Genealogy research in Pennsylvania is not for the faint of heart.
This commonwealth has a rich and full history, and its records access and methodology of research are so unique, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania is hosting a week long workshop later this month to aid the brick wall ridden genealogist.
As this workshop is sold out and no streaming webinars are available to out of town attendees, here are some newly released online resources which may prove useful.
American Ancestors released a webinar earlier this year on Resources for Pennsylvania Genealogy. This webinar is presented by Ann Lawthers and is available for free on YouTube.
Notes and Queries: Historical, Biographical and Genealogical have recently been digitized and are available on Internet Archive. Spanning multiple years these publications are a great way to track down articles and information on your Pennsylvania ancestors.
Don’t believe you can find real treasure in these type of items? I know what you’re thinking. These queries might have a lot of information on people in Philadelphia, but not much on anyone else? Well, you’d be wrong about that.
The queries in each volume contain transcribed copies of bible records, will indexes, marriage lists, birth lists, lists of early families, obituaries, biographical sketches, military service narratives, personal reminisces, correspondence, and interesting notes on how family heirlooms were distributed among relations.
While source citations can be a bit spotty for some of the information, each entry is well written and easy to save in a digital format.
Some of these notes and queries are relational to a specific county, while others are focused on a specific surname or ethnic group. There is also an abundance of colonial and federalist era notes, which would be really helpful to anyone working on their applications for a lineage society like the DAR or SAR.
The obituaries are sometimes pulled from newspaper sources, which may or may not be available in another digital format. I also found images contained in a few of the obituaries, which are always something extra special! While I was looking through some of the obituary articles, I found a nice little write up for Mr. George Hoyer:
There’s a ton of information in this obituary. Name, weekday, date, and location of death. Notice anything else interesting? His wife’s maiden name is included in the article! That’s a brick wall buster for anyone working on Hoyer family genealogy!
Resources for Pennsylvania Germans
The Pennsylvania German Society has a long history of publishing their meeting proceedings, speeches, and correspondence, but did you know each issue contains genealogical information for their members? These vital records range from church baptisms and marriages to obituaries, passenger lists, cemetery burials, and accounts of shipwrecks at sea. The obituaries encompass a wide assortment of members, from doctors, lawyers, to regular working men and women. Each entry is wonderfully complete, and was probably submitted by friends or family, and contain exceptional genealogical information.
There is a full collection of Pennsylvania German Society publications available on Internet Archive. From my last checkup of this collection, there are over 50 volumes available for free through the site. There are some multi-volume sets, so make sure to search each entry carefully.
Extra Credit: If you have Pennsylvania German roots, a project called Wikitounges recorded a native Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch speaker reciting poems and phrases in both English and Deitsch. It’s a wonderful video, and I highly advocate anyone with this background check it out.
See You at the Library!