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Coal Miner Records

The Pennsylvania State Archives hold numerous collections which pertain to persons either employed in or in some way associated with the anthracite (hard coal) and bituminous (soft coal) mining industries of the Commonwealth.

The anthracite fields stretch for nearly 500 square miles across portions of northeastern Pennsylvania, while the bituminous fields underlie most of the western counties, as well as portions of the northern tier of the state.

Unfortunately, there is not a great deal of documentation concerning rank and file miners in the collections of the State Archives. However a few key series, highlighted in the lists below, could be of assistance to researchers trying to locate their mining ancestors.

In addition to records pertaining to miners and laborers, the Archives holds materials pertaining to supervisors and management job titles associated with the mines, such as mine foremen, assistant mine foremen, mine inspectors, fire bosses and electricians, and admistrative personnel.

Anthracite Coal Records

  • Manuscript Group 311, Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company Records, 1792-1978
  • Manuscript Group 369, Anthracite Museum Complex Collections, 1896-1964
    • Collections containing genealogical material are chiefly located at the Anthracite Heritage Museum in Scranton. Please call 570-963-4845 to make an appointment to view the materials held there. Eckley Miner's Village also holds a few documents and publications, however there are not an appreciable number of relevant genealogical items housed at the site. 

  • Manuscript Group 463, Susquehanna Coal Company Records, 1901-1915
    • Payroll Ledgers, 1901-1915. (67 volumes)
      • These payroll ledgers document workers who labored at the Cameron, Hickory Ridge, Hickory Swamp, Luke Fidler and Pennsylvania Collieries of the Susquehanna Coal Company. They are organized by colliery and then chronologically by month within each volume. Unfortunately there are no name indexes and the names for each month are not arranged alphabetically, so the researcher may have to search in a number of ledgers to find a name they are looking for.

Bituminous Coal Records

  • Record Group 7, Records of the General Assembly

  • Record Group 43, Department of Environmental Resources
  • Record Group 45, Department of Mines and Mineral Industries
  • Record Group 66, Department of Environmental Protection         
    • Examinations Relating to Bituminous Mine Officials 1963-1998, 2002-2003, 2007-2008{series #66.6}. (13 cartons, 11 boxes)
      • Access to this series is restricted due to the presence of social security numbers on numerous materials.
      • Test copies, tally sheets, examination applications, test answer sheets, and microfilm of examinations for Mine Electricians, Mine Examiners, Assistant Mine Foremen and Mine Foremen. In addition there are certificates of character and affidavits of experience for some miners taking the tests in 1990 and 1991.

        The overwhelming majority of the records pertain to bituminous exams, however there are a few files, mostly applications, that document tests and test-takers from the anthracite region during 1993 and 1994.

        Included on the applications are the names and addresses of the miner and three persons who can attest to the applicant's character, as well as a history of each miner's work experience. The files are arranged differently depending on the year, with most broken down by job title, then organized either alphabetically by surname or numerically by work (test) number.

    • Index Stubs and Cards to Miners Certificates, 1937-1965, {series #66.7}. (126 boxes)
      • The four rolls containing materials from 1966-1987 are restricted due to the presence of social security numbers.
      • This group of certificate stubs and cards is grouped into four separate subseries:
        • Miner's Certificate Cards and Stubs, 1937, 1938 (81 boxes
        • Machine Runner and Cutting, Loading, and Drilling Machine Operators Certificate Stubs, 1930s-1960s (12 boxes)
        • Miner's Certificate Stubs, late 1930s (6 boxes)
        • Miner's Certificate Stubs, 1939-1965 (25 boxes)
        • Also present are twenty-six microfilm rolls. All refer to the bituminous coal region of western Pennsylvania, with the first sixteen rolls apparently duplicating the Miners' Certificate Cards (1937, 1938) and the last ten roles (listed below) containing original data. The cards and stubs on these rolls are NOT in precise alphabetical order; it is recommended to check throughout the run of a specific surname letter if an individual cannot be found in the normal alphabetical sequence.

Mining-Related Websites and Other Resources