The Philadelphia Story

So what's the story concerning Philadelphia genealogy research?
Born in Philadelphia and having spent 30 years doing both my own family tree and
professional research, I have in depth knowledge of all the ins and outs of Philadelphia research. I have attempted on this page to present a history of Philadelphia and its neighborhoods and to provide those researching their Philadelphia ancestors with names, addresses and phone numbers to most sources of records for research in this city. There is a great wealth of genealogical information to be discovered in Philadelphia. Unlike many other cities and towns across the United States, Philadelphia started keeping records fairly early. Birth, death and marriage records are available from 1860 on, with well kept church records, wills and deeds supplying records from earlier dates.

Please E-mail me about any broken links, thanks!

The History of Philadelphia and Its' Neighborhoods

This page contains valuable information for the genealogist who is interested in learning about the neighborhoods their ancestors lived in. It details the birth, industries and history of each early Philadelphia neighborhood, borough, and township which all later became part of the City of Philadelphia proper.

Watson's Annals of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania:

A Collection of Memoirs, Anecdotes, and Incidents of the City and Its' Inhabitants and of the Earliest Settlements of the Inland Part of Pennsylvania from the Days of the Founders. Intended to Preserve the Recollections of Olden Time, and to Exhibit Society in its Changes of Manners and Customs, and the City and Country in their Local Changes and Improvements. by John F. Watson Published in 1857, Written circa 1830-1850

Vital and County Records

City & County of Philadelphia (Philadelphia City Hall)
Broad & Market Sts.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Wills and administrations, deeds, marriage records 1860 through present, divorce records

Philadelphia City Archives
3101 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19108
Birth, death and marriage records 1860 thru 1915. Phila County court naturalization records, city directories, deeds and more.

Department of Health; Division of Vital Records
1400 West Spring Garden St., Room 1009
Philadelphia, PA 19130-4090
Post June 1915 birth and death records

Historical & Genealogical Societies

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107-5699
Phone: 215-732-6201
Fax 215-732-2680

Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania
215 S. Broad St., 7th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107-5325
(215) 545-0391
(215) 545-0936 (fax)
The GSP Research Room at 215 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, has closed effective 1 March 2007, and moved to its new location at HSP, 1300 Locust Street.

Chestnut Hill Historical Society
8708 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118

Historical Society of Frankford
1507 Orthodox Street
Philadelphia, PA 19124

Germantown Historical Society
5501 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19144-2291

University City Historical Society
40th & Woodland Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Federal Records

National Archives-Mid Atlantic Region
9th & Market Streets, Room 1350
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Census and naturalization records for Pa. Census for entire US. Phila./Baltimore ships passenger lists, Civil War indexes and numerous other Federal records

Religious Resources

American Baptist Historical Society
P.O. Box 851
Valley Forge, PA 19482

Church of the Brethren
Rev. Ronald Lutz
6611 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19144

Catholic: Phila. Archdiocesan Historical Research Center
Contact person: Christine Friend
1000 E. Wynnewood Rd.
Wynnewood, PA 19096-3001
Pre 1900 Roman Catholic baptismal and marriage records. $15 fee for the first hour of research, $10 for each additional hour of research requested. A search will be made of several churches if an address or general location within the city can be provided. For post 1900 records write to the individual churches. WARNING: When writing for a search, please be aware that the results of the research could take as much as 6 months or longer to receive, due to a never ending backlog of requests from across the nation!

Episcopal Diocese of PA Headquarters
240 South 4th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Evangelical and German Reformed Historical Society
555 W. James St.,
Lancaster, PA USA 17603
(717) 290-8734

Friends & Quaker:
Haverford College Library: Quaker Collection
Haverford College
Haverford, PA 19081
Swarthmore Friends Historical Library
Swarthmore College
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081
Phone: (610) 328-8496
Fax: (610) 690-5728

Latter Day Saints
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Family History Center
2072 Red Lion Road
Philadelphia, PA
(215) 673-2770
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
721 Paxon Hollow Rd Broomall, PA
(610) 356-9710
Vital records, church and historical records for US and International

The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
7301 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19119-1794
Tel. (215) 248-4616
(800) 286-4616
Fax. (215) 248-4577

Germantown Mennonite Historic Trust
Phone: 218-843-0943
Fax: 215-843-6263

Mennonite Connections on the World Wide Web

Methodist Episcopal Historical Center
In connection with St. Georges Methodist Episcopal Church
326 New Street & 235 N. 4th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Contact: Brian McCloskey to make an appointment to schedule your research

Moravian Archives
41 West Locust Street
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018
United States of America
Phone: (610) 866-3255
Fax: (610) 866-9210

Presbyterian Historical Society
425 Lombard Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Reformed Church In America (Dutch Reformed)
Each congregation holds it's own records. Most former Philadelphia congregations are now located in the suburbs except:
Talmage Memorial Fourth Reformed Church
Rev. Barry A. Traver
1552 Seville St.
Philadelphia, PA 19128

Ethnic Groups, Societies and Musuems

African American Genealogy Group (AAGG)

African American Research and Resources

Afro American Historical & Cultural Museum
7th & Arch Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19106

American-Swedish Historical Foundation
1900 Pattison Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19145

Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies
18 S. 7th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

German Society of Pennsylvania
611 Spring Garden Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Phone: 215-627-2332
Fax: 215-627-5297

The Huguenot Society of Pennsylvania Records
1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-5699

Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia
Metings Held at Congregation Keneseth Israel
8339 Old York Road (US Route 611 and PA Route 73)
Elkins Park, PA 19027

National Museum of American Jewish History
55 N. 5th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123

Polish American Cultural Center
308 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

The Scotch-Irish Society of the United States of America
P.O. Box 181
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010


American Philosophical Society Library
105 S. Fifth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Free Library of Philadelphia
19th & Vine Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Temple University
Special Collections: Urban Archives
13th & Berks Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Van Pelt Library
University of Pennsylvania
3420 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

Civil and other War Libraries, Museums and Societies

Civil War Library & Museum
1805 Pine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library
4278 Griscom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19124-3954
(215) 289-6484
Open Wednesady only until 3pm, staffed by volunteers, call ahead before you go

Lodges, Clubs, Legions and Secret Societies

I.O.O.F. - The Sovereign Grand Lodge Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Grand United Order of Odd Fellows (African American)
12th & Spruce Sts.
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Masonic Temple- Grand Lodge F &AM of Penna (Masons)
One North Broad St

Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States
1805 Pine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19203

Miscellaneous Libraries and Societies

College of Physicians of Philadelphia Museum and Library
19 S. 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Library Company of Philadelphia
1314 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Philadelphia Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society
100 N. 17th Street
P.O. Box 58153
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Society of Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence
325 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Welcome Society of Pennsylvania
316 South Juniper Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Founded in 1906 for descendants of passengers on the ship "Welcome"


Churches (Under Construction)

City Directories

1861 McElroys Philadelphia City Directory

Seachable Database! With the generous support of the Abraham Lincoln Foundation, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia has undertaken the task of a pilot digitization of various resources that document the city of Philadelphia and its inhabitants around the time of the Civil War. The City Directory was an obvious choice. Work in Progress! "A" through "N" of the 1861 directory is searchable, and the entire directory may be viewed as images.


Professional Researchers in Philadelphia & Vicinity

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This page created on a Apple Power Mac, March 28, 1998
Site Owner: Loretta Wallace

Copyright by Loretta Wallace, March 1998-2009, all rights reserved.
This page may be freely linked to but contents may not be copied for publication
or used on another website without express consent of Loretta Wallace.

Last updated, 21 September 2009