HSP Encounters is a digital resource comprised of an ever-growing number of genealogical and biographical databases. 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 nine databases available for research. The project is ongoing, with HSP staff identifying new records and materials to digitize and make available online in searchable form.
Access to HSP Encounters is available to all on-site researchers. Remote access is available as a benefit of HSP membership.
Tavern and Liquor License Records (1746-1863)
- Contains information found in petitions for tavern licenses about individuals who sought or had permission to retail liquor. Almost all of these records concern individuals who sought or had permission to sell liquor in Pennsylvania, from the counties of Philadelphia, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery, Northampton and Cumberland. A handful of petitions are by persons seeking permission to operate a tavern in New Hampshire or New Jersey.
Huguenot Society Applications (Arrivals 1517-1885)
- Contains information from applications for membership in the Huguenot Society of Pennsylvania. Most of the applicants are from Pennsylvania, but applicants from many other states are also represented. A typical database record contains the name of the applicant, his or her spouse, and the community and state (on occasion, foreign country) where he or she resides. The record also provides the name of the Huguenot ancestor or ancestors from whom the applicant is claiming ancestry, their place of origin, place of settlement, year of immigration, and often one to three of the most common surname lines connecting the applicant to the Huguenot ancestor.
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 email@example.com.
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