Podcast Episode 47: Free Digital Records from the PA State Archive

Free Pennsylvania genealogy records you can access from home in this highlight podcast episode.

Podcast Episode 47: Free Digital Records from the PA State Archive

What digitized genealogy records can you access at home for free? Listen in as Aaron McWilliams tells me.

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[00:00:02] Aaron McWilliams: Now on the front of digitization over the several years, we’ve been, we’ve made an effort to put more and more records that we have online. I mean, we initially started with just putting indexes on our website. So you have our state land record indices. You have a number of our military indexes through what’s called ARIAS that you can access to our website to take a look at.

[00:00:25] We did team up with Ancestry and they’ve digitized millions of, of pages of documents from our collection. And in what they’ve accessed from us and put online from our collection, you can access as a Pennsylvania resident for free. It takes a little patient dealing with, with it, but you can access ancestry.com PA from our website, if you’re a Pennsylvania resident and access those.

[00:00:49] And there’ll be a list on that page of exactly what, from our collections on there. The big thing being, of course, the, the death certificates and birth certificates that we have, the majority are on there now. Relationship is continuing there. They’re still here. They’re still digitizing records. So there’ll be more that will be popping up more births and deaths.

[00:01:07] And then I believe they may work on National Guard eventually, but there’s other records in the pipeline that they, they plan on scanning and putting up on Ancestry. Familysearch everybody I’m sure anybody in genealogical community know that they they’ve been digitizing their microfilm and they’re starting to get to some of our collections.

[00:01:24] That they have microfilm copies of, or have microfilm for us in the past. Like I said, the, the patent books are now viewable, if you go into their catalog so you can access those. That’s the first time the patent books have been available online at all anywhere. And they have a number of, of other records, some of our Supreme executive council it’s kind of hit or miss, as, you know, as they’re going through digitizing, they kind of do the more popular and kind of worked their way through.

[00:01:51] So if you keep checking FamilySearch in their catalog, you’ll see more and more things from our collection that has been microfilmed being digitized and in available on their website. And then beyond those companies, we’ve actually teamed up with theState Library with what’s known as Power Library and you can access Power Library through our website. Right under research online, or you can access it through the State Library of Pennsylvania, or you can just Google power library. 

[00:02:20] But what we’ve been doing is digitizing all the microfilm that’s in our search room. So you’re talking about 30,000 rolls of microfilm we’re digitizing. We’re trying not to overlap with what FamilySearch has done so we’ve, we’ve kind of eliminated some of those. But a lot of our records, our record collections that we’ve digitized our microfilms, we are now digitizing and those digital images are now being placed on a Power Library. So you have right now, it’s kind of an assortment of things that we’ve put up there.

[00:02:51] You have our postcard collection you have poster collection that’s on there. There’s some Polk up there I forget if they’re referred to as a state hospital or not. I can’t remember, but Polk it has some of their images on there.

[00:03:02] And then a random assortment of microfilm that we’ve digitized or some Eastern State Penitentiary stuff on there. There’s some of our Revolutionary War pension records that are now on there that have been on microfilm. So we’re, we’re doing it. We’re, we’re trying to put as much out there. With the resources that we have.