HSP Launches Two New Databases for Genealogists, Scholars

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HSP Launches Two New Databases for Genealogists, Scholars

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) is pleased to announce the addition of two new databases to its HSP Encounters system: the Russian Brotherhood insurance claim records (1900-1953), and the Philadelphia public school records (1835-1907), the first of a twelve-volume set.

To genealogists, family historians, and scholars, these new databases are a boon for historical research into the activities of fraternal benefit societies and the experiences of public school children in early 20th century Philadelphia.

Between these two new databases, more than 12,000 additional records have been added to HSP Encounters, bringing the system-wide record count to over 400,000.

Access to these databases and to HSP Encounters is available to all on-site researchers at HSP. Remote access is available as a benefit of HSP membership. Already an HSP member? Begin your search here.

Names featured in the records of the Russian Brotherhood Organization and the Philadelphia public schools have also been added to HSP’s Discover Names Database. Freely accessible at discover.hsp.org, the Discover Names Database now features more than 250,000 unique names. For genealogists and family historians beginning their research armed only with an ancestor’s name, the Discover Names Database represents an ideal – and free – place to start.

About the Russian Brotherhood Organization (Claims 1900-1953)

The Russian Brotherhood Organization of the U.S.A. (RBO) is a non-profit fraternal benefit society, established on July 1, 1900, in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania. Its mission is to provide mutual protection from hardships for immigrants from Galicia and Carpathian Russia who settled in the anthracite region of Pennsylvania. The organization continues to serve second and third generations of these immigrants today.

The RBO database includes rich biographical information drawn from RBO’s death claims, disability benefit claims, claims for cash surrender, and other benefits from 1902 to 1952. Each claim consists of a packet of documents including insurance documents, certificates, related correspondence, and other papers. In addition to the basic information provided by the claims, the documents offer researchers glimpses into the life and struggles of the RBO members. 

About the Philadelphia public school records (1835-1907)

HSP holds twenty-four school registers, spanning the years 1828 to 1914, from three collections of Philadelphia public school records. The registers generally record the student’s name, age, date of admission, grade entered, parent or guardian’s name and occupation, and address. Many registers also record the previous school attended; promotion, transfer, or cause for leaving school; and whether the student had been vaccinated for small pox.

The schools were located in the neighborhoods of Southwark, Moyamensing, Society Hill, and the Northern Liberties. Registers now available for research include the Jefferson Boys’ Grammar, Girls’ Grammar, Combined Grammar, and Primary schools; the George Wolf Boys’ Primary School; the Ringgold Boys’ Grammar and Girls’ Grammar schools; the Moyamensing Boys’ School; Madison (Primary and Secondary) schools; and Primary School No. 3. More registers will be added to the Philadelphia public school records database throughout 2017.

About HSP Encounters

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 eleven 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.

Current databases available for research include:

  • Oliver H. Bair Company Company Records (1920-1980)
  • Genealogical Scrapbooks & Research Folders (1607-1958)
  • Home Missionary Society of Philadelphia (1883-1889)
  • Huguenot Society Applications (Arrivals 1517-1885)
  • Philadelphia Home for Infants (1873-1924)
  • Philadelphia Public School Records (1835-1907)
  • Philadelphia Placement Office (1898-1901)
  • Pennsylvania, Revolutionary War Battalions and Militia Index (1775-1783)
  • Russian Brotherhood Organization (Claims 1900-1953)
  • Tavern and Liquor License Records (1746-1863)

Access to HSP Encounters is available to all on-site researchers at HSP. Remote access is available as a benefit of HSP membership. Already an HSP member? Begin your search here.