While the primary mission of the Pennsylvania State Archives is to preserve historic documents in their original format, digital scans have been made of select records to facilitate online research. These scans are available from several sources.
Archives Records Information Access System (ARIAS)
Archives Records Information Access System (ARIAS) offers images from digitized microfilm that index and summarize the military service of Pennsylvania soldiers during the following wars and time periods:
Our Documentary Heritage
Our Documentary Heritage is a teaching tool that presents images of historical documents from various time periods. Along with the images are narratives placing them in a regional, state, or national context, as well as transcriptions of each record if appropriate and helpful links for further research.
Land records include images of registers, indexes, and surveys from our Record Group 17, Records of the Commonwealth Land Office, provide a wealth of readily available information to both genealogists and property historians. Current series available are:
- Canal Commissioners' Board Canal Map Books, 1810-1880
- Connected Draft Maps
- Copied Surveys, 1681-1912
- County Maps and Atlases from the 1850s-1870s
- Depreciation Land Register, undated
- Donation Land series, [ca. 1781-1839]
- East Side Applications (Register), 1765-1769
- Last Purchase Warrant Register, 1784
- Luzerne County Certified Townships Register, undated
- Melish-Whiteside Maps, 1816-1821
- New Purchase Register, 1768
- Old Rights Index for Bucks and Chester Counties, 1682-1740
- Original Purchase Register, 1682-1762
- Patent Indexes, 1684-1957
- Patent Tract Name Index, [undated]
- Philadelphia Old Rights (Index), 1682-1745
- Warrant Registers, 1733-1957
- Warrantee Township Maps
- West Side Applications (Register), 1766-1769
The Pennsylvania State Archives has a partnership with Ancestry.com to digitize family history records in the State Archives and make them available online. The records are available free of charge to Pennsylvania residents when entering through the Ancestry.com Pennsylvania page. Included data collections:
- Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1967
- Pennsylvania, Birth Records, 1906-1911
- Pennsylvania, Veterans Burial Cards, 1777-1999
- Pennsylvania, Births, 1852-1854
- Pennsylvania, Land Warrants and Applications, 1733-1952
- Pennsylvania, Oyer and Terminer Court Papers, 1757-1787
- Pennsylvania, Spanish War Compensation, 1898-1934
- Pennsylvania, Naturalizations, 1794-1908
- Pennsylvania, War of 1812 Pensions, 1866-1879
- Pennsylvania, Land Warrants, 1733-1987
- Pennsylvania, Civil War Border Claims, 1868-1879
- Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1854
- Pennsylvania, Deaths, 1852-1854
- Pennsylvania, Records of Marriages, 1885-1889
- Pennsylvania, Tax and Exoneration, 1768-1801
- Pennsylvania, Septennial Census, 1779-1863
- Pennsylvania, WPA Church Archives, 1937-1940
Farm Census, 1927
- The Department of Agriculture's Farm Census for the year 1927 is available for viewing online.
- Links to various maps in the State Archives' collections, as well as those on other websties, can be accessed through the Maps Page.
Guide to Photographs at the Pennsylvania State Archives
Listed below are links to the Guide to Photographs at the Pennsylvania State Archives (Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, 1993) written by Linda Ries. The book contains descriptive information for the estimated 350,000 photographs contained in the Archives' collections up to 1993. Numerous additonal images have been added since that time.
To purchase a copy of the book, please visit Shop PA Heritage. For more information on current photograph holdings email archivist Aaron McWilliams or call 717.787.8953.
- Several series of archival photographs have been digitized in their entirety. To date, one of these series is available for viewing on the internet: Aerial Photographs and Index of the 1940 Aerial Survey of Pennsylvania, 1937-1942, produced by the State Planning Board under the Department of Commerce (Record Group 31).
- Another photograph collection, Manuscript Group 219, the Philadelphia Commercial Museum Photograph Collection, [ca. 1840-1954] is not yet available over the Web, but can be viewed in the Archives Search Room.
- Newly-digitized historical glass plate negatives documenting daily life of staff and residents of Polk State School in Venango County, Pennsylvania. In the early 20th century Polk Village included resident cottages and dormitories, industrial school classrooms, auditorium, gymnasium, hospital, bakery and kitchen, power plant, farm and orchard. Images show grounds and facilities, interior and exterior views of buildings, staff and residents, school activities, celebrations, games, athletic teams, plays and performances. The State Archives thanks the Polk Center for their cooperation in making these images available and, wherever possible, has retained the captions assigned by the Center.
- Collection of digitized World War I era posters of varying size, color and medium pertaining to the U.S. and Pennsylvania from the Archives' Manuscript Group 200, Poster Collection. Manufactured for many different businesses, institutions, and government agencies, the artwork is by famous, obscure and unknown commercial illustrators. Those printed by various federal agencies were intended to generate patriotic fervor in Americans.
Slavery and the Underground Railroad