information for Pennsylvania that you think would be helpful and it is
not listed here? If so please let me know
will add to this list.
Access to these files is through an index that is available through the
These files are guardianship proceedings.
It appears that PA law then (and perhaps now, who knows) required the
appointment of a guardian under the supervision of the Orphan's Court
for the estate of any minor who came into money, whether the minor's
parents were still alive or not.
It is not always mentioned in the petition, but the guardian is often a
collateral relative, either an adult sibling or an uncle or aunt, and
the attorney who prepares the document is sometimes (but less
frequently) a family member. Sometimes, the guardian needs to post a
bond, and the bond is often posted by a collateral relative, but the
relationship is not always stated.
Each file had a petition for guardianship in it; some also had the
guardian's accounting; some had papers discharging the guardian.
These files were a genealogical gold mine. You could find: siblings,
parent-child relationships; an illegitimate child (and the child's
putative father): the date of death of a child ;and links between two
One may be able to access these files in the following way.
(Philadelphia is accessible) First, get the microfilm from LDS; look up
the surname. The index will provide a year, a docket number, and a file
number, so it will look something like 5438, docket 3, 1933. Write to
the Orphan's Court, giving them the name of the case, the year, the
docket, and the file number, as well as the date you would like to
examine the files.
In theory, these are NOT probate indices. There is a separate index to
testate administrations (deaths where the decedent left a will), and a
separate index to intestate administrations (deaths without a will).
However, one of the references in this index was for a simple intestate
succession administration. There was no guardianship involved, so no
reason for it to be in the Orphan's Court index, but there it was.
You may not see an Orphan's court record for a child who's mother died
(by Pa. law she didn't really own anything anyway) but when the father
died they appointed a guardian to protect the child's interest.
If the mother remarried, which often happened fast, then any property
she owned became the property of her husband. They usually didn't
appoint the step father as the guardian since his interest was thought
to be contrary to the childs.
The guardian was usually a relative but not always, often an older
brother. If the child was under 14 the court appointed the guardian, if
he was between 14 and 16 he could select his own guardian, those over
16 were thought to be old enough to manage their own affairs.
In searching in Orphan's court you need to search for a number of
years, often the estate would sit until the kids were old enough to get
married, and then their would be a complaint in Orphan's Court saying
that so and so, the daughter of so and so, who recently married so and
so, begs the court to resolve this matter. Often the newly weds wanted
the money from the estate to buy property and often that was just
before they left for the frontier where land was cheapest.
Ships to Philadelphia Books
Author: Pennsylvania. Navigation Commission for the Delaware River and
Its Navigable Tributaries.
Title: Registers of vessel arrivals and clearances, 1784-1791,
1793-1797, 1802-1840, 1843-1956.
Description: 41.5 cubic ft. (34 volumes).
Notes: A record of shipping at the port of Philadelphia. The listings
are signed by the vessel's captain and for the most part show the name,
classification, nationality (from 1902 onward), and oftentimes the
tonnage of the vessel; the port of arrival or clearance; the name of
the owner or consignee; and the names of the pilot and captain. A brief
description of the vessel's cargo is usually given as well.
The following indices can be used to retrieve data from the registers:
Index Of Vessel Arrivals, 1862-1879, 1881-1882, 1884-1890, 1894-1937,
Index Of Vessel Clearances, 1862-1863, 1879, 1882-1884, 1892-1894,
1899-1907. 1915, and Index Of Coastal Vessel Arrivals, 1873-1878.
Indexed externally, alphabetically by name of vessel. Microfilm for the
years 1784-1800 available from the Division of Archives and
Manuscripts, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Request
information on purchase price.
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Division of Archives and
Manuscripts, P.O. Box 1026, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1026
Author: Eyre, Manuel, 1777-1845.
Title: Business papers, 1795-1847 (bulk 1800-1805).
Description: 720 items.
Notes: Manuel Eyre, a Philadelphia merchant of Quaker ancestry, was
born in 1777. His father, Manuel Eyre, Sr., (1736-1805) was a
shipwright in Kensington and a colonel in the Contintental Army. He
obtained his training in the counting house of Henry Pratt and Abraham
Kintzing and in 1803 joined with Charles Massey, Jr., (b. 1778) to form
the mercantile firm of Eyre & Massey, a partnership that lasted
until Eyre's death in 1845.
The firm of Eyre & Massey owned over 20 vessels, ranging in size
from ships to sloops, and traded around the world, mounting voyages to
Europe, the Caribbean, South America, China, India and the Pacific
Islands. Manuel Eyre also served on the Philadelphia City Council and
was a founding director of the Schuylkill Navigation Company (1816) and
the Second Bank of the United States (1816). After 1820 he gradually
retired from active trading and devoted much of his time to
agriculture. He owned two farms outside the city and three in Delaware.
He was the founder of Delaware City, Del., at the mouth of the
Chesapeake & Delaware Canal, buying the entire site in 1828,
erecting public buildings and dividing it into lots.
The records consist of seven lots of Manuel Eyre's business papers,
spanning the years, 1795-1847.
Accession 994 (part) consists of shipping papers (1801-1802) for the
ships OLIVE BRANCH and CHARLESTON PACKET and the brigs ARISTIDES, FAME,
and NANCY trading with La Rochelle, Havre, Charleston and the West
Indies. They include accounts, cargo manifests, bills of lading,
outfitter's bills and agreements with captains.
Accession 1003 (part) includes additional shipping papers (1797-1815)
for the ship OLIVE BRANCH, brigs ARISTIDES and NANCY, sloop
PERSEVERANCE and schooner EUTAW trading primarily with Hamburg and the
West Indies. These are also 20 letters (1796-1803), mostly from Troup & Brown at Port au Prince concerning trade with Haiti, Amsterdam,
and Charleston and 6 items (1797-1806) re Eyre's property in
Burlington, N.J. A separate group of 38 items contains accounts and
inventories of the Kensington Lead Works, established in 1832 by
Franklin Eyre, and correspondence from manager Thomas Janvier to Manuel
Accession 1063 (part) contains additional shipping papers, checks,
bills of lading, and customs house lists of goods imported (1801-1823).
Accession 1097 (part) comprises 43 items, including a manifest for the
OLIVE BRANCH (1803), correspondence re orders, accounts payable,
promissory notes, bank drafts, and bills of lading. There are two
agreements to rent properties in Delaware City (1827) and Philadelphia
Accession 1144 (part) consists of 5 items (1796-1835): a letter of
captain William Brewster on coffee sold (1796), Eyre's accounts with
the firm of Eyre & Massey (1806), a letter of Thomas Janvier
introducing William Peterson, an invoice of William L, Hodge to Eyre
(1835), and a freight list of the ASISTIDES bound for Charleston.
Accession 1215 (part) consists of advertising circulars.
Accession 1247 (part) consists of a stock certificate for 100 shares of
the Peoples Steam Navigation Company(1833).
Described in: John Beverley Riggs, A GUIDE TO MANUSCRIPTS IN THE
ELEUTHERIAN MILLS HISTORICAL LIBRARY, SUPPLEMENT CONTAINING ACCESSIONS
FOR THE YEARS 1966 THROUGH 1975 (Greenville, Del.: Eleutherian Mills
Historical Library, 1978).
Massey, Charles, b. 1778.
Charleston Packet (Ship).
Eyre & Massey.
Kensington Lead Works (Philadelphia, Pa.).
Hagley Museum and Library, Manuscripts and Archives Department,
298 Buck Road East,
Greenville, Del. 19807
of Ships in to Philadelphia
For anyone in the Philadelphia, PA area looking for pictures of ships,
the FHC in Broomall, Delaware Co., PA has a copy of the Michael Anuta
book "Ships of Our Ancestors".
The center allows you to make photocopies @ $.10 per copy.
The FHC is located on Paxon(Paxton?) Hollow Road just off route 320.
the information from the INS
The INS in Washington has files on people who were nationalized after
Sept. 27, 1906. If any of your family were naturalized before Sept. 27,
1906 then those records are housed at the courthouse in the county seat
where the nationalization occured.
The request is under the Freedom of information Act (FOIA), it takes
about 6 months to get a return, also bring a FOIA request, you don't
have to state a relationship.
The only neccessary information is Full name, Date and Place of birth
(Exact or Approximate). Any other info will greatly speed the process.
Here are the instructions as of June 1997
1. check box a
2. check box b
Fill all Name of Requester, Address, City, State, Zip Code
(Ignore the signature in this section)
3. check box a
4. on the first two lines write: Declaration of Intention, Petition for
Naturalization, Naturalization Certificate
on the next line write: Genealogical Research
5. Fill in any box you have information for, the more the better but
only full name, date and place of birth (exact or approximate) are
necessary; any other aid in the search. [for this info, with regards to
names, use the name from the SSDI, this is generally the name the
individual became naturalized with]
6. check box c and write BORN PRIOR TO 1897. If the individual was born
after 1897 write SEE ATTACHED PAGE and include a copy of a death
certificate or obituary. Lastly, sign your name and include you phone
Mail the form in an envelope to:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Vermont Service Center
75 Lower Welden St.
Saint Albans, Vermont 05479
You should receive a letter from the INS/FOIA acknowledging receipt,
the letter will have a CO# on it that you will need if you should call.
Sponsors then did the same as now - Sponsors tell the INS that
they will be financially responsible for the welfare ($ or a job) of
the people that they are asking the government to admit.
In 1882, Congress passed the first laws limiting the people
allowed in the states. This act kept out criminals, those considered "insane" and those likely to become public charges. Also by 1882, there was an
agreement to keep out Chinese immigrants - this was called the
Oriental Exclusion Act. By 1907 there was an agreement that
limited the number of Japanese laborers to the US and that was the year
that 1.3 million people from all over were admitted.
Within 10 more years, Congress passed much more restrictive laws -
such as a law that required that an immigrant could at least read
and write one language. In 1921, Congress passed a quota law, limiting
the number of immigrants from each country. That law has continued to
evolve to today with the last major changes in the late 1990s from the
required during World War I. But for our purposes, because an official
in the late 1930s reported to the Congress that all those records had
previously been destroyed. So all we genealogists can find are WW2
alien registrations, and thereafter.
However, Not all of the World War I alien registrations were destroyed
the states. For example, the Kansas registrations can be seen at the
Central Plains Region branch of the National Archives, in Kansas City,
MO. Check state by state for those Alien Registrations, because they
are wonderful sources, and often
even include a photo of the person.
Marriages 1700's to present
Pa Marriages prior to 1810
An extensive list of PA marriages prior to 1810 can be found in "PA
Archives," 2nd Series, vol. 8 (and/or maybe vol. 9). Early marriages
can also be found in "PA Vital Records," Genealogical Publishing Co.,
Baltimore, MD, 1983. One or all of these have been microfilmed by the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS/Mormons) for viewing
through your nearest LDS Family History Center. Those publications are
secondary sources, they will indicate at which church the marriage took
place, and they you can go to that church's record books (primary
source) to see the actual entry.
counties have Orphan's Courts which handle Wills, estates,
guardianships, trust accountings, and marriage licenses
Bonds were required by certain colonies and states. They were posted
jointly by the prospective groom and (usually) the father or brother of
the prospective bride to compensate the state for expenses incurred if
the marriage was nullified. Bonds sometimes are the only existing
record of a particular marriage
They originated in England and were used, for example, if either of the
parties was under age. As well as getting permission of the parents,
the bridegroom brought a friend with him and they might have to post a
bond to forfeit a sum of money if the marriage was found to be contrary
to canon (church) law. An English source says that sometimes the name
of the friend was fictitious and sometimes the bridegroom was not one
of the two bondsmen.