The special collections library and archives of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (www.hsp.org) should be high on the list of repositories to visit for genealogists researching Pennsylvania ancestors.
With 21 million manuscripts and graphic items in their collections on Locust Street in Philadelphia, finding items related to your Pennsylvania ancestor can seem like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. However, there is ample assistance on-site for help in starting the search, as well as online catalogs to explore prior to your arrival.
I visited the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) in April 2018. Upon entering, I told the reference librarian that my great grandfather, Simon Zweighaft (b. 1845, Gostynin, Poland) and his wife, Sophia Hirschberg (b. 1844, Pilica, Poland) were Jewish immigrants from Poland, arriving in Philadelphia around 1867. Simon was a real estate speculator (another blog post needed for that), but on this visit to HSP I was primarily interested in learning what I could about his other business venture, his jewelry business. The evidence of his business dealings I had to date was pretty meager:
- this is the first time I've seen any sort of a description of the physical shop plus it confirms that the shop was at the same address as the family home
- Sophia was running the shop (just as she had stated on the 1880 census, although until I saw these cards, I hadn't really considered her as the principal before)
- Sophia used her maiden name on the cards. I have no idea why...more research needed!
- and last but not least, the cards themselves are truly lovely, with beautiful artwork and still-vibrant colors despite being around 140 years old
|Sophia Hirschberg Zweighaft|