PA Researchers Benefit as FamilySearch Continues Digitizing Goal

Jan 01, 2012


Several years ago the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) began the enormous project of digitizing all of the microfilmed records held in their granite vault. On 11 March 2006, LDS Church News Associate Editor John L. Hart wrote an article for the LDS Church News titled "Digitzing Hastens at Microfilm Vault" in which he described the ongoing process to capture some 2.4 million rolls of microfilm into digitized format. The ultimate goal of the Church was to make them freely available, online, to anyone who was searching for their ancestors.


Almost six years on this amazing project has yielded a boon to all genealogists with a computer and internet access, including those searching for their Pennsylvania ancestors. Since March 2010 nine Pennsylvania record collections have been added to those available on the North America collections page:


  • Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1885 - 1950 (with 1,325,465 indexed, searchable images) Updated 23 December 2011
  • Pennsylvania Eastern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1795-1931 (Browse images) Updated 9 December 2011
  • Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Case Files of Chinese Immigrants, 1900-1923 (Browse images) Updated 15 April 2011
  • Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Death Certificates, 1803-1915 (with 1,556,855 indexed, searchable images) Updated 5 November 2010
  • Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes, 1885-1951 (with 1,830,468 indexed, searchable images) Updated 29 March 2010
  • Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger List Index Cards, 1883-1948 (Browse images), Updated 19 June 2011
  • Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1882 (Browse images), Updated 15 April 2011
  • Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1883-1945 (Browse images), Updated 30 August 2011
  • Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh City Deaths, 1870-1905, (with 154,203 indexed, searchable images), Updated 25 August 2011


Obviously for genealogists, the "indexed, searchable" aspect of any record collection is always the most desirable - genealogists love indexes. But these indexes are only possible and available to us due to the dedication of thousands of researchers who understand the value of an index, and willingly share their time to accomplish this work. And thankfully FamilySearch has the resources to organize and oversee these indexing projects.


GSP is currently exploring an upcoming project with FamilySearch to index a Pennsylvania record collection, and will let our members know the outcome of these discussions soon. If you are involved with an organization - a local genealogical or historical society - and would like more information about how your group can work with FamilySearch to index a collection, go to the FamilySearch Indexing Page for contact information and current, and upcoming, projects available.


(Exterior photo of Family History Library in Salt Lake City found on