Gather, preserve, and share the history and heritage of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg
The Archives is located in the Cardinal Keeler Center, situated in the Diocesan Center complex at 4800 Union Deposit Road, Harrisburg, PA.
The archives facilities include a research room, a sixteen-window display area, and a climate-controlled vault, which provides a secure environment in which to preserve records and artifacts. The Archives houses over 130 collections and maintains a library of approximately 3500 volumes and a wide range of sacred items and artifacts from the Diocese. Reference materials include the annual Kenedy’s The Official Catholic Directory, with volumes from 1890 to the present.
Open: Monday-Friday 9:00AM-3:00PM
Closed: Holy Days and National Holidays
The mission of the diocesan Archives is to gather, preserve, and share the history and heritage of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg.
The primary responsibility of the Archives is to preserve the administrative papers of the bishops of the diocese, including diocesan secretariats and offices.
The holdings of the Archives include parish histories, historical photographs, records and artifacts of closed parishes, records of diocesan organizations, a Catholic history reference library, Catholic heritage oral histories, videotapes/audio tapes/DVDs relating to the Diocese and the faith, the Catholic Witness on microfilm, parish sacramental records to date on microfilm, and early parish sacramental books.
The Archives, as a ministry of evangelization in today’s Church, promotes the use of its resources to strengthen spiritual lives and provide accurate documentation of the historical Church.
The research room is open to anyone interested in Roman Catholicism and the history and heritage of the diocese. History-minded individuals and students from nearby college and universities are especially invited to access the book collection. Although the research room is open daily, appointments are suggested to assure that schedules enable staff to be available for assistance.
Support and outreach services to parishes are available through parish history research, parish archives workshops, retention schedules for parish records, oral history programs, Catholic heritage displays, and visits by parochial school students to the Archives.
To obtain further information about these services and to schedule programs or visits, call (717) 657-4804, or email the Archives.
The Archives welcomes and encourages donations of books, photographs, sacramental and other sacred items, personal papers, and other materials that document the history and presence of the Catholic faith, particularly within the diocese. Prospective donors should contact the Archives regarding materials to be donated.
“Faith tends by its very nature to express herself in artistic forms and historical testimonies having an intrinsic potential of evangelization and cultural dimension in front of which the Church is called to lend its maximum attention.”
–Pope John Paul II, March 25, 1993
The Archives of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg has a genealogy research policy responsive to family members with Catholic ancestors. Researchers seeking genealogical information about their Catholic ancestors who resided within the Diocese can request research by mail/email, or, if they wish to be present when the research is being done, can schedule an on-site visit to the Archives at the Cardinal Keeler Conference Center. It should be noted that on-site visits are subject to time constraints that may interfere with the completion of the genealogical research in a timely manner. The actual search of sacramental records can be done only by Archives staff due to privacy considerations.
Parish sacramental records, primarily baptisms and marriages, are preserved on microfilm. Only records older than 70 years can be accessed for genealogy research. This time period is in accordance with guidelines of Federal Census records, as well as a recommendation of the Association of Catholic Diocesan Archivists. In addition, any record relating to an adoption is subject to the privacy rules of Pennsylvania state law.
Genealogy research is done by searching rolls of microfilm indexed chronologically by parish, as the Archives has no database or computer indexing. It is essential, therefore, that information provided in the research request be sufficient to enable the diocesan genealogist to link a family name to a parish or locality within the diocese. There is a fee for all genealogical research.
The Archives also provides copies of pertinent parish histories and photographs, upon request.
For more information on genealogical research or sacramental records, please contact the Archives by phone at (717) 657-4804, ext. 609, mail (Archives, Diocese of Harrisburg, 4800 Union Deposit Road, Harrisburg, PA 17111-3710), or email.