Blog Posts

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  1. 2019 Blogs
  2. 2018 Blogs

Indicted for Selling Liquor without a License: Graphing the Temperance Movement in Chester County

PetitionBetween 1681-1890, there were 1,286 criminal cases involving the sale of liquor in Chester County. What happens when those cases are organized chronologically? In this month’s blog post from the Chester County Archives, staff uses data from the Court of Quarter Sessions Indictment Papers to study the impact the temperance movement had on Chester County. 

Published August 1, 2019


A Tale of Two Orphans: Children's Lives as Told in County Records

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In this month’s blog post from the Chester County Archives, the staff explores the lives of two children by studying public government records. Although the same age and located in the same geographic area, Jane Hoopes and Temperance Howard had vastly different life experiences in Chester County during the nineteenth century. One benefited from her family’s financial success, while the other struggled to leave the County Poorhouse. Read their stories by clicking the image to the left. 

Published July 1, 2019


James Monroe Document in the Chester County Archives

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One of the best things about working with government records is their authentic representation of everyday life in American history. The records at the Chester County Archives typically don't highlight big names or important events. Rather, they reflect the unexceptional actions of ordinary life (paying taxes, testifying in court, purchasing property, settling estates, applying for licenses, etc). It's not every day a county archivist discovers something signed by a United States President, so you can imagine the surprise of former archivist Jack McCarthy when he discovered an 1812 record signed by then Secretary of State James Monroe. Read more in this month's blog post. Click the image to the left. 

Published June 1, 2019


A Will of One's Own

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The Chester County Archives' collection of Will & Administration files span from 1714 to 1923, but it contains very few wills written by married women prior to 1848. Before Pennsylvania passed the Married Women's Property Act of 1848, a married woman typically could not write a legal will. Read more about this law with some collection highlights in this month's blog.

Published March 26, 2019 


The Story of Henrietta Cummings and Charles Cassidy

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In this month's blog post we discuss how the Civil War impacted a young couple from Southeastern PA. Henrietta Cummings of West Chester and Charles Cassidy of Haverford got engaged in January 1863. Less than a year later, Cassidy marched off to war as a Private in Company E of the 25th Regiment of the United States Colored Troops. Unfortunately, no correspondence between the young couple is known to exist, but we can share their story thanks to court records preserved at the Chester County Archives. Click the image to the left. 

Published February 28, 2019 


Spelling Variations in Public Records

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Genealogists have probably come across various spellings of their family's surname. Common names like Smith, Roberts, and Bernard can be spelled numerous ways, and that can make searching government records difficult. Read this month's blog post about spelling variations in public records. Click the image to the left. 

Published January 29, 2019