Q: How can I discover what materials are in CHRC’s collection?
Q: How can I access CHRC’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 CHRC 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 CHRC offer monetary appraisals?
A: Researchers are encouraged to peruse the website for summaries of information about the various collections and materials held by the CHRC. 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 CHRC for specific inquiries.
Information about the various materials and subjects documented in our collections are highlighted on our blog, “From the Archives“.
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.
CHRC 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 CHRC staff.
A: Finding aids for the bishops’ papers and some other manuscript collections are available on our website. Through our Omeka site we have made available a number of digitized material, including the over-sized graphics collections and some pamphlets, newspapers, and correspondence.
CHRC has also partnered with the Digital Library @ Villanova University. Falvey Library has digitized 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. CHRC materials at the Digital Library @ Villanova University can be found here.
The Philadelphia Roman Catholic Diocesan Newspapers are available online at findmypast.com. The records are indexed and keyword searchable. The search is free; however, to view the records a subscription to Findmypast is required.
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 CHRC for specific inquiries.
A: Sacramental (baptismal and marriage) records up until 1917 have been digitized and are available through findmypast.com. Records from 1918-1945 can be obtained through the CHRC. All records after 1945 must be obtained from the individual parishes. For more information visit our research request page.
Also, please note that CHRC does not hold death or burial records, with two exceptions: Holy Trinity: Death Registers: 1790-1836, 1848-1872 and Old St. Mary’s: Burial Registers: 1823-1878; Funeral Registers: 1856-1874; Death Registers: 1837-1856 (Lists cause of death)
A: Although CHRC has some administrative materials concerning Archdiocesan schools as well as information regarding the history of some educational institutions, CHRC 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 CHRC 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.
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. 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.
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. We do not hold indexes for historical or genealogical purposes. Researchers will need to provide an exact or near exact date for staff to locate specific articles or information. However, Philadelphia Roman Catholic Diocesan Newspapers are available online at findmypast.com. The records are indexed and keyword searchable. The search is free; however, to view the records a subscription to Findmypast is required.
CHRC does 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.
A: In addition to serving as the archives of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the CHRC 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 CHRC, please contact us to discuss the types of material you have, identify which are appropriate for preservation in the CHRC and to arrange transfer of the material.
A: CHRC 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.