Source Information Pennsylvania, U.S., WPA Church Archives, 1937-1940 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: Congregations, 1937–1940, and undated. Microfilm, 298–299, 3258–3313. Records of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Record Group 13. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

About Pennsylvania, U.S., WPA Church Archives, 1937-1940

This database contains an inventory of church records held by various congregations in Pennsylvania for the years 1937–1940.

Historical Background

One of many projects undertaken by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s in Pennsylvania was the Pennsylvania Historical Records Survey, which included an inventory of church archives and records. WPA workers recorded such details as the church’s official name, addresses over time, founder, history, and original and current pastor or rabbi.

They also made an inventory of books and records held by the church. According to the PHMC’s description of these records, these included “administrative records and minute books, and information on Sunday Schools, published and unpublished histories, directories, registers of baptisms, births, deaths, marriages, membership, and cemeteries.”

Using These Records

This database does not contain the original church records, but it does include the WPA inventories, which can tell you where a church was located, what records it had, and where the records were held. The survey was not a comprehensive inventory of all church records in Pennsylvania, but it can be a valuable resource for determining whether records for a congregation might exist.