mail reference instructions
Before requesting research by mail, please read this page and Mail Reference Order Form (PDF) for general information about the types of records that can be searched and ordering instructions.
All genealogical inquiries submitted by postal mail must be made through the Mail Reference Order Form (PDF) and are answered in the order in which they are received, regardless of means of transmission. Many of the records at the State Archives may be used for genealogical research. For an overview, please consult the pertinent pages of the Archives website or The Guide to Genealogical Sources at the Pennsylvania State Archives by Robert M. Dructor, which is available in many large libraries.
Limited reference services are available for those who are unable to travel to Harrisburg. The fee for searches of indexed records is: $15.00 - Pennsylvania residents / $25.00 - Non-Pennsylvania residents. This fee includes the cost of copying up to 10 pages. Unindexed records are searched at a per-hour rate. Searches are done only from original records among our holdings. We cannot search or copy federal censuses, county records (wills, deeds etc.), or other materials whose originals are not in our custody. Also, the State Archives does not collect or copy family histories or family history indexes, or search or copy the published volumes titled the Pennsylvania Archives. The Pennsylvania Archives volumes may be consulted online at www.fold3.com. Costs for photocopies and other types of duplications can be viewed on our price list. Please do not send money for copies or other types of output until a reference archivist has provided you with a total cost.
The success of our research depends on the completeness and accuracy of the information you provide in blocks A , B , and C . The blocks must be filled in and you must circle the number of the type of record you wish to have searched so that we can locate the appropriate record. When requesting more than one search, you may not receive all of your replies at the same time.
Your check or money order for the appropriate amount should be made payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and forwarded to the address below. Payment is required in advance of the search. Please allow at least 8-12 weeks for a response.
For a list of private researchers for hire who might undertake your research, check the "Researchers List" link on the State Library's Genealogy Research Guide page.
All holdings of the State Archives may be examined in the Archives Search Room. Located at Third and Forster Streets, Harrisburg, PA, the Search Room is open to the public Wednesday-Friday, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM, and Saturday (microfilm only), 9:00 AM - 12:00 noon, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM, excluding State holidays. No fee is charged to review materials, and no appointment is required to review manuscript materials; however, advance notice is required when audio and video collections will be consulted.
All mail inquiries should be sent to:
Pennsylvania State Archives
350 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0090
Telephone: (717) 783-3281