The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP), one of the largest and most comprehensive genealogical centers in the nation, and FamilySearch, a nonprofit family history and records preservation organization, are collaborating to share the stories of more than 300 years of American history with researchers across the country and around the world.
Work to digitally preserve and publish HSP’s genealogies and local histories, family trees, its card catalog and more has been underway since 2014. Several thousand records are now freely accessible at FamilySearch.org, with more to follow in the coming months. HSP has also been designated a FamilySearch Affiliate Library, allowing researchers to request microfilm from other Affiliate libraries. Click here to learn more about the resources available through the Affiliate Library program.
The collaboration has several components. HSP’s published family history volumes, originally released in very small runs – often for other family members – contain information on individuals and families in the Mid-Atlantic region. Many of these histories are truly unique, found nowhere else in the world. Click here to learn more about the published family histories scanning project.
HSP’s card catalog –the key to the manuscript collection – contains over one million individual cards with information about unpublished materials currently not searchable in Discover, HSP’s online catalog. Until now, for most manuscript materials, researchers had to visit the library in-person to discover these collections. Through the initiative with FamilySearch, HSP’s card catalog has been scanned in its entirety, accomplished by two volunteers, Helen and Tom Longhurst, in less than three months. These cards are now available online for the first time. Click here to learn more about the card catalog scanning project.
“It is a delight to work with FamilySearch,” said Dr. Page Talbott, HSP’s President & CEO. “The primary goal of the project is to broaden the audience of the HSP’s records and engage in an unprecedented effort to digitize and preserve important data. Users all over the world will have access to these records, and the partnership with FamilySearch will continue to benefit interested individuals well into the future.”
FamilySearch Book Scanning Partnership Manager, Dennis Meldrum, observed, “The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is a marvelous facility, and they have an awesome collection from a period and area in U.S. history that is highly sought after by researchers. The records tell the important stories of families and provide a fantastic opportunity for FamilySearch users to examine unique historical documents that would not otherwise be readily accessible to them.”