Print and Web Resources for Using Family Papers

Comprising this guide is a bibliography of resources to aid in research when using collections of family papers.  They provide further information on the types of records one might encounter in collections and how to interpret them.  Listed are print and web resources.


Print Resources

Business records resources:
Cole, Arthur H.  and Thomas C. Cochran. “Business Manuscripts: A Pressing Problem.” Journal of Economic History 5 (1945): 43-64. (call number Ta*.109 vol.1)

Wilson, Robert J. "Early American account books: interpretation, cataloging, and use." Technical leaflet 140, American Association for State and Local History, 1981. (call number Ta 2801 no. 140 1981)

William Dickson's student notebooks, kept for a course in bookkeeping in 1850-1851, are also particularly instructive and include "Daybook and Journal A, 1850" and "Index to Ledger A, Ledger B and Sales Book B." These exercises show exactly how each type of account book was maintained, and offer helpful practical examples. (HSP Collection 1987, Am .9161)

Land records:
Munger, Donna. B. Pennsylvania Land Records: A History and Guide for Research. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1991. REF/UPA F 149.M85 1991

Philadelphia history, and biographies of prominent Philadelphians:
Jordan, John W., ed.  Colonial Families of Philadelphia.  New York: Lewis Publishing Co., 1911. (call number UPA/Ph F 158.25 .J6 1911)

Morris, Charles, ed.  Makers of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: L. R. Hamersley & Co., 1894. (call number UPA/Ph F 158.25 .M87 1894)

Simpson, Henry.  The Lives of Eminent Philadelphians, Now Deceased.  Philadelphia: W. Brotherhead, 1859. (call number UPA/Ph F 158.25 .S61 1859)

Winslow, Stephen Noyes. Biographies of Successful Philadelphia Merchants.   Philadelphia: J. K. Simon, 1864. (call number UPA/Ph F 158.25 .W78 1864)  

And, if you're not accusomed to early penmanship:

Sperry, Kip. Reading Early American Handwriting. Baltimore, Md. : Genealogical Pub. Co., c1998. (call number REF Z 115.A5 S64 1998)


Web resources

Electronic History Services This website includes calculators that convert pounds sterling to dollars. By plugging in years and prices, you can also check price changes according to inflation

The Quaker Calendar  This demystifies the 18th-century Quaker calendar and describes the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendar. Included are explanations of the dates during which usage of these calendars overlapped.

Information on Governors of Pennsylvania


U.S. Congressional Biographies

This guide was developed and written by the Documentary Families Project staff (Joanne Danifo, Katherine Gallup, Sarah Heim, and Leslie Hunt).