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- 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
- 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
- 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 Ancestry.com.