The Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg

I awoke and found that the sky had filled with gray clouds. I went down to the lobby of my motel, the Comfort Inn, and found out that the weather report included thunderstorms and lots of rain. I was told it was going to be all day. I was planning to walk to the Pennsylvania Archives so I could enjoy Harrisburg and see the city. It was not going to happen. I was going to have to use the rental car and try to drive in rush hour traffic in a city I was not familiar with. I ate breakfast and did some chores and headed back to my room to make up my mind about what I wanted to do. I finally decided to just “feel the fear and do it anyway!”

I ran out to the car and climbed in and made my way to the Pennsylvania Archives. I found the 7th and Forster Street Parking garage and was relieved to find out that it was in view as I drove up Forster. That was a good thing! I climbed the parking lot to the 5th floor before I started to find parking spaces. I was soon on my way to the Archives. By the time I got to the parking garage the rain had lighted up and it was now breaking up. It was a little before 9 a.m.

The Pennsylvania Archives is in the tall building that is like a big rectangular straight block. The research area is on the ground floor and that is where you enter. It is next to the Museum which is a circular building. You have to walk about 3 long blocks to get to it from the parking garage on 7th Avenue. The entrance is on the corner of Forster and 3rd Ave. I entered the courtyard and the door to the Research room was straight ahead of me through a courtyard.

Your first step is to sign in at the reception desk. You have to empty your bags and place them into a locker and take only what you need. They don’t have a lot of tables to work on so you best keep things simple. I took over the end of one long table.

The research room is divided into the outer area where you access the books and the microfilm. The inner area is the manuscript room which is restricted. I ordered the Susquehanna Company Papers and was very disappointed to find that they were two boxes, the first was filled with carbon copies of some typed transcript with no identifying information about where it came from. The other box contained copies of a microfilm stacked in this large box with the information written on the backside of each copy but their were no names or any kind of index that I could see. I was disappointed. I had to fill out more paperwork to enter the Manuscript room.

The rest of the day was deep into the Land records and Connecticut Claimants and surveys and such. I had not been able to pull off their online surveys because the volumes were not the same. It was decided they were the Connecticut surveys and those were on other films. I did look at the films and it was very interesting and I took lots of pictures of the surveys. I did not accomplish all I had hoped for but then I was a little ambitious. This is definitely a two day affair and maybe more. One day was not enough to look at the films; however, some of the films are at the Family History Library especially the county records so check that online catalog before you go. They have a heavy microfilm collection.

It was a very busy day and my little Sony Camera did a great job taking digital photos without my tripod which is a little risky. I am very pleased because it is a hard business to copy things at 50 cents a copy. There equipment is old and they only have two microfilm printer machines. So when it gets busy it is hard to copy items.

Since they closed at 4 p.m., I decided it was too late to start anything else. So I packed up about 3:40 p.m. and left the archive and headed to my car in the parking garage. The rain was gone and it was partially cloudy. I decided to try the local maneuver and to a U turn at one of the lights to get back on Forster to go west to Front Street. A big Cadillac didn’t like my slow driving and zoomed past me only to be stopped by lots of heavy slow traffic on Front Street.

I was back to the motel without much fuss and ready to plan the next phase of my journey!


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:
This entry was posted in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania State Archives, Susquehanna. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg

  1. Welcome to Mecca! As a transplanted Californian, I love living in Pennsylvania! We have awesome libraries, historical societies and museums, don’t we? . . . and I, too, was at the FGS conference and got a lot out of it!

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