Social Science and History Department, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. (215) 686-5396
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Generally, questions concerning city directories and newspapers should be directed to the Newspapers and Microfilm Center (NEWS) at 215-686-5431. All other questions should be directed to the Social Science and History Department.
This library houses the collection of The Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. Collectively, this collection is the outstanding historical and genealogical collection in the Philadelphia area. The following list only hints at its scope.
The Library of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107. (215) 732-6200.
Back issues of Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine are available. A review of the indexes to this magazine is a MUST for Pennsylvania research. For example, an examination of the table of contents of the first few issues of this magazine reveals the following items: burial records, marriage certificates, necrologies, tombstone inscriptions, extracts from diaries, family notes, indexes to biographical sketches, marriages, and gleanings from family Bibles. A CD-ROM product that indexes the Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine from its first issue to the mid-1990s is also available.
The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, 2207 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-3010. (215) 545-0391 (fax 215-545-0936). It is important to call before you go to make sure that one of the expert volunteers is available to assist with your search. GSP volunteers are exceptionally helpful.
Revolutionary War: Compiled service records. Indexed. Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Files. War of 1812: Index to compiled service records. Mexican War: Compiled service records of volunteers from PA. Civil War: Index to compiled service records of Union soldiers from Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Index to compiled service records of Confederate soldiers from Maryland and Virginia. Spanish American War: Index to compiled service records.
The holdings of this archive are described in Guide to Records in the National Archives-Mid Atlantic Region (SSH 016.974 Un3g), and in numerous handouts available from the Mid-Atlantic Branch. For a list of the holdings of the National Archives in Washington, D.C., see Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 3 vols. (AE 1.108:G 94/ - Government Publications Department at the Free Library).
It is important to note that much of the information at the State Archives has been published in Pennsylvania Archives (LR974.8 P3821). It is always prudent to consult the guide listed below, then look at the Pennsylvania Archives before making a trip to Harrisburg.
The holdings of this archive are described in Guide to Genealogical Sources at the Pennsylvania State Archives (016.9293 P384g2 - SSH).
Pennsylvania State Archives, 350 North Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120 (717) 783-3281
The complete holdings of this archive are described in Descriptive Inventory of the Archives of the City and County of Philadelphia (016.9748 P53d - SSH) and Subject Index to the Photographic Collection of the Philadelphia City Archives (016.9748 P53de - SSH). Handouts that describe specific aspects of the holdings as well as indexes and finding aids are available at the archive.
Philadelphia City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. (215) 685-9401.
This office has birth and death records for all Pennsylvania counties since January 1906. The address is listed below.
For birth and death records prior to 1906, contact the Orphans Court at the County Court House in the county where the event occurred. Court house addresses can be found in Ancestry's Red Book (SSH 929.1072 R245b, 3rd ed. 2004). If the event occurred in Philadelphia from 1 July 1860 to 30 June 1915, contact the Philadelphia City Archives. If the event occurred in Pittsburgh from 1870 to 1905 or in Allegheny City from 1882 to 1905, write to the Office of Biostatistics, Pittsburgh Health Department, City-County Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
For marriage records, contact the Marriage License Bureau at the County Court House where the license was issued. For Philadelphia, contact the Marriage License Bureau of the Orphan's Court.
For divorce records, contact the Prothonotary at the County Court House where the divorce was granted. For Philadelphia, contact the Court of Common Pleas.
Department of Vital Records, State Department of Health, Central Building, 101 South Mercer Street, P.O. Box 1528, New Castle, PA 16101. (724) 656-3100.
Philadelphia Office, Department of Vital Records, 1400 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130. (215) 560-3054, call for a recorded message.
Philadelphia wills, administrations, and inventories, from the earliest times to the present. Indexes are available at Room 185, City Hall. The actual will and administration folders may be at City Hall or at 401 North Broad Street.
Wills prior to 1901 and the indexes to them are also on microfilm at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Register of Wills, City Hall, Broad and Market Streets, Room 185, Philadelphia, PA 19107. (215) 686-6269.
Orphan's Court, City Hall, Room 415, Broad and Market Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19107. (215) 686-2234.
Court of Common Pleas, Room 269 Prothonotary's Office City Hall, Broad and Market Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19107. (215) 686-6662.
Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Archives and Historical Collections, 1000 E. Wynnewood Road, Overbrook, PA, 19096-3001. (610) 667-2125 or Archdiocese Web Site.
Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center at the Balch Institute, 18 S. 7th Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19106-2314. (215) 925-8090. Jewish Genealogical Society of Philadelphia, JGSP Web Site.
Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, City Line and Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 19096. (610) 896-5000.
Episcopal Church - Diocese of Pennsylvania Headquarters, 240 S. 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19106. (215) 627-6434.
Lutheran Archives Center at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 19119. (215) 248-4616.
Haverford College Library, Quaker and Special Collections, Haverford College, Haverford, PA, 19041-1392. (610) 896-1161. Friends Historical Library, Swarthmore College, 500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA, 19081-1399. (610) 328-8496.
Historic St. George's United Methodist Church, 235 N. 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19106. (215) 925-7788.
Presbyterian Church (USA), Department of History, 425 Lombard St, Philadelphia, PA, 19147. (215) 627-1852.
For other religious denominations see the keyword index in the Encyclopedia of Associations (SSH 061 G131e7). Search under significant words; e.g., MENNONITE, SCHWENKFELDER, MORAVIAN, BRETHREN, etc.
For a nationwide list of religious repositories, see the Genealogist's Address Book (SSH 927.1025 B444g).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has the largest genealogical collection in the world. Much of this collection has been microfilmed and can be borrowed through this Family History Center. A catalog is available on site.
Also available on site is the International Genealogical Index, the Ancestry File, the Social Security Death Index, and a listing of servicepersons killed during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
Excellent guides to all aspects of this collection are available at all Family History Centers for a nominal fee.
One important factor that most guides do not mention concerns the difference between Philadelphia City and Philadelphia County. Both of these headings should be searched for relevant records.
See the LDS Family Search site.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Family History Center: Two locations in Philadelphia
Philadelphia Pennsylvania Metro, 2076 Red Lion Road, Philadelphia, PA. (215) 673-2770.
Hours: Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.; Thursday 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
West Philadelphia Pennsylvania, 3913 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA. (215) 382-2359.
Hours: Sunday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Closed major holidays
Attention: Please call before coming for update on hours
Note: These are not mailing addresses. Due to limited staff, Family History Centers are unable to respond to mail inquiries.