Pennsylvania Digital Archives

These databases comprise part of the Pennsylvania Digital Archives from the state government. We’ve only included those databases and documents which are most relevant to genealogists. All of them are free for you to use.

Records from the Port Wardens, 1763-1957

This collection contains visuals of financial documents such as cash books, daily logs, ledgers, journals, receipts, vouchers, payroll requests, and other related records maintained by the Port Wardens in Philadelphia. These documents primarily detail the income and expenses incurred by the Wardens while performing their responsibilities. Note: Only a portion of this collection has been digitized. To access the entire collection, please visit the PA State Archives.

Attorney Admission Records, 1742-1935, 1970-1977

This collection offers images showcasing the directories of attorneys who were granted the license to practice in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Every attorney, to get this permission, needed a sponsor. Details available include the names of both the attorney and their sponsor, along with their date of admission. Post 1903, the collection also mentions either the attorney’s county of residence or their place of admission. Within the initial volume (1742-1902), there’s a section titled “List of attorneys of the Supreme Court of the Province of Pennsylvania admitted prior to the Revolution.” This segment, derived from “Sheriff’s Deed Book B,” displays attorney names and their respective admission dates. For additional related information, refer to the provided link. Note: The complete collection isn’t fully digitized. To view the entire set, kindly visit the Pennsylvania State Archives.

Case Records Dockets, 1740-1795

This collection offers images of case records presented to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s Eastern District. The Appearance Docket typically captures the initial phase of a case, whereas the Continuance Docket lists actions taken significantly later after the initial proceedings. Dockets from different periods might vary in nature. From 1740 to September 1795, these dockets could be exclusively for Appearance or Continuance, or sometimes a mix of both. From December 1795 to 1829, you can usually find both types of dockets for each term. However, from December 1830 to 1837, only Continuance Dockets are available. After 1837, dockets are exclusively of the Appearance type. Details in these dockets can include court term, case number, involved parties and their legal representatives, originating county and lower courts, a timeline of submitted documents and proceedings, and the subsequent court decisions. For a deeper dive into specific cases, refer to the Appearance Papers, 1858-1879 (RG-033-A-13).

Historical Autograph Collection, 1683, 1767-1815

In 1925, specific documents were singled out from their initial series due to their unparalleled historical significance. This collection boasts autographs from eminent national and state figures, including luminaries like William Penn, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin, among others. Highlights from this series encompass a 1683 land grant, real estate inventory sheets for attainted individuals, court-related documents, depositions from figures like Benjamin Franklin and Henry Clay, court regulations, petitions, affidavits, and recognizances.

Foundational Pennsylvania Documents, 1681-1873

This collection showcases images of Pennsylvania’s earliest and most foundational records. Included are William Penn’s charter from King Charles II, the initial governance structures for the province, the deeds detailing land acquisitions from American Indian tribes, as well as copies of every state constitution and Pennsylvania’s edition of the federal constitution.

Inquest Papers of Coroners, 1751, 1768-1796

This collection consists of images detailing reports from inquests led by a County Coroner, assisted by a twelve-member panel who examined a body to determine the cause of death. These findings determined if criminal prosecutions were necessary and provided the foundational evidence for grand jury convictions if warranted. Key information includes the deceased’s name, death date and cause, inquest date, and the county of occurrence. Documented causes of death range from crimes (e.g., murder, assault) and health issues (e.g., poisoning, flu, burns) to accidents (e.g., drownings, falls from buildings or horses, or accidents with wagons). Other listed causes encompass suicide, natural occurrences, and “divine intervention.” Notable counties where inquests took place include Berks, Bucks, Chester, and Philadelphia, among others. Some reports also incorporate Sheriff’s and Grand Jury Inquests from Bucks County, death confirmations, and witness statements.

British Vessel Registry Logs, 1727-1776

This collection features images of official statements given in compliance with the “Act for Preventing Frauds and Regulating Abuses in the Plantation Trade,” established during the reign of William III. The details captured include the date of the statement, the declarant’s name and signature, vessel’s name, shipmaster’s name, vessel type and tonnage, its construction date and location, the current owner’s name, and a confirmation that “no foreign individual has any direct or indirect stake or interest in the vessel.”

Dual Records: General Court Motions & Divorce Docket, 1750-1837 (Divorces limited to 1800-1805)

Contained within this docket are images from two distinct sections. The first, “General Motions” (1750-1837), provides insights into the administrative operations of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. It catalogues decisions on general court procedures as well as specific cases. Topics covered range from the handling of specific writs, admission procedures for attorneys, the scheduling of court dates for different court divisions, to notable events like the deaths and appointments of key court personnel. One case of significant interest involves Eleazer Oswald, the publisher of “The Independent Gazetteer or the Chronicle of Freedom” in 1782.

The second section, “Divorce Docket” (1800-1805), presents copies of original divorce petitions and the subsequent court judgments. Information includes names of both spouses, grounds for the divorce (such as abandonment, adultery, or bigamy), referee names, and details on the court’s final decision.

Judgment Index Volumes, 1756-1896

This collection presents images from twelve indexed volumes. Each entry in these indices provides details of a judgment, including the case title, the court term during which the judgment was issued, the corresponding page number, and occasionally, supplementary details about the resolution.

Assorted Supreme and Superior Court Logs, 1743-1749, 1876-1943

This collection comprises records of diverse cases presented to Pennsylvania’s Superior or Supreme Courts. Each entry provides insights into the case details, including names of involved parties, case type, proceedings and their dates, judgment nature, and whereabouts of associated case documents. Notably, the collection features memorial addresses for Chief Justices Henry Greer and James P. Sterrett, as well as speeches during the unveiling of Justices’ portraits. Note: The entire collection isn’t fully digitized. For complete access, kindly visit the Pennsylvania State Archives.

Pledge Papers, 1754-1823

A recognizance is essentially a formal commitment made before a court or magistrate, where an individual pledges to undertake a specific action. If they fail, they are bound to pay a predetermined sum either to the court or another involved party. The primary purpose is to ensure the defendant’s presence to adhere to or face the court’s judgment. This collection showcases images of these pledge documents, comprising various writs like those of error, returned writs, appearance directives, writs sur certiorari, and writs ensuring peace, good behavior, and bail. The information detailed typically includes the plaintiff’s name, defendant’s name and address, the pledge amount, and stipulated duties. The collection also houses other documents like distringas to nisi prius, bail exceptions, court orders, and bonds. A highlight is the concluding folder, spotlighting a case from the United States Circuit Court (Third District) and another intriguing conspiracy case from the Commonwealth.

Sheriff’s Property Transfer Books and Attorney Admission Lists, 1796-1876 (Lists cover 1742-1776, 1778-1809 only)

This collection offers images of recorded property transfers, originally seized as part of a legal judgment or due to a lawsuit under the writ of fieri facias and subsequently auctioned publicly following a writ of venditioni expinas. Details captured within include names of the plaintiff, defendant, recipient, and the presiding Sheriff; the date of the deed’s formulation; property specifics like location, dimensions, neighboring property owners, and the date when the grant was acknowledged.

Maritime Bonds and Certifications, 1752-1775

This collection contains images of certificates presented by ship masters, detailing the ship master’s name, vessel ownership, and confirmation that no foreigners hold any ownership stakes in the vessel. Additionally, it includes bonds provided to the king by both the ship master and merchant, affirming the aforementioned details. Key information on the certificates encompasses the ship master’s name, vessel type, vessel name, anchorage, vessel’s tonnage, count of mounted guns, crew size, number of crew members recognized as subjects of His Majesty, the vessel’s destination, subsequent port of call, name of the naval officer overseeing the survey, and the certificate’s issuance date. The king’s bonds specify the bond date, ship master’s name, vessel name, bonding merchant’s name, bond amount, and bond’s affirmation date. Note: The entirety of this collection hasn’t been digitized. To explore the full collection, please visit the PA State Archives.

German Passenger Ship Records, 1727-1808

This collection offers images of the official logs detailing foreign passengers’ arrivals in Philadelphia, mandated to be maintained by ship captains from 1727. Initially, the intention was for captains to list names, professions, and places of origin for all incoming passengers. However, the majority of these primary lists, or “A Lists”, only show the names of adult male passengers. Notably, 25 captains recorded women and children’s names, three documented both male and female names excluding children, and 64 included passengers’ ages, even though it wasn’t a requirement.

The secondary lists, or “B Lists”, capture signatures from passengers pledging allegiance to the British Crown and showing loyalty to Pennsylvania’s proprietor. Ideally, this list would encompass all adult male passengers. However, it primarily contains the names of those who were physically present and healthy enough to sign at the courthouse on the day of arrival. For those absent post-1739, the Clerk of Council appended their names.

Lastly, the “C Lists” have the signatures of passengers who signed the Declaration of Fidelity and Abjuration, as mandated by the Act of May 10, 1729. This act obligated every male passenger, aged 16 and above, to pledge allegiance to the King and disavow the Pope’s authority within 48 hours of landing. The oath refuted the belief that subjects could overthrow or harm rulers excommunicated by the Pope. It emphasized that no external entity had religious or spiritual authority over Great Britain or its territories.

Habeas Corpus Petitions & Related Writs, approx. 1771-1863

These petitions were primarily directed to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, seeking the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. This writ would then grant the petitioner an opportunity to challenge the legality of their detention in court. The documents provide details like the petitioner’s name, the reason for detention (such as robbery, desertion, or not re-enlisting after monetary inducement), the filing date, and the court’s subsequent action. Additional documents in this collection include manumissions, enlistment papers, memoranda, witness lists, and more. Notably, the records may mention figures like jail overseers, Revolutionary military leaders, and even the Vice Council of France. A significant portion of the cases touches on military matters or the issue of slavery. There are unique documents from Rhode Island in this collection as well.

Another related series (RG-033-A-119) focuses on Writs of Habeas Corpus for Black Slaves and Indentured Servants from 1784-1787. Many of these writs shed light on the slave’s name, residence, master, the nature of the crime, and occasionally delve into details about the slave’s family, occupation, and transaction history.

Pass Application Records, 1776-1788 and Undated

This collection showcases records of applications made to the Supreme Executive Council by individuals seeking authorization to traverse enemy lines. While the details in each application may vary, most entries provide the date, petitioner’s name, and the reason for wanting to cross into hostile territory. Some documents offer a more comprehensive account, detailing the full name of the applicant, names of companions accompanying them, their birthplace, age, and specific events like the passing of a spouse or family details. The collection also features pre-filled forms signed by the Supreme Executive Council’s members. These forms specify the granted pass, fee for the pass, recipients, date of issuance, and any pass conditions—common restrictions included not coming back to the state or needing a subsequent reentry pass.

Privateer Commission Records, 1777

This collection contains images of contracts commissioning individuals as privateers, entrusted to seize British ships and their cargo on behalf of the Continental Congress. Each standardized contract has specific details filled in, such as the contract’s date, privateer’s name, vessel commander, vessel type, vessel name, vessel owner’s name and origin, armament details, crew count, and the penalty imposed on the privateer should they breach the agreement. Additionally, this collection includes a handful of handwritten applications from individuals seeking a privateering commission from the Continental Congress, alongside their finalized printed contracts.

Assorted Court Documents and Index, 1790-1883

This collection showcases images of a variety of documents submitted to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. It encompasses petitions, transcripts, land and street maps, copied opinions, affidavits, wills, court charges, and the 1842 Orphan’s Court Rules for Northampton County. Notably, it features a writ of error from the U.S. Supreme Court, sanctioned by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, in the 1860 case between The Pennsylvania Railroad Company and The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Additionally, there are documents related to the 1862 case, Charles Fatman v. Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. A series previously labeled as Reports, 1814-1885, is also part of this collection, which details reports from Auditors, Examiners, and Masters. Note: Not every record in this collection has been digitized. For a comprehensive view, please visit the Pennsylvania State Archives.

Claims Docket, 1778-1779

Images of cases heard and adjudged in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania against citizens accused of high treason. The cases involve claims made against the real and personal estates of the accused. Information given includes names of plaintiff, defendant, claimant, witnesses, and attorneys; amount of claim or debt; and date defendant acquired debt or property. Defendants include Oswald Eve, Joseph Galloway, and others. This type of legal action grew out of Chapter 784 of an Act of Assembly passes March 6, 1778, entitled “An Act for the Attainder of Divers Traitors if They Render Not Themselves by a Certain Day, and for Vesting Their Estates in this Commonwealth, and for more Effectually Discovering the Same and for Ascertaining and Satisfying the Lawful Debts and Claims Thereupon.” A supplement was passed March 29, 1779, as Chapter 832. Other chapters relating to divesting forfeited estates include Chapters 818, 829, and 854.

Claims Register, 1778-1779

This collection features images from cases decided by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania targeting individuals charged with high treason. These cases centered on claims asserted against the accused’s tangible and intangible assets. Details provided encompass names of the plaintiff, defendant, claimant, witnesses, and legal representatives; the claim’s value or debt amount; and the date when the defendant incurred the debt or secured the property. Notable defendants include Oswald Eve and Joseph Galloway, among others. These legal proceedings emerged from Chapter 784 of the Act of Assembly passed on March 6, 1778, titled “An Act for the Attainder of Divers Traitors if They Render Not Themselves by a Certain Day, and for Vesting Their Estates in this Commonwealth, and for more Effectually Discovering the Same and for Ascertaining and Satisfying the Lawful Debts and Claims Thereupon.” An additional provision was introduced on March 29, 1779, as Chapter 832. Related chapters addressing the reassignment of confiscated estates are Chapters 818, 829, and 854.

Divorce Records, 1786-1815

This collection showcases images from divorce proceedings that took place in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s Eastern District. The documents typically consist of divorce petitions (also known as libels), subpoenas related to divorces, interrogatories, witness testimonies, and the final divorce decrees. Typically, the initiating spouse would file a petition in the Supreme Court, citing a marital wrongdoing by the other spouse and seeking the Court’s intervention to mandate the accused spouse’s presence for adjudication. Following this, the Court would command the appearance of the accused partner. Subsequent steps involved crafting questions, recording statements from both sides, and finally, the Court would pronounce its verdict. The records provide details like the couple’s names, their marriage date, court term, case identifier, and the underlying reason for the divorce.

Seized Estates Register, 1777-1790

This collection showcases images from records of properties confiscated in various Pennsylvania counties due to their owners’ loyalty to the British during the American Revolution. Entries typically indicate the date the document was received, the type of order or notification, the land’s size, and its respective county. Often, the records provide the name and residence of the implicated individual and sometimes even their profession. They also detail property boundaries, either described or illustrated, inventories of seized assets (including the date of seizure), and the estate’s subsequent allocation.

When land was sold as part of these forfeitures, the documentation captures the buyers and sellers, involved intermediaries, and the appointment of appraisers to assess properties seized from convicted individuals by the Council’s decree. The collection also encompasses petitions from residents who felt they were wrongly accused of treason or faced the threat of state land confiscation. Reports and illustrations from agents detailing resurveyed confiscated properties are also included.

Criminal Case Registers, 1778-1828

This collection showcases images of criminal proceedings from various counties, including Allegheny, Bedford, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lancaster, Luzerne, Lycoming, Montgomery, Northampton, Northumberland, Philadelphia, Washington, Westmoreland, and York Counties. The records detail information such as session dates, identities of the defendant, witnesses, judges, sheriff, and both grand and petite jurors. They cover an array of offenses, from minor infractions to high treason, with some crimes specifically relating to Black individuals. Recorded outcomes consist of the verdict and subsequent sentence. The prosecuting parties were either the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the United States, referred to as “Republica”.

Vessel Arrival Records, 1789-1794

This collection features images of ship arrival logs maintained by Captain Nathaniel Falconer, the Health Officer at the Port of Philadelphia. The records detail the date of arrival, vessel characteristics, the vessel’s name, its commander’s name, the last port of departure, records of ship visits with the associated fees, and the count of passengers and servants aboard. Note: The Pennsylvania State Archives offers digital access to a diverse range of historical documents. Some contents might be seen as inappropriate based on today’s standards. While the Archives doesn’t support the viewpoints presented in these documents, they are made available to support academic research.

Marriage Bonds for Philadelphia County, 1784-1786

Entries usually give the name and residence of the married couple, the date and amount of bond paid, and the name of any co-bonder.

Military Records, 1775-1790

This collection presents images detailing the involvement of men from Bucks County, either as Associates or Non-Associates, indicating their association with military services. The records mention individuals from various counties, the days they were absent from their company, and sometimes include specific dates.

Additionally, there are General Returns from the Militia (Continental Line), providing information on Pennsylvania’s militia units. These returns offer insights into the origin of the regiment members, their commanders’ names, officer listings, and details on the number of men present for duty, sick, or on special assignments. The documents also highlight where regiments were positioned in the field.

Lastly, the Militia Returns (1777-1790) section is a compilation of records from various Pennsylvania counties, submitted to the Supreme Executive Council for official recording and commission issuance. They encompass election results for company officers, specifying election dates, officers elected, and election judges. The documents also list ranked field officers, detailing their respective ranks and origins. Finally, there’s a listing of men summoned for militia duty, detailing company names, commanding captains, and the roster of men in each company.

Diverse Records of the Supreme Court of Nisi Prius, 1786-1800

After clearing out the State House basement in Philadelphia in 1895, these historical records were given to the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. They were later collated and stored with the Pennsylvania State Archives by the Society. The collection comprises several volumes, showcasing an array of Supreme Court documents. These range from Court Minutes, Coroner’s Inquests, and Proceedings in specific Cases to registers of Marriages, Public Housekeepers, and Tavern License issuances. Of particular note is Volume 45, labeled “Pa. Sunday Court Records,” which provides insights into Fines, Forfeits, Tavern License records, and lists of Public Housekeepers and Marriage Licenses. Intriguingly, a few of these records hail from the pre-Revolutionary era, referencing George III as the sovereign.

Documents on Forfeited Estates Due to Treason, 1778-1791

This collection contains images of initial “proclamations” drafted by the Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth that identify individuals charged with high treason. Depending on the outcome, these individuals were either released, declared outlaws, or put on trial. If they were declared outlaws or convicted, their assets were seized by the Commonwealth. The collection encompasses various document types, including lists of those who either turned themselves in or were released, declared outlaws, or found guilty of major offenses; claims and decrees against confiscated properties; public newspaper announcements regarding the accused; recognizances; and an alphabetical record of those believed to be involved in high treason and serious crimes. (For detailed court actions concerning claims on seized estates, refer to RG 033-A-29 Claims Papers Relating Largely to Confiscated Estates, 1778-1791).

Revolutionary War Veteran Claims and Associated Documents, 1786-1789

This collection offers images of pension applications made by Revolutionary War veterans to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. As per the 1785 Statutes at Large, such petitions were typically lodged in the county Orphans’ Court. The court mandated rigorous evidence of disability. Both a commanding officer and the associated surgeon were required to vouch for the soldier’s service and the injury in sworn statements. After deliberations, the Orphans’ Court forwarded its decision to the Comptroller-General for final recording. Annually, the Assembly called for a review of these proceedings. The entire system underwent a change in 1787. The Supreme Court was designated as the principal authority, empowered to scrutinize any pension-related case in its regular or county-based sessions. Importantly, claims under these acts could only be made between 1785 and 1790, setting a five-year window for veterans or their widows.

Applications may disclose details like the soldier’s name, regimental affiliation, rank, residence, job, and age. Depositions generally include the commanding officer’s name, battle details, and nature of injury. Additional documents, such as commission and recruitment papers, may also be present. Relevant details might also be sourced from the respective county Orphans’ Court Dockets. Additional related records can be found in State Archives series like RG-2 (Auditor General Records), RG-4 (Comptroller General Records), RG-7 (General Assembly Records), and RG-28 (Treasury Department Records), with specific details on Revolutionary War pensions.

Habeas Corpus Writs for Black Slaves and Indentured Servants, 1784-1787

Extracted from the larger collection (RG-033-A-118) titled “Writs of Habeas Corpus and Petitions, 1771-1863,” these documents were registered with the Supreme Court, Eastern District. They offer a range of information varying per writ. Many writs disclose the name of the slave, their residence, and their master’s name. Some even provide insights into family ties and specify details such as the slave’s workplace and purchase date. Note: The entire collection is not available digitally. For complete access, please visit the Pennsylvania State Archives.

Intention Declaration Dockets, 1819-1906

This collection contains images of dockets with oaths taken before the Prothonotary of the Supreme Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. These oaths solidify an alien’s commitment to becoming a U.S. citizen and their renunciation of any previous national loyalties. For the majority of the series (from September 24, 1832 to September 24, 1906), the Declarations provide details like the name, age, original country, prior monarch, and the alien’s signature. Also recorded are the date they appeared in court and whether their residence was within Philadelphia. These records are presented in standardized forms with blank spaces for handwritten entries.

However, the first volume (July 18, 1819 to August 11, 1832) stands out in terms of its content and format. Here, alongside the Declarations, separate oaths of Allegiance are intermixed. Initially, the Declaration of Intention only signified an individual’s desire to reside in Pennsylvania, still recognizing their allegiance to their former monarch. The distinct Oath of Allegiance was the official renouncement of any foreign ties, indicating the pursuit of U.S. citizenship. Sometimes, both the Declaration and Oath appear consecutively for the same individual, but in some cases, only one is present. This discrepancy could suggest that the missing statement was recorded in a different court, or the entire naturalization process was not completed.

For the first volume, Declarations detail the alien’s name, birth country, age, the monarch they initially swore allegiance to, immigration date, arrival port, place of residence, intended settling location, and the Prothonotary’s signature. It may also list family members’ names and birthplaces. The Oaths of Allegiance, for those aiming for citizenship, only show the alien’s name, original country, signature, the monarch they’re renouncing, and the names of the court or Justice and Prothonotary they presented before.

Court Dockets, Including Lancaster and Chambersburg Districts, 1800-1961

This collection features images from the case records presented to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s Middle District. Each case entry might provide details such as involved parties’ names, a concise case summary, its origins, how the case reached the Supreme Court (either through writ of error, certiorari, or appeal), the filing location, and associated court fees. Post-1810 entries also include the court’s final verdict. Moreover, these dockets list the court’s session locations and the presiding justices’ names. They also capture other court activities, such as adjournment motions, set payment regulations, and various court actions.

Execution Records, 1786-1873

This collection showcases images of cases from the Supreme Court where the court’s judgment was implemented to ensure debt repayment. The records offer details such as the names of the plaintiff, defendant, and their respective lawyers; associated costs for the suit and court; and a description of the judgment as well as the court’s measures to retrieve the costs.

Equity Case Logs, 1836-1875, 1877, 1880

This collection presents images of equity records from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Typically, entries in these logs started one or two terms prior to the case’s presentation before the court. Details in the entries include names of the defendant, plaintiff, their attorneys, and witnesses, along with dates and a catalog of documents submitted or decisions made. Some cases from this collection can be found indexed under RG/033/A/42- Ejectment Index, spanning 1857-1874.

Reference Index for Declaration of Intention Logs, 1832-1901

This collection offers images of a supplementary index for the 11-volume series RG/033/A/35- Declaration of Intention Logs, spanning 1819-1870, 1873-1875, and 1881-1906. This external index covers Volumes 2-10 and portions of Volume 11/12. Notably, Volume 1 contains its own embedded index, while entries in Volume 11/12 post December 2, 1901, seem to be without an index. Each entry in this reference guide provides volume and page numbers, directing users to the specific location of an individual’s Declaration.

Reference to Naturalization Documents, 1794-1824, 1842-1868

This collection offers images referencing RG-033-A-75 – Naturalization Documents spanning 1794-1819 and 1821-1868, maintained by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in the Eastern District. The details in Volume 1 (1794-1824) usually cover the name of the foreign individual, their official citizenship date, and occasionally the date they declared their intention to naturalize. Meanwhile, Volume 2 (1842-1868) lists the names of foreign nationals alongside the unique numbers of their citizenship petitions, noting that not all these applications were approved.

Naturalization Register, 1812-1867, primarily 1830-1855

This collection features images detailing individuals who approached the Supreme Court with petitions for naturalization. While the records of intent range from September 12, 1812, to November 2, 1867, and the actual dates of naturalization span September 12, 1818, to November 27, 1856, a significant portion of these entries is concentrated between 1830 and 1855. Each entry typically provides the petitioner’s name and nationality, the voucher’s name, the date of their declaration, and the date of their naturalization.

Naturalization Documents, 1831, 1840-1841, 1844-1856, 1862, 1867

This collection showcases images of two primary documents: naturalization petitions and declarations of intent. The petitions typically detail the alien’s name, place of origin (be it country or city), prior ruler, and duration of stay in the U.S; the names of any endorsers; and the date and venue where the declaration of intention was lodged. Declarations of intention filed in Allegheny County usually provide the immigrant’s name, their homeland, the ruler they are renouncing, and the date and site of the declaration. Conversely, declarations from other western counties might also mention the petitioner’s birth date and place of birth. Even though a significant portion of these records span from 1840-1856, a few entries are from 1831, 1862, and 1867.

Record of Pardons, 1791-1877

This collection showcases images of pardons issued to individuals found guilty of various offenses. The details typically include a concise case summary, the date the pardon was granted, and data on any fines, including the amount and when it was waived. Note: Only a portion of the records in this collection have been digitized. For a complete view, please visit the PA State Archives.

River Pilot Apprentice Logs, 1806-1931, 1942

This collection features images of apprenticeship agreements for river pilots. The records typically indicate the date of the agreement, the apprentice’s name, the name of the guiding pilot, the duration of the apprenticeship specified in years and months, and the specific terms of the agreement. Note: Only a selection of the records in this collection has been digitized. For a comprehensive view, please visit the PA State Archives.

Records of Anthracite Mine Certifications for Foremen and Assistant Foremen, 1886-1968

This collection presents images of three distinct certification documents for mine foremen and their assistants: certificate ledgers, certificate receipt books, and official registers.

  1. Certificate Ledgers (1886-1923 for foremen, 1891-1940 for assistants): These house copies of issued certificates. Typical data includes certificate number, issuance date, applicant details (name, address, age, birthplace), their mining service duration and type, and associated report details.
  2. Certificate Receipt Books (1938-1963): These mainly have the certificate’s receipt portion. Details include the applicant’s name, age, birthplace, service duration; the evaluating board’s identity; certificate issuance details, and the test score of the applicant.
  3. Official Registers: These catalog the name, address, birthplace, and age of applicants, along with the report and certificate details and the applicant’s mining service background. Registers for foremen span 1923-1955 and for assistant foremen, they cover 1923-1968.

Please note: A complete set of records has not been digitized. For full access, it’s recommended to visit the Pennsylvania State Archives.

Bituminous Mine Certification Records for Fire Boss Examiners, 1912-1963

This collection offers images of certification documents that align with the training, registration, and assessment criteria for foremen, as dictated by the act passed on June 9, 1911.

  • Certificate Volumes (1912-1923): The initial nine volumes provide certificates detailing the examiner’s name, birthplace, age, service experience, certificate issuance details, and the Chief of the Department of Mines’ name.
  • Register Volumes (Post-1923): From 1923 onward, the format shifts to registers, indicating the mine district number, examiner’s details (name, address, birthplace, age), service history, certificate details, and associated report information.

Additionally, the final volume incorporates RG/045/B/5- Bituminous Mine Certification Records for Electricians for 1962-1963.

Kindly note: The entire series hasn’t been digitized. For a comprehensive view, consider visiting the Pennsylvania State Archives.

Bituminous Mine Certification Records for First Grade Foremen, 1903-1963

This collection showcases images from certification books maintained for foremen, ensuring the welfare and safety of those working around bituminous coal mines.

  • Certificate Format (1903-1923): During this period, certificates detail the foreman’s name, mine district, birthplace, age, service history, certificate details, and the Chief of the Department of Mines’ name.
  • Register Format (Post-1923): Post-1923, the records transition to a register style with internal indexes. These registers display the mine district number, the foreman’s comprehensive details (name, residence, birthplace, age), service duration and nature, certificate data, and associated report specifics.

Moreover, the final volume integrates Bituminous Mine Certification Records for Second Grade Foremen from 1903-1963, specifically for the 1962-1963 span.

Please be aware: The entire collection hasn’t been digitized. To view the complete set, it’s recommended to visit the Pennsylvania State Archives.

License Applications for Moneylending – Consumer Credit & Small Loans, 1915-1933

This collection features images of applications submitted to the Department of Banking for permissions to operate as moneylenders within the Commonwealth. Details within each application include the filing date, corporate name, business location, details of incorporation (date and place), director names, capital investment amount, evidence of foreign ownership, and records of prior convictions. All applications come with signatures and are duly sworn in and notarized.

Note: The digitalization of this collection is incomplete. Only records up to May 14, 1933 are available for research. Documents post this date have access restrictions. For more details or inquiries, kindly reach out to the Pennsylvania State Archives.

Inmate Discharge Records: Descriptive Dockets, 1873-1957

This collection contains images of dockets detailing the discharge of inmates from the Western State Penitentiary. Information within each record includes the inmate’s registration number, name, county of conviction, age at discharge, race, gender, committed crime, sentencing date, sentence duration, discharge date, method of discharge, any detentions for misconduct costs, days credited under commutation laws, total prison stay duration, instances of punishment, prison occupation, educational pursuits while incarcerated, discharge weight, earnings during imprisonment, intended residence post-release, mental and physical health status, and days spent sick during incarceration.


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