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Advanced Help for Searching Archives Finding Aids

This version of Google will limit its results to only the online finding aids and reasearch guides of the Pennsylvania State Archives.

The online finding aids (descriptions and listings) for our holdings are extensive, and sometimes go into great detail. However, be aware of the following caveats when conducting internet word searches directed towards these files.

  • Most of the finding aids are not at a sufficient level of detail to list each and every person's name. However, a small percentage are, so it might be worthwhile to try a search. If you get no results, do not be discouraged. Please do not assume we have no information about your individual. We may actually have a lot.

  • Instead, broaden your phrasing to focus on a topic or a type of record rather than an individual's name. For instance, instead of using "Frank Brennan" try "Coal miners".

  • Please be advised that we recently removed outdated pages from our site. Google may still have references to these pages indexed, causing them to still show in the search. If you receive a 404 error informing you that the page you requested is no longer here, and believe that you received this message in error, please contact the PHMC webmaster at

  • The actual images of items (maps, indexes, surveys, etc.) that have been digitally scanned and placed on our Web site may or may not show up in the results of your searches. Those that have cursive handwriting will almost certainly not be found in this way. However, images containing typed or neatly printed words and names have a good chance of appearing.

  • All of our digitally scanned listings and documents are in Adobe PDF format. The Adobe Acrobat viewer software is available free of charge from Adobe's Web site.

In addition to searching for words and phrases with this search engine, you may also with to consult any of our narrative online research guides that are pertinent to your topic.