HSP’s card catalog – the key to the manuscript collection and more – contains over one million individual, hand-written and typed cards with information about unpublished materials currently not searchable in Discover, HSP’s online catalog.
To make these manuscript collections accessible to researchers around the world, HSP has collaborated with FamilySearch, one of the world’s largest online genealogy databases, to digitize its card catalog.
Get started using HSP's card catalog via Family Search!
To access HSP's card catalog via Family Search, you will need to first visit www.familysearch.org. If you do not have a Family Search account, you must create a free account to gain access (highlighted in red).
Once you’ve created an account, please hover your cursor over “search” in the top bar, and click “records” from the drop down menu (highlighted in red below).
Please then click “browse all collections” link in the bottom center of the screen (highlighted in red below).
Please then search “Historical Society of Pennsylvania” in the collection name search box at the top left of the screen and click the query result (highlighted in red below).
This will direct you to the homepage for HSP’s card catalog records. Please select the “Browse through 946,124 images” link (highlighted in red below).
This screen displays the different categories of records. Please consult our guide to the card catalog for more information regarding each record category.
Once you’ve selected the record category you wish to explore, scanned images of the cards will be displayed.
You will then be able to “flip” through the cards via the image selector tool in the top left of the screen (highlighted in red below). Advance cards one at a time by clicking the directional arrows, or jump by inserting a number in the box. For example, inserting “50” will advance to the 50th card in the category.
Cards vary in several ways, reflecting the way technology and librarianship have changed over the past ### years. Some cards are handwritten; others are typed. Some contain only skeletal information (date, author, etc.), while other cards contain descriptions of the item.
Cards vary in several ways, reflecting the way technology and librarianship have changed over over previous centuries. Some cards are handwritten; others are typed. Some contain only skeletal information (date, author, etc.), while other cards contain descriptions of the item.
Card catalog images typically contain the following information:
The cards within each record category (Manuscripts, Family History, etc.”) are organized alphabetically. However, some record categories are organized by the title of the material, the record creator, the geographical location, and other record aspects.
To begin your search it is helpful to know:
Look at each image to determine if the image relates to your subject. You may need to look at several images and compare the information listed in those images to make this determination. Keep in mind for multiple surnames and record types.
When you have located records that may be appropriate to your ancestor, download a copy of the record, or extract the information needed. You may then contact a librarian on-site or remotely to inquire about the record.