Pennsylvania Awesomeness

It is not often that Ancestry adds information that is useful to me. I have moved beyond census records for the most part, and the smaller databases they have been adding have not been in areas I research.

Well, not to be a shill for Ancestry, but they have added a boatload of Pennsylvania BMD & other data recently. Partnering with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, they have created the Pennsylvania Church and Town records database with more than 7 million records, including church (birth, baptism, marriage, death & more), cemetery and undertaker records. In a quick search, I found marriage information for distant ancestors and baptisms for my grandfather and great-grandfather. One marriage confirmed a maiden name that I had assumed, but for which I never had any proof. My great-grandfather’s baptism was in German, which I thought was cool. I will be posting more on these finds and others.

It’s always fun trying to find a particular database on Ancestry. Here’s how to find this one:

  1. In either the regular or the Ancestry Library edition (check with your local library), select Card Catalog under the Search  drop-down menu
  2. In the Title field, type in Pennsylvania Church and Town Records and click Search
  3. Select it and you are on your way

Some things I discovered in my brief usage so far:

  • There are some records from New Jersey. I found some Burlington county records. [Update: And Camden, Gloucester, Cumberland counties. I hear there are some Maryland records as well.]
  • If you are looking for a particular county, enter it under location for Any Event. That way you’ll get births, marriages, deaths and the ‘others’, which include things like church memberships and bible/Sunday school class rosters.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania page on the partnership

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