There are several reasons to learn about your family history — especially if you come from a long line of local residents. Whether you are conducting research for an assignment, putting together a creative gift, or are simply curious about your ancestry’s involvement within the community, local archives are the ideal gateway from the past to the present. Think about it — local archives act as a collective bridge that draws insight into how the “days of old” shaped not only family members you may have heard of or faintly remember, but you as an individual — not to mention the town, county, or state you may occupy.

Let’s take a closer look at how local archives can help you learn more about your family history and how Chester County History Center has been helping area residents discover fascinating things about where they came from:

Your Burning Questions, Answered

Whether you are looking to find out more about your great-grandparents specifically or have a specific slice of your family history in mind, the Chester County History Center has the document and photo resources you need to enrich your understanding. The Chester County Archives feature public records that date back to 1682, including everything from birth certificates to taxes and other historically-significant documentation that helps you weave a story together, address aspects of your family history that pique your interest, and serve as a jumping-off point in learning about individuals and organizations you may have never even considered!

Make Newfound Discoveries

While you may start with a few members of your family or certain details that can kickstart your research, one of the most appealing opportunities with our extensive collections is the potential to discover something brand new about your family. Perhaps someone in your family was a decorated veteran or sports legend, and you had no idea. With our resources, you have the ability to find out even more about your heritage, as well. And it doesn’t always have to be printed text, either. From portraits of notable figures in the civil rights movement to photograph albums, our photo archives are a collective window into Chester County’s rich history. We also have copies of handwritten diaries and other artifacts that help tell the story of the area.

Family Members’ Involvement in the Community

One of the most rewarding aspects of researching local archives is gaining insight into your lineage’s ties to the local community. From property records to group portraits of some of the area’s most prominent organizations, researching your family not only tells the story of where you came from but your surroundings. 

This can help you develop a new appreciation for where members of your family hailed from and how they informed who and how you — as well as your neighbors — are today. From recreational leagues and church groups to local government and civil rights activism, facets of local society were supported by a diverse range of denizens — including members of your family.

Research Your Family History at Chester County History Center

Chester County History Center’s archive specialists are eager to assist you with your next research project or fact-finding adventure. We believe that preserving and learning from the past is the best way to build a bright future — and we are excited you’re ready to take part in it. For more information, contact us today!

One Response

  1. Researching Leeper-McKee family line. Looking for a marriage record of James Leeper and Margaret (McKee) Snodgrass. Margaret was first married to William Snodgrass.
    James and Margaret married around 1742-3 most likely in Chester Co., and both their parents lived in Chester. James’ parents being Andrew and Elizabeth Leeper and Margaret’s parents being Alexander and Martha (Creag-Craig) McKee. Margaret and James are both listed in Alexander McKee’s will.

    Also, looking for a birth record for James and Margaret’s son, Samuel Leeper born 1847-48 in Chester or York Co. PA. And Samuel and his wife, Margaret Nancy Clark married about 1772-73.

    Would like to know if Martha (Creag-Craig) McKee had a will. She died after 1764 as she is listed as one of her husband’s executors in his will. She declined being an executor on 28 Feb 1764.

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