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Pennsylvania Published Archives

Pennsylvania Published Archives

July 7, 2021

The Pennsylvania Published Archives were published to preserve records for the understanding and development of both the Province and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. They cover its 1682 founding to the War of 1812, with a few papers on the Mexican War. This resulted in 138 volumes divided into nine series, plus the Colonial Record series produced between 1836 and 1935.

The Colonial Records were the pre-series about records of governmental procedure, such as Provincial Council minutes (1682-1775), Minutes of the Committee of Safety (1775-1777), and the 1682 land warrants. The first series continues these records but includes other items, such as articles of the Dutch and the English land records of New York settlers, granting of Letters of Marque, and some militia lists.

Series Two departed from the official state documents to use outside sources for marriage records before 1810, which were found in churches of various counties, i.e., Philadelphia, Chester, and marriage licenses before 1790 (Volume 2) in the Provisional Secretary’s office. These are hard to find before 1885. These were also published separately: Swedish Colonies on the Delaware River, foreigners who took the oath of allegiance (1727-75), and foreign arrivals (1786-1808).

Series Three covers militia rolls, tax lists from 1765, plus pensioners from 1812-1832 and where they went. You will also find donation lands for Revolutionary War service and Old Rights. Series Four includes the Governor’s papers, 1681-1902. Series Five and Six are 1744-1790 militia rolls. One interesting note is the invalid regiment defined as men who were “unfit” to march but protected local areas, such as Philadelphia. Series Five has pension applications by county. Series Six has forfeited estates, the records of Egypt Reformed Church in Lehigh County, and election returns.

Series Seven is the Series Six index of the first 14 volumes, a total of more than 1 million names. It also has an index of Volume 15, Parts One and Two, plus the Mexican War enlistees (1846-47). Series Eight is a reprint of Benjamin Franklin’s Proceedings of the House of Representatives of the Province of Pennsylvania 1682-1776. The originals do not exist, but this is a reprint of the 1790 volumes.

Series Nine is drawn from 15 manuscript volumes in the Archives Division of the State Library. There is a listing of the Volunteer Corp. (brigades and divisions) of the War of 1812.

There are diaries and journals scattered throughout the series. Conrad Weiser wrote a journal between 1743 and 1756. The 1743 entries were a report of his travels among the Onondaga to explain the affairs of Pennsylvania and Virginia found in the Provincial Council Minutes.                                                                               

The Guide to the Published Archives of Pennsylvania has a subject and county finding list, a diary and journal index and maps, and a portraits and other illustration index.

The Midwest Genealogy Center has the hard copies of Series Two, Three, Five, and Six and the complete series on microfiche (MCA PS0263). You can also find it online in Fold3, familysearch.org, Wikipedia (Series One – Seven), and Archive.org.

Have you looked for your Pennsylvania ancestors in these records?

Candy N.
Midwest Genealogy Center

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