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The Pennsylvania Archives

The State of Pennsylvania has published 128 volumes of material from the Archives in ten series. There is additional material in the archives that is either not published in this series or is published elsewhere. The brief summary of what is in the published volumes is found at .

While the matierials are published, the volumes are not easy to find. Even LDS has only a partial set. What is more they are confusing. Some series are indexes to earlier series. Some appear to reprint the same documents, perhaps from a different source. However almost the whole series is free and searchible on line at . However it is not clear how these volumes are indexed: if an old index was used or whether a new index was created from the documents as they were being scanned and processed.

The following sections of this document describe each series, what is in them, and if they are on line above. Two series not on line: Series 8 and 9, except for the first volumes.

Colonial Series

The Colonial Records Series is widely available. It consists of sixteen volumes containing the minutes of the Provincial Council, 1683-1775, in Volumes I-X· minutes of the Council of Safety (and of the Committee of Safety), 1775-1777, in X and XI· minutes of those of the Supreme Executive Council, 1777-1790, in XI-XVI.

They were printed directly from the manuscript books apparently with no editing and issued 1838-1853.

Click here to view the volume by volume contents of the Colonial Series.

Series 1

The First Series are twelve volumes that reproduce papers selected chiefly from the files at the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth. They were printed in chronological order to parallel and supplement Colonial Records. The earliest materials are dated 1664-and the latest 1790. They were edited by Samuel Hazard and issued 1852-1856. They are indexed in Dunn's Index to Pennsylvania's Colonial Record Series. There is no by-volume information at (or here!)

Series 2

The Second Series consists of nineteen volumes of varied and diverse materials: militia rolls and church records are prominent, but there are also minutes of the Board of War and those of the Navy Board for 1777 (only), and much on the Wyoming Controversy with Connecticut and on the Whiskey Insurrection. Edited by John B. Linn and Dr. William Henry Egle through Volume XII, and by Dr. Egle alone for the remainder of the series. Issued 1874-1890.

This series also contains early Pennsylvania land records, Minutes of the Board of Property, persons naturalized in Pennsylvania, and names of foreigners (non-British, largely Germans) who took the Oath of Allegiance. There's MUCH DETAIL here.

Series 3

The Third Series consists of twenty-six volumes resembling closely those of the Second Series, while the last four volumes consist of an index to the sixteen volumes immediately preceding. Filled for the most part with militia rolls and lists of land warrantees and taxables, this series does contain some materials of a more general nature, such as a discussion of Virginia's claims to western Pennsylvania, and an account of the Donation Lands. Edited by Dr. Egle (I-XXVI) with four index volumes edited by Dr. George Edward Reed. Issued 1894-1899. LOTS of info here.

Series 4

The Fourth Series comprises twelve volumes of addresses, messages, proclamations, etc, of papers of Pennsylvania's Governors, 1681-1902, with brief biographies and portraits but with a minimum of documentation. Edited by Dr. George Edward Reed and issued 1900-1902.

Series 5

The Fifth Series consists of eight volumes of muster rolls and other military lists, chiefly of the provincial and revolutionary period, some reprinted with greater accuracy and neatness from the Second and Third Series, and others taken from sources outside official custody. Edited by Dr. Thomas Lynch Montgomery and issued in 1906.

Series 6

The Sixth Series of fourteen volumes continues the printing of military rolls, covering chiefly the period from the Revolution to the War of 1812, including militia rolls for the years of peace, with some material as late as the Mexican War. There are also a few orderly books, military accounts for the 1812 period, and some papers non-military in nature, notably church records of marriages and baptisms, inventories of estates confiscated during the Revolution, and scattering eighteenth century election returns. The final volume, XV, bound in two thick parts, contains an index to the Fifth Series. Edited by Dr. Thomas Lynch Montgomery and issued 1906-1907.

Series 7

The Seventh Series of five volumes consists exclusively of an index to the more than one million names found in the first fourteen volumes of the Sixth Series. The Seventh Series was intended to include in additional volumes the Executive Minutes that later were published as the Ninth Series, but publication halted with the death of L. R. Kelker, Custodian of Public Records, in 1915. Compiled by Kelker and his assistants in the Division of Public Records under the direction of Dr. Thomas Lynch Montgomery and issued in 1914.

Series 8

The Eighth Series of eight volumes reprints the eighteenth-century edition of Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives of the Province of Pennsylvania, 1682-1776. The first five volumes bear the name of Gertrude MacKinney as editor, and the last three the name of Dr. Charles F. Hoban. Issued 19311935.

Volume 1 ONLY on line.

Series 9

The Ninth Series is ten volumes that print the contents of fifteen manuscript volumes preserved in the Division of Public Records of Executive Minutes, a journal of official actions of Pennsylvania's Governors for the period 1790-1838. This series continues Colonial Records and supplements the Fourth Series for the effective period of the Constitution of 1790. Bears the name of Gertrude MacKinney as editor. Issued 1931-1935.

Volume I ONLY.

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