Resources

Our Available Resources

Please use the sections below to navigate the various resources and explore your family’s genealogy. The sections are divided by resource type, and are accompanied by help text to give you context about how to best use the resource. If you have any questions about the provided resource, please don’t hesitate to contact us or attend an upcoming meeting.

Genealogy Etiquette

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Be polite and respectful when working with others

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Be careful when handling records of historical significance

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Be sure to appropriately credit the work of others (avoid plagiarism)

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Be prepared when asking others for assistance

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Respect other peoples’ privacy, being especially careful with information about living people

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Thank people for their help

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Report your findings honestly

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Don’t infringe on others’ copyrights

Genealogical Resources

Ethnic

  • AAGG – African American Genealogy Group

    The African American Genealogy Group was founded in January 1989 in response to the ever-increasing number of people who express a desire to research their family “roots.” AAGG is dedicated to the encouragement of and support for genealogy research and serves the African American community of Philadelphia and the Tri-State area.



  • GENUKI – UK & Ireland Genealogy

    GENUKI provides a virtual reference library of primary historical genealogical information of particular relevance to the UK and Ireland. It is a non-commercial service, maintained by a charitable trust and a group of volunteers. It is organized to make it easy to find online information related to given geographical localities (even down to parish level). It also provides an ever-expanding list of links to information on related sites.


  • Heritage Center Library

    An open-air folklife museum and research center dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Pennsylvania German folk culture. Highlights of the holdings at the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center Library include eighteenth and nineteenth century immigration records, the Pfälz emigration records from the Institut für Pfälzische Geschichte und Volkskunde in Kaiserslautern, Germany and the Germans to America Series 1840 to 1897.


  • American Swedish Historical Society

    Founded in 1926, this is the oldest Swedish museum in the United States. Its large facility includes twelve exhibition galleries, reference library, curatorial storage and archives, offices, museum store, and conference/function areas.


  • Welsh Society of Philadelphia

    This website, now located at philadelphiawelsh.org, contains information on all matters of interest to the Welsh community.

The Family History Guide

  • The Family History Guide

    The Family History Guide is a free learning, research and training website. It is a valuable resource for learning more about the four giant websites, Family Search, Ancestry, MyHeritage and findmypast. It includes help for beginners, research best practices, information on countries and ethnic groups. There are also training and coaching videos.

Fee-based Sites

  • Ancestry.com – Genealogy and Family History Records

    The largest subscription genealogy company in the world, Ancestry.com operates a network of genealogical, historical record and genetic testing websites. Functionality includes – building and storing your personal family tree, researching ever expanding domestic and foreign databases, DNA research and links to other genealogical websites including Newpapers.com and Fold3 for US Military records.


  • Fold3.com Military Records

    Features premier collections of original military records. These records include the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served in the military. Many of the records come from the U.S. National archives, The National Archives of the U.K. and other international records.


  • Heritage Quest

    A comprehensive treasury of American genealogical sources—rich in unique primary sources, local and family histories, and finding aids. It provides genealogical and historical sources for more than 60 countries, with coverage dating back as early as the 1700s. that can help people find their ancestors and discover a place’s past. The collection consists of five core data sets: 1) U.S. Federal Censuses – from 1790 through 1940, slave, veteran, and non-population schedules, and more related content. 2) Genealogy and local history books from over 28,000 family and local histories 3) Revolutionary War records with an estimated 83,000 application files from those who served in the Revolutionary War in all branches of the American military. 4) Freedman’s Bank Records, with more than 480,000 names of bank applicants, their dependents, and heirs from 1865–1874, offers data that can provide important clues to African American ancestors and the Reconstruction Era. 5) U.S. Congressional Serial Set records the memorials, petitions, private relief actions made to the U.S. Congress back to 1789.


  • MyHeritage

    An online genealogy platform with web, mobile, and software products and services that was first developed and popularized by the Israeli company MyHeritage in 2003. Users can create family trees, upload and browse through photos, and search billions of global historical records, among other features. The site also provides DNA testing. In 2015, the service had about 80 million users worldwide, with 35 million family trees. The website will provide excerpts from historical records and newspapers, or from other family trees, but in order to read full versions of those documents or confirm relationships, the user must have a paid subscription. Only paid users can contact other members.


  • Newspapapers.com

    The largest online newspaper archive of 7,300+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s with millions of additional pages added every month. Tutorials & video online to help you get started using the website.


  • NewspaperARCHIVE.com

    Search Historical Newspapers from the 1700s–2000s. Search 5.6 billion genealogy records including newspaper articles, obituaries, marriages, births, passenger lists, arrests, divorces, war casualties and more.

Fee-less Sites

  • Ancestry Library Edition (ALE)

    Ancestry Library Edition brings the world’s most popular consumer online genealogy resource to your library. It’s an unprecedented online collection of individuals from North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and more.  ALE is available at most local libraries in Pennsylvania and at LDS family history centers. Access from home is not usually available, but if you have a library close by, check it out. Unlike a personal, paid subscription to ancestry.com, it’s free. In the Philadelphia suburban county library systems (Bucks, Chester. Delaware, Montgomery), have it available.


  • FamilySearch Internet Genealogy Service

    FamilySearch is a genealogy organization operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch gathers, preserves, and shares genealogical records worldwide. It offers free access to its research and educational Wiki’s and functionality to build and maintain an online tree at FamilySearch.org


  • LDS Center, Valley Forge Branch, Broomall

    The Family History Center in Broomall is a branch of FamilySearch and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Staff provide personal assistance and offer how-to classes. The Center provides computers and free access to many subscription genealogy databases, including Ancestry.com, ArkivDigital Online, findmypast, HeritageQuest Online, as well as selected newspapers and other resources. Email broomallfhc@gmail.com to make an appointment for individual help or access to microfilms.

Genealogy Will Sample

  • Click here for More Information on a Genealogical Will

    If you have any type of collection of family photos, history, documents, journals, letters, vital records or written family history, you will want to see that your surviving family knows your wishes as to what happens to those items. If you have a family member who has already requested to take over those records and photos after your death, put everything in writing by using a ‘Genealogy Will‘. Here you spell it out, the person’s name, address, contact information etc. and what they are to get. If there are a couple relatives, name each and state what each person gets.

Glossary Of Terms

  • Genealogical Terms

    Genealogy, and by association, family history, almost has its own language. There are many terms that are unique to the field and many other more common terms that have specific meanings relating the genealogy. Definitions of some of the terms that may be unfamiliar to some who encounter them are included in the pages referenced below, by the beginning letter of the term.

  • Acronyms and Abbreviations

    There are many acroymns and abbreviated words unique to genealogy and family history research that may not be easily found in any other industry’s terminology.

Historical Societies

  • Daughters of the American Revolution

    The Daughters of the American Revolution is a lineage-based membership service organization for women who are directly descended from a person involved in the United States’ efforts towards independence.


  • Delaware County Historical Society

    Contains a research library, museum & archives including records from many county churches as well as all of the boroughs and townships in the county.


  • Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania

    Founded in 1892 and is one of the oldest genealogical societies in the United States. Its mission is to provide leadership and support in promoting genealogy through education, preservation, and access to Pennsylvania-related genealogical information. It maintains a small print library and provides a unique set of online records for its members.


  • Historical Society of Montgomery County

    Founded in 1881, the mission is to preserve, interpret and promote the history of Montgomery County, PA and to educate the public about the region’s ongoing cultural story. Its collections include family genealogy files, early deeds, tax records, maps, census records, photographs, scrapbooks, newspapers and more. In our collection vaults, we hold valuable objects from furniture, paintings, inventions, scientific instruments, and textiles.


  • Historical Society of Pennsylvania

    The collections range from genealogical and family papers to business and organizational records to collections of items such as photographs, postcards, sheet music, menus, and trade cards. HSP’s library contains a wealth of published material, including books, pamphlets, serials, and newspapers. Our collections span from the seventeenth through the twenty-first centuries. The Society houses some 600,000 books, pamphlets, serials, and microfilm reels; 20 million manuscripts; and over 300,000 graphics items, making it one of the nation’s largest non-governmental repositories of documentary materials.


  • Historical Society of Montgomery County

    Founded in 1881, the mission is to preserve, interpret and promote the history of Montgomery County, PA and to educate the public about the region’s ongoing cultural story. Its collections include family genealogy files, early deeds, tax records, maps, census records, photographs, scrapbooks, newspapers and more. In our collection vaults, we hold valuable objects from furniture, paintings, inventions, scientific instruments, and textiles.


  • Lower Merion Historical Society

    Dedicated to “Preserving Our Past For The Future.” This is accomplished by stewardship of local history, education of the community, preservation of historic resources and outreach to promote awareness of the cultural heritage of the Lower Merion and Narberth. The Society’s collections include a 2,500 book library; full text transcriptions of books and journal articles of local interest; photographs; an extensive vertical file and ephemera collection; videos; burial records; local antique maps and Main Line property atlases.


  • Radnor Historical Society

    Site includes digital archives of “Your Town and My Town” written by Emma C. Patterson for the Suburban & Wayne Times from 1949 to 1958. Each article is reproduced in full, in an easy to navigate searchable blog format. Site also includes atlases, maps and photographs of Radnor.


  • Society of the Descendants of Washington’s  Army at Valley Forge

    Founded in 1976, the Society is a historical and genealogical organization dedicated to preserving the memory of those men and women who entered the camp at Valley Forge anytime between December 19, 1777 and June 19, 1778 during the American Revolution. Membership is open to direct descendants of George Washington’s army, and the Society sponsors an annual Encampment gathering and various educational and charitable programs.


  • Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society

    Located in Elverson, PA, the Society’s mission is to collect, preserve and disseminate the history of the people, properties and events of Berks, Chester and Lancaster Counties. A quarterly newsletter, The Local Historian, is available to members and may be purchased in the Society store. The Society operates a local history reference and genealogy library (check online for hours and contact for appointments). Genealogy research in the collection is available on a fee basis.

Immigration

  • Castle Garden

    This free site offers access to a database of information on 11 million immigrants from 1820 through 1892, the year Ellis Island opened.


  • Ellis Island

    Access more than 25 million passengers and members of ships’ crews who entered the United States through Ellis Island and the Port of New York between the peak years from 1892 and 1924.


  • Immigrant Ship Records

    The Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild provides all sorts of information regarding the immigrant experience, including sites to research emigration, immigration and naturalization, 100+ passenger list sites, ethnic research, libraries and archives, passenger ship types, descriptions and images, and additional worldwide maritime information available both on-line and off-line.


  • TheShipsList Home Page-Passenger Lists, Passenger Ships, Shipwrecks

    TheShipsList website, online since August 1999, will help you find your ancestors on ships’ passenger lists. It also has immigration reports, newspaper records, shipwreck information, ship pictures, ship descriptions, shipping-line fleet lists, as well as hundreds of passenger lists to Canada, USA, Australia and even some for South Africa.

Libraries

  • University of Pennsylvania Library

    Holds more than 7.5 million volumes covering the full breadth of human knowledge. As a major university research library, their focus is on serving Penn’s current faculty, staff and students, but their collections are accessible to the general public on weekdays and by those holding a courtesy or alumni PennCard at other times.


  • Worldcat

    WorldCat is the world’s largest network of library content and services. WorldCat libraries are dedicated to providing access to their resources on the Web, where most people start their search for information.WorldCat.org lets you search the collections of libraries in your community and thousands more around the world.

    And… Don’t Forget your Local Library for access to electronic resources, local history and inter-library loan (not all materials are available online).


Local Philadelphia

  • Free Library of Philadelphia

    The various libraries that comprise the Free Library system hold extensive resources useful to genealogists. A Genealogy 101 guide on the home page details search strategies and specific types of resources and their locations. Call numbers are listed for print reference books. The guide also lists valuable Pennsylvania genealogical resources outside the Free Library.


  • Greater Philadelphia Geo History

    The purpose of this site is to gather geographic materials useful for the study of historic Philadelphia and its region. This site contains thousands of old maps, property atlases, city directories, industrial site surveys, and other items documenting the history and development of the city from the 1600s through today.


  • Philadelphia Clerk of the Orphan’s Court

    The Court’s jurisdiction extends to minors, incapacitated persons, decedents, trusts, principals and agents under powers of attorney, non-profit charitable organizations, cemetery companies, and marriage licenses. The Court appoints guardians for minors and incapacitated persons to handle their financial affairs and/or their health and safety needs. The Court hears disputes involving inheritance and estate tax and marital license issues. Questions regarding the administration and distribution of the decedents’, minors’ and incapacitated persons’ estates, testamentary and inter vivos trusts, special needs trusts, non-profit corporations organized for charitable purposes, as well as Appeals from the Register of Wills are adjudicated and resolved.


  • Philadelphia Historical Digital Image Library

    PHDIL is a collaborative effort between the Scott Memorial Library of Thomas Jefferson University and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. With more than 3,000 images, PHDIL includes a variety of photographs, art work and portraits that depict the history of medicine and everyday life in Philadelphia during the 19th and 20th centuries. Images are for research and private study.

National Government

  • Library of Congress Online Catalog

    Contains 17 million catalog records for books, serials, manuscripts, maps, music, recordings, images, and electronic resources in the Library of Congress collections. www.loc.gov


  • National Archives and Records Admin (NARA)

    NARA is charged with keeping and preserving the nation’s records. It houses important historical documents like the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights, as well as many collections of interest to family historians including: military records, immigration records, passenger lists, naturalization records, census records, photographs, and more



  • Philadelphia NARA

    Maintains the historically significant records of the Federal Agencies and Courts dating from 1789 to the present in: Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. These historical records are open to the public.


  • Social Security Death Index

    The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is a database of people whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration (SSA) beginning about 1962. It was created from the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File. Due to restrictions enacted in March 2014, new entries to publicly available versions of the Social Security Death Index will not be available for three years beginning on the date of an individual’s death. The Social Security Death Index can be accessed through a variety of websites including Ancestry, Family Search, Genealogy Bank, and Fold 3.

Religious

  • Bryn Mawr College Libraries (Quaker)

    Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Swarthmore College Libraries collaborate to develop and maintain collections that support their respective institutions and specific research interests. They provide online research guides for Quaker topics and Quaker Studies libraries may be contacted for assistance.


  • Haverford College Libraries (Quaker)

    Due to renovations of the Magill Library, Haverford’s Quaker & Special Collections will be closed from December, 2017 until sometime in 2019. Researchers may contact special@haverford.edu for more information about specific collections or access.


  • Historic Christ Church of Philadelphia Records

    Christ Church is an Episcopal church founded in Philadelphia in 1695 as a parish of the Church of England. Archives include the historic and ongoing records of Christ Church dating from 1695 to the present.


  • Irish Catholic Parish Records

    National Library of Ireland (NLI) from the four provinces: Ulster, Leinster, Munster & Connacht. NLI’s collection of Catholic parish register microfilms. The registers contain records of baptisms and marriages from the majority of Catholic parishes in Ireland and Northern Ireland up to 1880.


  • Lutheran Archives Center at Philadelphia

    The Northeast Regional Archives for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is a part of a network of nine regional and one national archives programs. Its service area includes Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, upstate New York, metropolitan New York City, and New England. Its holdings include personal papers of Lutheran clergy, church workers and theologians, archives of church organizations, and records of congregations which have closed or have chosen to deposit their records, or copies thereof, in the archives for more efficient access by researchers.


  • Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center

    Commencing in 1980 the Society began collecting, at the Schwenkfelder Library, genealogical data to supplement in cataloged clerical form the Genealogical Record of the Schwenkfelder Families published in 1923, edited by Dr. Samuel K. Brecht. A file of family supplement forms (numerically indexed) and of individual name cards (alphabetically indexed) was established. Descendants (not just members, but anyone who is a lineal descendant) are urged to provide their family information. If you can trace your family back to an Anders, Beyer (Byer / Beer / Beier), Dietrich, Dresher (Drescher), Groh, Hartranft (Herterranft), Heebner (Hübner/Heavener/Hevener), Heydrick, Hoffman, Hoffrichter, John, Krauss (Krause), Kriebel (Krieble / Kribel), Mentzel, Meschter (Meishter / Meisther / Master), Muehmer, Neuman, Reynald, Rinewalt (Reinewald / Reinwald / Reinwalt), Scheps, Schultz (Scholtz / Scholtze), Schubert (Shubert / Shoebart), Seipt (Seibt), Teichman, Wagner (Wagener), Warmer, Weigner / Wiegner, Weiss, Yeakel (Yeakle / Jäckel / Jäkel), then perhaps you are a Schwenkfelder descendant.


  • Swarthmore University Libraries (Quaker)

    Friends Historical Library holds archival, manuscript, printed, and visual records concerning the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) from their origins mid-seventeenth century to the present. With more than 45,000 books, pamphlets and serials, 60,000 photographs, 400 major manuscript collections, and 9,000 volumes of original meeting records, it is one of the outstanding research facilities for studying Quaker history.


  • JewishGen

    Our free, easy-to-use genealogy website features tens of millions of records, research tools, and other resources to help those with Jewish ancestry research and find family members.

Resources

  • 101 Best Genealogy Websites in 2017

    Family Tree Magazine has compiled top genealogical websites into a handy directory that makes it easy to find the sites for your family history goals: Just choose the category that matches your interests to see the best sites to visit. This site also has free genealogical forms, tutorials and more.


  • 19 Ways to Research Your Family Tree for Free

    19 Free genealogy internet sites for use to family researchers. Links to – Birth and marriage records, military records, ships passenger lists, census records, wills, photos and much more are available.


  • Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites

    Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet is a categorized and cross-referenced list of links for genealogical research. The site contains roughly 332,000 links in more than 200 categories.


  • FindaGrave.com

    World’s largest Grave Site collection. Search or browse over 170 Million cemetery records.


  • Genealogy Today

    Houses a unique collection of almost 7,000 records transcribed from original documents from a variety of sources, including funeral notices and cards, Masonic lodge rosters, school catalogs, telephone directories, insurance claims, directories, church member lists, prison records, criminal records, and ration books. Also contains several articles to help both beginning and more advanced genealogists.


  • Genealogy.com

    A source for accessing family history information originally posted on GenForum. GenForum houses over 14,000 online genealogy forums, including surnames, U.S. states, countries, and general topics. Also provides articles to help users develop genealogical research skills.


  • GenealogyBank 

    GenealogyBank.com is a subscription website housing databases that contains over two billion digitized records including U.S. newspapers, obituaries, US military records and historical documents for researching family history online.


  • Godfrey Library

    Located in Middletown, CT, contains over 200,000 books and periodicals including biographies, genealogies, state and local histories, city directories, cemetery and funeral records, church records military histories, newspapers and family bibles. The majority of the library’s material is focused on New England families and history, but has many books and periodicals relevant to other states and internationally. The capstone of the collection is the American Genealogical Biographical Index (AGBI), an index of more than 4 million names. An online AGBI search request. May be submitted and Godfrey researchers will locate the reference to the ancestor and e-mail the requestor a digital copy. The Library also maintains a Family History Center in Utah containing a vast repository of microfilms from around the world


  • Steven Morse One Step Pages

    One-Step web pages by Steven Morse. This site contains tools for finding immigration records, census records, vital records, and for dealing with calendars, maps, foreign alphabets, and numerous other applications. Some of these tools fetch data from other websites, but do so in more versatile ways than the search tools provided on those websites.


  • United States Vital Records  

    Another resource for finding vital records, vitalrec.com describes itself as the most comprehensive resource for locating vital records including United States Birth Certificates, Death Records & Marriage Licenses


State Government

  • PA: Vital Records

    This site, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, provides information and access to vital record certificates: birth, death, fetal death, marriage and divorce.


  • Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission

    This site provides information on Pennsylvania history, including military history, and information on farms and villages; it also provides information on the Pennsylvania Archives, including access to research topics available on line such as death indices, land records and maps.

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