Archival Adventures in Small Repositories
Members Only Databases
HSP members enjoy access to several databases of both HSP's own design and from other vendors.
Resources Available to HSP Members:
- HSP Genealogical and Biographical Database Project
- Adam Matthew Digital - Global Commoditites
- Adam Matthew Digital - Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice: 1490-2007
Resources Available in the HSP Reading Room Only:
- Ancestry Institution Edition
- Heritage Quest Online
- Newsbank - America's Historical Newspapers
The Genealogical and Biographical Database Project
Now in its third year, the project has been indexing and summarizing HSP record collections that are particularly rich in information on individuals, including the records of the Philadelphia Home for Infants, Philadelphia Job Placement Office, and the Home Missionary Society. These new databases, the first in a series of databases under development for HSP members, are now available online. Each collection also includes a narrative providing a description and analysis of the databases' records. These narratives will help family researchers make sense of the records, illuminating the experiences of their ancestors.
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
- The Home Missionary Society of the City of Philadelphia (HMS) was a Methodist organization that formed in 1835 to meet the spiritual needs of Philadelphia.
- This collection contains one volume of visitation records from the 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.
Adam Matthew Digital - Global Commoditites
- This resource brings together manuscript, printed and visual primary source materials for the study of global commodities in world history. The commodities featured in this resource have been transported, exchanged and consumed around the world for hundreds of years. They helped transform societies, global trading operations, habits of consumption and social practices.
Adam Matthew Digital - Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice: 1490-2007
- Bringing together primary source documents from archives and libraries across the Atlantic world, this resource allows students and researchers to explore and compare unique material relating to the complex subjects of slavery, abolition and social justice.
- In addition to the primary source documents there is a wealth of useful secondary sources for research and teaching; including an interactive map, scholarly essays, tutorials, a visual sources gallery, chronology and bibliography.
HSP has partnered with Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, to digitize over seven million records from our collection. These collections detail more than 300 years of Pennsylvanians’ life history spanning from 1708-1985.
The vital record additions, containing information from each county in the state of Pennsylvania, include:
- Pennsylvania and New Jersey Church and Town Records (1708-1985): The documents in this database contain records from churches, funeral homes, cemeteries, newspapers, historical societies, as well as personal records and other various sources. Click here for a list of collections included in this database.
- Pennsylvania, Oliver H. Bair Funeral Records Indexes, 1920-1980: These records make up an index to funerals handled by the Oliver H. Bair funeral homes. The majority are cards with the name of the deceased and billing information. However, the cards can contain other details, including names of people being charged for the funeral, addresses, family members and indications of family relationships (niece, widow, son, etc.), place of burial, and dates. Finding a record in the index indicates that a larger packet of information is available at HSP.
- Pennsylvania, Revolutionary War Battalions and Militia Index, 1775-1783: This database contains an index to Pennsylvania in the War of the Revolution (4 volumes), a series that reprints muster rolls and other documentation found in the Pennsylvania Archives, 2nd series, vols. 10, 11, 13, 14. These books include rosters, muster rolls, histories, diaries, and other documents listing Pennsylvanian troops. The cards in this database list names, sometimes rank, and a volume and page reference to the source volume.
- Pennsylvania, Card Indexes to Genealogical Scrapbooks and Research Folders: These records are an index to genealogical scrapbooks, published volumes, and research folders in HSP's collection. The cards in this index include minimal information, including titles and sometimes page numbers, but this information points to a scrapbook, research folder, or published volume available at HSP.
These records are available to all members of HSP. (If you don't already have a log-in at Ancestry.com, you'll need to sign up for a free account there.)