Q: How can I discover what materials are in PAHRC’s collection?
Q: How can I access PAHRC’s collection from off-site?
Q: Have any of the materials from the collection been digitized?
Q: What is a finding aid?
Q: What genealogical services does PAHRC offer?
Q: Do you have school records?
Q: Do you have orphanage records?
Q: Is The Catholic Standard and Times, or any other newspaper in the collection, indexed?
Q: Does the Archives accept donations of materials?
Q: Does PAHRC offer monetary appraisals?
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Q: How can I discover what materials are in PAHRC’s collection?

A: Researchers are encouraged to peruse the website for summaries of information about the various collections and materials held by the PAHRC. Information about a significant portion of the printed materials in the collection can be found by searching the online catalog. The catalog contains information about books, pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, institutions, associations, and parish history materials. Lists of our manuscript collections are available on our site as well. Staff members are currently in the process of creating online finding aids for our manuscript collections. At present, only a few finding aids are accessible online. Hard copies for most of the manuscript collections are available on site. Contact PAHRC for specific inquiries.

Information about the various materials and subjects documented in our collections are highlighted on our blog, “From the Archives“.

Q: How can I access PAHRC’s collection from off-site?

A: Researchers can search the online catalog for books, pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, institutions, associations, and parish history materials. More information is continually being added to the catalog. There are some online finding aids that researchers can access.

PAHRC offers services for researchers who are unable to visit. While there is no fee for quick reference questions that require no research,  general (non-genealogical) research questions can be handled by skilled staff members for a fee of $25.00 for up to one hour. This includes the cost of up to 10 photocopies and postage.  Extra charges will be applied for additional hours and/or copies. General research requests requiring more than 3 hours of research cannot be performed by PAHRC staff.

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Q: Have any of the materials from the collection been digitized?

A: Finding aids for the bishops’ papers and some other manuscript collections are available on our website; however, we have not, as of yet, digitized any individual materials from our collections. However, PAHRC has recently partnered with the Digital Library @ Villanova University. Falvey Library is currently in the process of digitizing materials from our collection, the majority of which relate to Irish American history. Most notable is our entire collection of Redpath’s Weekly Journal, the Fenian Brotherhood papers and materials relating to the Molly Maguires, the Nativist Riots of 1844 and the Irish Catholic Benevolent Union. PAHRC materials at the Digital Library @ Villanova University can be found here.

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Q: What is a finding aid?

A: A finding aid is a description of an archival collection, usually containing a history of the person or organization that produced the collection and an inventory of its contents. Staff members are currently in the process of creating online finding aids for our manuscript collections. At present, only a few finding aids are accessible online. Hard copies for most of the manuscript collections are available on site. Contact PAHRC for specific inquiries.

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Q: What genealogical services does PAHRC offer?

A: Because sacramental (baptismal and marriage) records are closed to the public, genealogical staff will conduct research for pre-1920 records for a fee of $25 for the first hour and $15 for each additional hour. All records after 1920 must be obtained from the individual parish. Researchers can find additional information such as a getting started guide as well as baptismal and marriage request forms under the Genealogy section of this website. Due to the amount of requests that are received, researchers can expect to receive results within 6-8 weeks.

There is no diocesan-wide index to the records. Thus, the most important piece of information you can provide is to indicate where a family lived, thereby establishing the correct parish. Also, please note that PAHRC does not hold death or burial records.

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Q: Do you have school records?

A: Although PAHRC has some administrative materials concerning Archdiocesan schools as well as  information regarding the history of some educational institutions, PAHRC in general does not have school records. The Archives has some school records, report cards mostly, for three parochial schools: St. Teresa of Avila, St. Peter Claver, and St. Philip Neri. Please contact PAHRC staff  for more information.

Researchers should contact individual parishes or schools for information.  Also, if a school or academy was run by a particular religious order, researchers should contact the order’s archives for information.

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Q: Do you have orphanage records?

A: The Archives does have some orphanage/ industrial school records, including the admission records for St. John’s Orphan Asylum dating from 1845 to 1970, St. Joseph’s House for Homeless Industrious Boys (Philadelphia) dating from 1904 to 1940, and St. Francis Industrial/Vocational School (Eddington) dating from 1888 to 1970. More information about orphanage records is provided in the Genealogy section of this website. Please note that records after 1930 will only be provided to those researchers seeking their own records who can provide proof of identity.

We do not have records for any girls’ orphanages.

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Q: Is The Catholic Standard and Times, or any other newspaper in the collection, indexed?

A: The Archives maintains a large collection of U.S. Catholic newspapers, dating primarily from the 19th century, including an almost complete run of official Philadelphia Diocesan newspapers up to the current Archdiocesan paper, The Catholic Standard and Times. None of these newspapers have been indexed for historical or genealogical purposes. Researchers will need to provide an exact or near exact date for staff to locate specific articles or information.

PAHRC does, however, have a scrapbook collection, dating from 1865-1970, with area newspaper clippings about events relating to the Archdiocese. These scrapbooks are indexed. It should be noted that the scrapbooks covering events after c. 1930 are not as comprehensive as those covering previous years.

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Q: Does the Archives accept donations of materials?

A: In addition to serving as the archives of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the PAHRC also collects the records of Catholic institutions, organizations, associations and individuals. The types of records we are interested in include financial, administrative and legal records, minute books, letters, journals and diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, artifacts, books, pamphlets and other materials that pertain to the history, development and practice of the Catholic church in Southeastern Pennsylvania..

If you are interested in donating materials to the PAHRC, please contact us to discuss the types of material you have, identify which are appropriate for preservation in the PAHRC and to arrange transfer of the material.

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Q: Does PAHRC offer monetary appraisals?

A: PAHRC is unable to offer monetary appraisals. A list of appraisers is available through the Appraisers Association of America, or refer to your local Yellow Pages.