Pennsylvania Archives, Societies & Publications

It is a good idea to familiarize personally with just about any repository in Pennsylvania that you simply might travel to by communicating with to the best suited archive or library in advance.

Most, if not all, Pennsylvania repositories have written and published content that present its collections as well as research policy.

Pennsylvania archives and historical organizations usually have On-line sites that provide equivalent details. Several also contain down loadable data for some or parts of their collections.

List of Pennsylvania Archives

In 1952 an archives was started in Philadelphia, the oldest city archives in the country. John Daly compiled a Descriptive Inventory to its holdings in 1970. The first county archives was established in Chester County in 1982 and is considered the model for the Commonwealth

List of Pennsylvania Libraries & Museums

List of Pennsylvania Historical & Genealogical Societies

For almost every state there is a state genealogical society, a state genealogical council, or both.

In addition to their own work, Pennsylvania groups many times help coordinate the efforts of local societies throughout the Pennsylvania.

Their unique publications, newsletters and quarterlies, supplement those created through the area societies.

It is mandated that each county support a historical society.

Regional and State Societies

County, Township and City Societies

Religious Societies

  • Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society of the United Church of Christ 555 West James Street Lancaster, PA 17603. loans microfilm of church records, covering German churches in Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Columbia, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, and York counties, as well as a few for Maryland and Virginia. Many German church records, particularly for the German Reformed and Evangelical church, have been published in books and periodicals.
  • Presbyterian Historical Society 425 Lombard Street Philadelphia, PA 19147. has records of over 20,000 churches and has published the Journal of Presbyterian History since 1901.
  • Historical Society of Pennsylvania Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center at the Balch Institute 18 South 7th Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106. has a microfilm collection of Jewish synagogue and cemetery records; other related material. Other important archives are kept by: The Moravians 66 West Church Street Bethlehem, PA 18018

Ethnic Societies


Pennsylvania Newspapers & Publications

Pennsylvania Genealogical publications (magazines, newsletters, periodicals, books, etc.) contain all types of invaluable information about specific ancestors, whole lineages and families, places in time, and about all sorts of genealogical records and repositories.


An updated version of Pennsylvania Newspapers and Selected Out-of-State Newspapers was published by the Pennsylvania State Library in 1984.

The publication is organized according to county, city or town, and title. A newspaper project was also sponsored by Pennsylvania. It included identifying, cataloging, microfilming, and otherwise preserving old newspapers from around the state.

The largest collection is available at the Pennsylvania State Library and microfilmed copies are available through inter-library loan programs. The library’s website lists its available records.

The Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh also have large newspaper collections available. There have also been several published newspaper abstracts.


Genealogical journals provide you with plenty of sources of information and facts, they are generally overlooked by genealogy and family history researchers and genealogist in looking around for family history.

Many regional and county genealogical and/or historical societies produce periodicals which have records relating to the region or vicinity they operate.

Frequently these publications have articles involving records that are not obtainable somewhere else.

  • The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine 
    published by the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania since 1948, tends to
    focus on the Philadelphia area with some coverage of New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. The first issue was numbered volume 16, as it succeeded the society’s Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, started in 1895.
  • The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 
    is the publication of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. It contains excellent articles on Pennsylvania subjects although mostly with a historical focus, and since 1936 without “genealogical” material.
  • The Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society 
    has published the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly since 1974. It is one of the more important regional journals since it covers a large area with many fine articles and abstracts of source records.
  • Your Family Tree (1948-83) 
    Another journal that concerns the central and western parts of the commonwealth. Besides queries, it featured abstracts of wills, tax lists, grave marker inscriptions, and newspaper items.
  • Pennsylvania German Folklore Society 
    was issued in twenty-eight volumes from 1963-66, when it merged with the Pennsylvania German Society Proceedings, which since 1891 had produced sixty-three volumes. Many emigration and church records have been published in these periodicals.
  • Pennsylvania History –
    published by the Pennsylvania Historical Association since 1934. A cumulative index for volumes 1-28 is available at the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. ;
    National Genealogical Society Quarterly
  • The collection at the Friends Historical Library Swarthmore College Swarthmore, PA 19081 ; The library has original and microfilmed Quaker records, mostly for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and some for Virginia, including those for fourteen Pennsylvania meetings copied by Hinshaw but never published. While the basic meeting records are located at Swarthmore, other material can be found at Haverford College Library Quaker Collection Haverford, PA 19041-1392