Pennsylvania Research Guide Digital Download

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You'll love this if…
  • You're getting started tracing your ancestors in Pennsylvania
  • You want new ideas and resources to get past a Pennsylvania brick wall
  • Your genealogy search is focused mainly on Pennsylvania
Trace your Pennsylvania ancestors with the advice and resources in our State Research Guide! This four-page download includes:
  • a how-to article detailing Pennsylvania’s history and records, with helpful advice on tracking your family there
  • the best websites, books and other resources for Pennsylvania research, handpicked by our editors and experts
  • listings of key libraries, archives and organizations that hold the records you need
  • timeline of key events in the state's history
Here's a sampling of the helpful tips you'll get in the Pennsylvania guide:
  • In 1681, British King Charles II chartered the land to William Penn in repayment of a debt owed Penn’s father. The king dubbed the colony Pennsylvania, Latin for “Penn’s Woods.”
  • Statewide registration of births and deaths started in 1906, but marriages are still recorded by counties. You’ll find microfilmed copies of these records on FamilySearch and at the state archives. Check with the county for original records.
  • Pennsylvania didn't have any official state censuses, but it did take a "Septennial Census" every seven years from 1779 to 1863. Find surviving records on
Plus, each guide contains active web links for one-click access to every recommended online resource. You can view this PDF on your computer and print pages for reference.
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