HSP Partners with Ancestry.com to Post 7 Million Records Online

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) has partnered with Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, to make our collection more accessible to researchers. As part of this partnership, Ancestry.com has digitized more than 7.5 million Pennsylvania vital records from HSP’s collection, including church, cemetery, and undertaker records from every county in the state from 1708 through 1985. All of these records are available online for free for members of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, visitors to HSP’s library at 1300 Locust Street in Philadelphia, and Ancestry.com subscribers.

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania and Ancestry.com will host a joint event “HSP Ancestry Day” on Saturday, March 3, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. This full day of workshops is designed to help researchers start or hone their genealogical skills. Attendees will learn tips for navigating Ancestry’s website and will learn more about HSP’s Vital Records database.

Registration for HSP Ancestry Day is $30 for HSP members and $40 for nonmembers. Click here for more information or to register.

HSP’s Pennsylvania Vital Records database includes 7.5 million documents from churches, funeral homes, cemeteries, newspapers, and historical societies, as well as personal records and other various sources. The records, which come from every county in the state and dozens of churches and denominations, include a total of more than 16 million names. This comprehensive collection includes details about the lives of everyday Pennsylvanians as well as those who helped forge the state’s rich historical past. As the foundation of family history research, civil vital records – recordings of births, deaths and marriages – serve as an essential tool for the millions of Americans who are beginning or continuing their family history research.

“Through this partnership, our records will reach millions of people who are searching for their ancestors,” said Kim Sajet, president and CEO of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. “The vital records we have posted to Ancestry.com are just a small portion of the genealogical records here at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.” The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is one of the most complete and professional genealogy centers in the nation—and the largest in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Society collects genealogical materials from Pennsylvania and every other state east of the Mississippi River.

The Vital Records database is just the first of five databases that will be digitized by Ancestry.com and made available online in the coming months. The other forthcoming databases include:

·         Oliver H. Bair Funeral Records Indexes

·         Revolutionary War Battalions and Militia Records

·         Genealogical Scrapbooks and County Ledgers

·         Family History and Bible Records

“Ancestry.com is committed to the continued expansion of our existing collections and increasing the breadth of information for all Americans looking to learn more about their past,” said Josh Hanna, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Ancestry.com. “Pennsylvania was a crucial state during the formation of our country and these records detail the daily lives of its citizenry during these critical years. We look forward to continuing our work with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and allowing people to learn more about this state’s rich past.”

The public is invited to learn more about Ancestry.com and the genealogical holdings at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania at HSP Ancestry Day on Saturday, March 3, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. This full day of workshops from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. will help attendees discover and celebrate their family history.

Workshops will include:

·         Getting the Most from Ancestry.com

·         Pennsylvania Vital Records: HSP’s Collection on Ancestry.com

·         Collecting Since 1824: Genealogy Resources at HSP

·         7 Strategies for Searching Ancestry.com

Presenters at HSP Ancestry Day include Lisa Parry Arnold, Senior Records Analyst on the Global Content Team at Ancestry.com. Arnold has been with Ancestry for more than six years and provides expert research on records and collections. She has provided research for the hosts of the Today Show and Good Morning America, and was part of the research team for the 2009 launch of the mega hit TV show on NBC called, “Who Do You Think You Are?” Other presenters include Juliana Smith, an editor of Ancestry.com newsletters and current editor of the Ancestry Weekly Discovery; and Shamele Jordon, a genealogical researcher, lecturer, writer and podcaster.

These new vital record databases are available to current Ancestry.com subscribers and can be found at www.ancestry.com/vitals. HSP members can access HSP's records on Ancestry.com for free by logging into our members-only section of the website.