Department of Records - City of Philadelphia
RECORDS : Archives

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the hours of the Archives?

The Archives are open 9:00 AM-4:30 PM, Monday - Friday, with the exception of holidays. Closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Holiday list


2. Where is the Archives located and what is the telephone number?
The Archives is located at 548 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA  19123.  The telephone number is  215-685-9401.


3. Is there information on the Internet for the Archives?
The Archives home page contains contact information and other administrative info.  It also contains links to the collections described in PHILS (Philadelphia Information Locator Service) that are located in the Archives.  These links contain a wealth of information on the type of records located in the Archives, how to request them and how to search for them.

4. What types of records can I access directly at the Archives?
The Reading Room at the Archives has microfilm, paper and computer indices for direct access by customers.  Microfilm readers and reader/printers are available for use.  There is no fee for use of the readers.  Use of the reader/printers is $.25 per 15 minutes and copies are $.75 per page. 


Generally, Reading Room records include:

  • Births & Deaths July 1, 1860-June 30, 1915
  • Marriages July 1, 1860-December 31, 1915
  • City Directories 1785-1935
  • Business Directories 1869-1916
  • Naturalizations 1793-1930
  • Grantee/Grantor (Deeds) 1683-1955
  • Cemetery Returns 1803-June 30, 1860 (recorded burials only)
  • Philadelphia Cemeteries
  • Minister's Returns 1860-1885
  • Physicians, Undertakers and Midwives
  • Street Address Changes

5. Does the Archives have birth, death and marriage records for outside of Philadelphia County?
The Archives maintains birth, death and marriage registrations for Philadelphia County only.

6. How do I request to view records at the Archives?
When you visit the Archives Reading Room, see the receptionist.  You will be asked to sign in and fill out a Registration Slip on which you can request to view records.  A Fee Schedule is displayed there.  The Archives accepts cash and checks/money orders made out to "City of Philadelphia".

7.  Do I need to schedule an appointment?
For extensive or complex research requests that require staff assistance and that also requires more time and in-depth assistance, we suggest that you contact us in advance of your visit to schedule an appointment.   This will help us to service your needs more effectively.


We also ask that researchers submit their requests no later than 4:30 PM so that we can complete your request before closing.


Thank you for your cooperation and consideration.


8. How do I request copies of records?
You can make copies of records from microfilm in the Reading Room at the Archives for $.75 per page.  You can also request copies of records ($1.00 per page, $2.00 minimum) while at the Archives.  The Archives staff will assist.

You can request a search of records, including cost of a certificate copy, by mail.  Submit a written request with as much detail as possible (i.e. exact names and exact month/year) along with a check or money order made out to "City of Philadelphia" and a self-addressed stamped envelope (Letter size 4-1/8" x 9-1/2") .  See Questions 11 and 12 below for information on fees.  Your request will be filled in six to eight weeks.  Do not send cash.

9. How do I find out if you have the records I am looking for before I send in my request and payment?

Go to the Archives home page and follow the links to the records you are looking for.  Details are provided about the dates and types of records located at the Archives.  Helpful information and answers to FAQ's are also provided.  If you still cannot find what you are looking for, call the Archives at 215-685-9401, or visit the Archives in person.

10. Where do I go when the records I need are not at the Archives?

Subject  Location  Phone #
Births prior to July 1, 1860  Consult baptismal records 
Deaths prior to 1803 Consult church and cemetery records
Births after June 1915
Deaths after June 1915
State Building

PA Department of Health

110 North 8th Street
Philadelphia, PA (where forms can be located)
724-656-3100 (order by VISA)
Marriages prior to July 1, 1860 Consult church records 
Marriages September 30, 1885 to June 19, 1915 Available at the Archives (in person microfilm lookup only)
Marriage License Bureau
City Hall, Room 415
Broad & Market
Marriages after June 19, 1915 Marriage License Bureau
City Hall, Room 415
Broad & Market 
Wills & Administrations 1682 to the present
(To obtain a Registration #)
City Hall, Room 180
Broad & Market
Census Records
Passenger Lists
National Archives
9th & Chestnut St (inside Post Office)
Historical Society of Pennsylvania 1300 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA.
Divorces City Hall, Room 266
Broad & Market
Deeds after Jan 7, 1952
Mortgages after Dec 31, 1963
City Hall, Room 154
Broad & Market
Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania 2207 Chestnut Street.
Philadelphia, PA.

If what you are looking for is not listed here, call the Archives at 215-685-9401 or go to the Archives home page for more information.

11. Can the Archives answer any questions I might have about Philadelphia and/or Philadelphia government services?

No, the Archives can only answer questions about the city government records that are part of its holdings.

12. If I need a birth, death or marriage certificate, what information do I need to provide?
The Archives needs the month and year of birth, death or marriage, along with the names of the parties.  For birth records, the names of the parents are also required.  Mailed requests for copies of certificates cost $10.00, which includes a simple search.  In-person copies from microfilm reader/printers cost $1.00 per page, $2.00 minimum.  If exact month and year are not known, or exact names are not known, provide the date range and name information and a search can be performed (see Question #13 below). 

13. If I need a birth, death or marriage certificate and don't know the exact date of the event, what would the fee be?
If you provide possible name(s) or a date range for a birth, death or marriage, we need to perform a search.  Searches cost $10.00 per name per 3-month period being searched.  The cost of the certificate copy is included.  For example, if you know the birth took place in 1861, the one-year search would cost $40.00.  If you are not sure of the name and give two names to search for, the one-year search would cost $80.00.  To see the Records Department's Fee Schedule, go to the Archives home page. 

14. How do I request a Deed?
Copies of deeds can be requested by mail or in person for 1683 through 1955 if you know the book and page number.  The fee is $2.00 per page.  A deed search can be performed for $20.00 per hour.  If you do not know the book and page number or if you are looking for a deed dated after 1955, start at City Hall, Room 154 (Phone 215-686-2292).

15. Are fees waived for veterans or their dependents?
We do not waive fees for veterans or their dependents.