The Published Pennsylvania Archives

The Published Pennsylvania Archives consist of 132 vols. of early Pennsylvania government records that include military, tax, land, naturalization, marriage, and baptism records, ship passenger lists, and numerous other items of interest to genealogists and historians. The only effective way to get a handle on this useful set of published archives is to gather together as many of the items listed below, block out about four hours of time, then sit down in front of the complete set of PPA and start doing your homework.

The Archives are located in the Social Science and History Department (SSH) in nine series, LR974.8 P38 through 974.8 P3823a. Some sets are in closed reference; ask a librarian about these. If part of the set you are using is missing or damaged, a second set is located in the Government Publications Department (GPD) Gov Pub STATES P 38-8:. The Archives are also included in the database Footnote, available online only at the Parkway Central Library.

Reference List

GPA. Guide to the Published Archives of Pennsylvania. SSH Shelved with LR974.8 P382.

UPA. Use of the Published Pennsylvania Archives in Genealogical Research. SSH 016.9293 M832u.

GGR. Guide to Genealogical and Historical Research in Pennsylvania. SSH 016.9748 H671g4 3 vols.

SLP. Guide to the Genealogy / Local History Section of the State Library of Pennsylvania. SSH/STX 026.929.

PAK. Pennsylvania Area Key. SSH Shelved with 929.3748 C617.

AHA. Annual Report of the American Historical Association. 1904 Report (pp. 629-49) lists table of contents for 2d, 3d, and 5th Series. 1906 Report (pp. 412-18) lists volumes of 1st Series and outlines the Colonial Records. GPD SI 4.1:.

What to look for and where to find it

Overall history of PPA: GPA.

Broad overview of the contents of PPA by volume: UPA, GGR, PAK, AHA.

Detailed list of the contents of each volume of PPA: Tables of contents in each volume.

List of major PPA indexes that are part of the set: UPA, SLP.

Major indexes to PPA that are NOT part of the set:

Index to Pennsylvania's Colonial Records Series, a surname index to the Colonial Records. SSH 974.8 P38 Index.

Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants Awarded by State Governments is one consolidated index to nine state lists, including PA. This index gives access to vol. 7, pp. 657-795 of the 3rd Series. SSH Shelved with 929.3.


Alphabetical finding list by broad subject category: UPA, SLP, GPA.

Alphabetical finding list by PA county: UPA, GPA.

Alphabetical finding list to maps, portraits, and other illustrations: GPA.

Alphabetical finding list to diaries and journals: GPA.

Some things about PPA to keep in mind

In the back of GPA is a list of names (Sternfeldt to Stinor) that should have been included in the 7th Series, Vol. 5.

Some volumes of the PPA have been used more than the others and have been damaged beyond repair. As a result, reprints of these heavily used volumes have been issued under different titles. If you are using the PPA and see that a volume is missing, ask a librarian about it. They can steer you to the new title. E.g.,:

Names of Persons for Whom Marriage Licenses Were Issued in the Province of Pennsylvania Previous to 1790 is a reprint of vol. 2 of the 2nd Series, SSH 929.3 P384n.

Record of Pennsylvania Marriages Prior to 1810 is a reprint of vols. 8 & 9 of the 2nd Series, SSH 929.3 L649r.

Names of Foreigners Who Took the Oath of Allegiance to the Province and State of Pennsylvania 1727-1775, With the Foreign Arrivals, 1786-1808 is a reprint of vol. 17, 2nd Series, SSH 929.3 Eg53n.

Pennsylvania in the War of Revolution, Battalions and Line is a reprint of vols. 10 & 11, 2nd Series, SSH Shelved with 974.8 P.


Some volumes of the PPA are not shelved with the set for other reasons: brittleness, highly susceptible to theft, damage, etc. Ask a librarian about these missing volumes; they are usually stored elsewhere. A good example of this is the little known appendix to Series 3 which contains numerous loose diagrams of land holdings, only with GPD. Gov Pub STATES P 38-8:.

There is no fast way to learn how to use PPA. You simply must do your homework.