For Genealogical Societies and Libraries
We are well aware that you, as a genealogy librarian, must spend most of your funds on local resources, but it has been estimated that more than 17% of those who are researching their distant family history across the U.S. have ancestors who came through Pennsylvania. As you know, families from eastern Pennsylvania migrated to western PA and fanned westward from there. They crossed into Ohio and kept on going, or they floated down the Ohio River into Kentucky and also went west.
Ancestor Tracks is filling a niche of interest to your patrons: we are publishing resources documenting early Pennsylvania landowners which will allow researchers with Pennsylvania roots to follow ties to the land to their immigrant ancestors.
Some of our most valuable research sources are the Warrant Registers for all 67 Pennsylvania counties (each ledger started its entries when the county was created, with Bucks, Chester, Lancaster, and Philadelphia Warrant Registers commencing in 1733, while the Lackawanna County ledger does not start until 1878 when it was carved from Luzerne County). The entries in each ledger were entered chronologically and then roughly alphabetically. Prior to 1733, land owners were recorded in the “Old Rights Index” for Bucks, Chester, and Philadelphia Counties and the “Original Purchases Register” listing those who received their land directly from William Penn starting in 1682. All 70 of these Warrant Registers, which we purchased from the Pennsylvania State Archives, are available from Ancestor Tracks on a single flash drive.
Separate from the county Warrant Registers which list names of applicants (warrantees) and those who received the final title to tracts from the colony or state (patentees), Patent Indexes chronologically list each tract as an owner received final title from Pennsylvania authorities. Tract Name Indexes allow researchers to uncover the individual who named the tract when he or she received the patent (final title). This index is alphabetical by tract name. For more information on using Warrant Registers, click here. Once the title to a land tract passed from Pennsylvania authorities to private individuals, all subsequent conveyances were recorded in the county as it existed at that time. Researchers must then determine jurisdiction of the county at the time of those sales and research in deeds filed in county courthouses.
We know you want to service your patrons who are researching their ancestors who migrated through Pennsylvania or stayed there, but many librarians are reluctant to purchase flash drives or CDs because they pose security issues, are difficult to control, and often “walk off.” For that reason, we offer the following possibilities:
- Each .pdf file can be scanned for security and then saved onto the hard drive of a single computer so that it is available on demand. For example, you might put all of the Warrant Registers onto one computer, all of the Patent Register Indexes on a different computer; and all of the Tract Name Indexes on a third computer (or all 3 on the same computer if that works better for you). We ask that you honor our copyright and purchase separate flash drives if you save several copies of the same files on more than one computer just as you would purchase more than one copy of a book for your shelves.
- If you would prefer to use the files across your library, or throughout your district, we offer site licenses which allow you to load the CDs onto your LAN or server. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Each site license is reasonable, based on the number of your library patrons, and is a one-time purchase (renewals not required).
- If you prefer not to save the files onto your computers, you could check out flash drives to your patrons the same way the DAR Library in Washington, D.C. does: keep the flash drives behind the desk and ask to hold the patron’s Drivers License until she or he returns it. There is no special software required to view the files–they can all be read using the free Adobe Acrobat program or any photo processing software.
- We gladly accept Purchase Orders.