Tree Records

The State of Pennsylvania has a rich history, especially from the time that it was a territory, not a state. In the beginning of the 1600s Swedes, English, and Dutch people regularly had disputes in what is now the state of Pennsylvania.

In 1664 New York was captured by the English, allowing them to acquire the area that is now Pennsylvania. Then, in 1681, King Charles II granted Pennsylvania to a Quaker named William Penn. The the Pennsylvania Colony, aka Province of Pennsylvania, was founded on March 4, 1681.

From 1776 to 1800, the federal government was based almost entirely out of Pennsylvania. In 1776 the Declaration of Independence was enacted there. Then, in 1787, the U.S. Constitution was drafted there. Pennsylvania is also home to both Gettysburg battlefield and Valley Forge. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is home to Independence Hall and a glass pavilion across from it, which is where the Liberty Bell is located.

The State of Pennsylvania was created as the 2nd state on December 12, 1787. It has 67 Counties. Select a Pennsylvania county to view information & records pertaining to each County


Pennsylvania Genealogy Record Guides

Getting Started with Pennsylvania Genealogy and Family Trees

Searching for Pennsylvania Genealogy Information – Known as one of the most historic of the states, Pennsylvania has a lot of different people connected to its long history. There are Native American histories, many different immigrant groups’ histories, and a diversity of events that relate directly to genealogy. This is why so many people seek materials for Pennsylvania genealogy projects.

Methods to Use for Pennsylvania Genealogy – Researchers quickly discover that their search for Pennsylvania genealogy data allows them to use many of the online resources to begin acquiring information and even ordering copies of the documents they need.

Unfortunately, there are still many organizations that have not been able to complete such a project, and this means that anyone doing research will also have to familiarize themselves with the different offline locations that will be of use. It is extremely important to familiarize yourself with both sets of tools to use for Pennsylvania genealogy, and how to get the most from online and offline resources.

A Modern Approach for Pennsylvania Genealogy – Public records qualify the most frequently used resources for Pennsylvania genealogy, and they are found in the following categories:

  • Local Records – state research will begin in a county clerk’s office, and then expand to include the nearby historical societies, local genealogical societies, small local libraries, and school or college libraries for Pennsylvania genealogy data. These are materials that are usually offline and viewable by appointment or special arrangement.
  • Vital Records – these will always cover the basic birth, marriage, divorce, and death records from county, state, and national archives. These might also contain cemetery or obituary information, census records, newspaper items, military records, immigration and naturalization details, and passenger lists and records as well. These are going to be available as online or offline resources for Pennsylvania genealogy.
  • State Records – from probate information to private manuscripts, surname lists, newspapers, state census information, marriage details, military or veterans information, land records, maps, estate information, genealogical folders, death records, deeds, birth certificates, cemetery information and more, such records are available as online and offline resources for Pennsylvania genealogy.

Strong Tools for Pennsylvania Genealogy – As a researcher in the current era you will need to learn which tools work for Pennsylvania genealogy, and which provide you with the most information for your particular project. Below we have identified some of the best for Pennsylvania genealogy:

  • Division of Vital Records, 101 South Mercer Street, Central Building, Room 401, P.O. Box 1528, New Castle, PA 16103.
    This is where anyone can order birth, death, marriage and divorce records via a written request or even online.

Additional state and local records can be found at the:

Also, consider using the resources available through the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania at:

Pennsylvania Genealogy Databases and other Helpful Links

The websites below will provide state-specific details to those in search of information for Pennsylvania genealogy work.