The Historical Society of Pennsylvania & the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania

These two organizations have merged their collections at this time. The process is still going on. The Genealogical Society is housed upstairs in the same building. They had a booth at the FGS convention.

I went to the Historical Society on Tuesday, September 2nd to do research on my family. I left the Marriott and traveled down 13th Ave, which I was to learn later, might not be a safe route and that you should go down Market to Broad Street and then find Locust. I will study my map to see what that involves. Apparently 13th can get dicey at night and the Historical Society does stay open till 8:30 p.m. on some evenings.

You enter the reception area and if you have not visited before you are requested to sign a form. Everyone pays $6.00 to use the facilities unless you are a member. After you complete the form you go into another room and find your locker. You pay it a quarter and turn the key, but you do get it back when you are ready to leave. You can only take exactly what you need into the research rooms.

The next step is to have the reference librarian give you an overview of the collection. This librarian explained the card catalogs and told me not all are online so you do have to check them. They have a hand out that gives more detail.

There are several rooms. The area where the card catalogs are located. The Reading Room, the Pennsylvania Room and the Family History Room. Mr. Arnold said that the Family Histories had spilled out into the Pennsylvania Room. The Pennsylvania Room has of course, Pennsylvania titles and more and also New Jersey. They had to remove the Delaware because they were running out of room.

In the Reading Room it is divided into two parts. The restricted area where you order 3 items at a time and then wait about 30 minutes for them to retrieve them. Once they come you have to sit in the special area so they can keep an eye on the documents and give them to you one at a time. The desks are numbered.

The unrestricted area is on the other side and you can access the library shelves yourself and again you do not reshelve items. They are not as strict as some archives but they are very careful. Absolutely no pens!

My goal was to see just what they had on the Connecticut Claims. They brought me several big books and a box filled with old papers. I could see that they had value. They will take more than a quick study. The other goal was to find Peter Spracklin, son of Betty and Peter Spracklin of Hardin Co., Ohio. I had traced him to Trenton, New Jersey. Fortunately they had Philadelphia city directories and one or two Trenton, New Jersey directories. I found him in two of them. So I was pleased. Apparently he is also in a history of the area. So I will have to trace that book and see what they have written. Peter is the brother of my John Andrew Spracklin. John is my 4th great grandfather. I like to track the collateral lines to find at the very least where they went.

It was a pleasant visit…

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About BJ MacDonald

Interested in travel, really into genealogy and researching my family history, classic novels and movies, fantasy and science fiction, photography, history and more... Here is a tip. Make sure you are commenting on the blog you were visiting and the post you were interested in. My blogs are listed by hovering over my pictures and clicking. Clicking one of them will take you back to the correct blog. You can try me here: bjmcdonell@gmail.com
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