These instructions are also available via photo album.
To begin, please visit familysearch.org and create a free account (highlighted in red below).
Once you’ve created an account, please hover your cursor over “search” in the top bar, and click “records” from the drop down menu (highlighted in red below).
Please then click “view all published histories” link in the bottom center of the screen (highlighted in red below).
Please then search “Historical Society of Pennsylvania” in the collection name search box at the top left of the screen and click the query result (highlighted in red below).
This will direct you to the homepage for HSP’s card catalog records. Please select the “Browse through 946,124 images” link (highlighted in red below).
This screen displays the different categories of records. Please consult our guide to the card catalog for more information regarding each record category
Once you’ve selected the record category you wish to explore, scanned images of the cards will be displayed.
You will then be able to “flip” through the cards via the image selector tool in the top left of the screen (highlighted in red below). Advance cards one at a time by clicking the directional arrows, or jump by inserting a number in the box. For example, inserting “50” will advance to the 50th card in the category.
Cards vary in several ways, reflecting the way technology and librarianship have changed over the past ### years. Some cards are handwritten; others are typed. Some contain only skeletal information (date, author, etc.), while other cards contain descriptions of the item.
Cards vary in several ways, reflecting the way technology and librarianship have changed over over previous centuries. Some cards are handwritten; others are typed. Some contain only skeletal information (date, author, etc.), while other cards contain descriptions of the item.
Card catalog images typically contain the following information:
- Geographical location
Examples of cards commonly found in HSP's catalog
To begin your search it is helpful to know:
- The subject of interest surrounding your ancestor
- Other identifying information such as the surname or names of family members.
- Please click here for more tips on exploring the card catalog
Look at each image to determine if the image relates to your ancestor. You may need to look at several images and compare the information listed in those images to make this determination. Keep in mind for multiple surnames and record types.
When you have located records that may be appropriate to your ancestor, download a copy of the record, or extract the information needed. You will then need to contact the Historical Society to gain access to the record.
Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.
- "Pennsylvania, Historical Society of Pennsylvania Card Catalog, 1553-2015." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2015. Citing Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Pennsylvania, Historical Society of Pennsylvania Card Catalog, 1553-2015.