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FYE 112:21 | Pathways to the Past

Dr. Barry Smith | Spring 2022

Genealogical Sources

• County Historical Societies 

Google searches will help you locate these.

• County Genealogical Societies

Google searches will help you locate these.

• Church Records


Need to create a free account. Be aware this will not provide you with access to all available resources.


Need to create a free account. Contains birth certificates, marriage registrations, census records, and other official documents. If you access this from the Annville Free Library--under search catalog, records, you'll be able to access additional records not available with the free account. 

  • Census Data | | US Census data through 1940 is searchable, with the exception of the 1890 census which was destroyed in a fire. Only parts of it exist.
  • City Directories | Polk’s | City directories exist for virtually every community in America, and often to the earliest time of settlement of a community. Some of the privately published directories for a city date back over a hundred and fifty years. Surprisingly, those that exist are quite easy to find. They are usually located in the public library serving a particular city. Information included: age, occupation, home ownership, and names of employers.
  • County Histories | WorldCat | 77,000 libraries records. Use WorldCat to find county histories (run a search of your county AND your state AND history) County histories of the late 19th and early 20th Century often include data on early inhabitants. Many include lists of tax rolls, church registers, local officials, occupational indexes and the like.
  • Digitized Materials | HaithTrust | A not-for-profit collaborative of academic and research libraries preserving 17+ million digitized items. 
  • Indexes to Data | | May be found on county websites with a Google search of “will index” AND your county. May also be found at county historical societies.
    • Birth Certificates & Registrations
    • Death Registrations
    • Deeds
    • Divorce
    • Estate
    • Marriage License
    • Marriage Registrations
    • Military Discharge
    • Naturalization Index
    • Orphan’s Court Index
    • Prison Register Index
    • Sheriff Deed Index
    • Veteran Burial Card Index
    • Will Index
  • Newspapers
  • Marriage Records | County Courthouse where marriage took place. PA maintains records from 1906 to present. Prior to this, need to depend on church records.
  • Yearbooks | College and High School
  • Death Certificates | | through 1964.

Be aware that you may need to be creative with name spelling variations. A couple of things can help you with this.

First, go to Soundex. Soundex is a phonetic index that groups together names that sound alike but are spelled differently, for example, Stewart and Stuart. This helps searchers find names that are spelled differently than expected, a relatively common genealogical research problem.Type in your last name. Copy the American Soundex Code.

Next, go here. Paste the Soundex code into the search box. You’ll get variant spellings associated with that Soundex code.

Evidence Explained:  Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. 

Genealogical style guide. LVC Library owns two copies. D5 .M55 2017, 2015, main floor & upper floor.

Historical Linguistics

Human DNA

Radiocarbon Dating | Carbon Dating | Carbon-14

Traditional Archaeology