HSP Encounters, a new digital resource comprised of an ever-growing number of genealogical and biographical databases, launched in August 2015. HSP Encounters is an ongoing project in which records and materials deemed of high research value are digitized and made available to HSP members online, in searchable form. Historical essays incorporated in the system describe each database, as well as providing historical context for the records it contains.
As of today, there are six databases available for research. HSP staff are currently developing additional databases to be released throughout the coming months.
Genealogical Scrapbooks & Research Folders (1607-1958)
- Contains information found in privately published family histories at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The individuals found in these histories usually are from the colonies and states east of the Mississippi River, and generally span from the 17th through the 19th centuries.
Oliver H. Bair Company Records (1920-1980)
- Contains information about deceased individuals drawn from funeral home files, which include substantial additional information on the deceased, usually including date of birth, date of death, place of death, age at the time of death, cause of death, the address or institution from whence the body was received, place of burial, occupation, spouse, and the names of parents.
Pennsylvania, Revolutionary War Battalions and Militia Index (1775-1783)
- Contains an index to the muster rolls of the Pennsylvania militia in the War of the Revolution. The records in this database list names, sometimes rank, and a volume and page reference to the source material, which include further rosters, muster rolls, histories, diaries, and other documents listing Pennsylvanian troops.
Philadelphia Home for Infants collection
- This collection includes records for the Philadelphia Home for Infants, including annual reports, board minutes, case histories, financial records, scrapbooks, articles, reports, publications relating to child welfare, and a few photographs.
Philadelphia Job Placement Office collection
- The Philadelphia Placement Office register contains the daily entries of a Philadelphia employment agency from 1898 to 1901.
- The 2,647 entries, listed chronologically over the course of 300 pages, convey a wealth of information about potential employees and employers. A typical entry includes the name, street address, and type of work or type of worker sought by either the employee or employer. Beyond this basic information, entries often provide ages, previous work experiences, family facts, and personal observations written down by the agent of the office.The records also include number of family members, race, place of birth, religious denomination, and, often, an observation on the cause of the family’s poverty.
The Home Missionary Society collection
- Contains one volume of visitation records from the Home Missionary Society of the City of Philadelphia (HMS). The volume contains 4,890 entries from 1883 to 1889 that document visits made to the homes of Philadelphia residents in need of assistance. In each of the cases, it was the woman of the household who was interviewed by the HMS to determine the needs of the family or individual. The HMS provided coal, groceries, cash, and apparel to thousands of people during this six-year period.
To access HSP Encounters remotely, click here or visit pal.hsp.org. Please login with your HSP website/PAL (Patron Access Link) username and password and select HSP Encounters from the database list.
Levels of Membership
- $75 Researcher
- $130 Patron
- $250 Patron Plus
- $500 Contributor
You may also choose to download our membership form which requires Adobe Acrobat Reader and fax to (215) 732-2680 or mail to: Membership, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Questions? Please call 215-732-6200 ext. 235 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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