ARIAS FAQ -- Frequently Asked Questions
 

 

1. I am having difficulty navigating ARIAS. How shall I begin?

2. I encountered a card that was upside down or reversed, can it be changed?

3. I cannot find a card/record for an ancestor who I know served in one of the Wars included in the ARIAS database.

4. I cannot find the type of records I need. What types of records will you be putting online and when?

5. Will World War II or Vietnam War records be available on ARIAS? If so, when?

6. Why are some of the cards difficult to read?

7. How can I print the images displayed through ARIAS?

8. I am searching for birth, death or marriage license information but cannot find it. How can I access this information?

9. Is there more information available regarding Certificate Numbers on the Revolutionary War records?

10. How do I submit records of my ancestors for inclusion in ARIAS?

11. My ancestor served in a War included in ARIAS but was from a state other than Pennsylvania; how can I access his record?

12. I found a card that is out of order, can it be put in its proper sequence?

13. I'm on a slow dial-up connection and it takes long for all of the images to download. How can I make the process go faster?

14. Why do some indexed images have information in parentheses following the names?

15. I am confused about how to search through the alphabetical name index. How does it work?

16. What if the Civil War record I find only contains the soldier's name, military unit and a Bates' citation?

 

 

1. I am having difficulty navigating ARIAS. How do I begin?
Please read "Learn How to Best Use ARIAS on the main ARIAS page. Also, visit the primary Pennsylvania State Archives site for links to researchers who can help you with genealogical research.

2. I encountered a card that was upside down or reversed, can it be changed?
In the event an image is not displayed properly (e.g. image may be upside down) you have the ability to manipulate the image. On the header of each image, immediately to the right of the Item Number, click on "Manipulate this Image". There are five image rotation options for you to choose from:

--Flip Top to Bottom - where the image is rotated 180 degrees vertically
--Flip Left to Right - where the image is rotated 180 degrees horizontally
--Rotate Left - where the image is rotated 90 degrees to the left
--Rotate Right - where the image is rotated 90 degrees to the right Reset - where the image is returned to its original state

3. I cannot find a card/record for an ancestor who I know served in one of the Wars included in the ARIAS database.
For various reasons, cards in ARIAS do not provide a comprehensive listing of all participants in the conflicts. As stated below, the military service card files currently available on ARIAS were originally created by the staffs of the Department of Military Affairs and PHMC as part of projects to create abstract cards from the original records. The records in ARIAS are limited to, but do not include all, Pennsylvania veterans in the conflicts.

The Revolutionary War abstract card file contains transcriptions of data extracted from original records in the custody of the State Archives concerning Revolutionary War service in the Pennsylvania Militia, Pennsylvania Line, and the Navy. Note that duty after November 1783 is not considered Revolutionary War service.

The Spanish-American War card file was created by the Office of the Adjutant General in 1941 from information taken from the official records of the U.S. War Department. This information does not include all veterans who served in the War.

The World War I Card files only includes records originally submitted by veterans and their survivors who applied for service medals in accordance with the Act of April 21, 1937 P.L. 331, sections 1 and 2. If a veteran did not apply for a medal, his record would not be found in this file; however, the Pennsylvania State Archives holds a more complete World War I Veterans' Service and Compensation File (RG-19) in original form only. Archives staff will check this file for a fee of $10.00 per name; requests must be submitted by postal mail using the Mail Reference Form found on the Web at: www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/DAM/mailreflet.htm.

 

4. I cannot find the type of records I need. What types of records will you be putting online and when?
The Pennsylvania State Archives plans to continue its efforts at providing historical records online. We hope to soon have Civil War abstract cards available and future plans include records ranging from 19th-century county birth, death and marriage dockets to collections of photographs illustrating every aspect of the Pennsylvania experience. There is no definitive timetable for making these records available.

5. Will World War II or Vietnam War records be available on ARIAS? If so, when?
Any records from either of these conflicts are covered by our access restrictions, which keep these records private for 75 years.

6. Why are some of the cards difficult to read?
The original paper records were mirofilmed. From this microfilm, the images were digitized for presentation on the Web. The content, sequence and image quality among the records series will vary depending on how they were originally written/typed and subsequently filmed. Efforts were made to optimize the records for readabilty and presentation purposes for the Web.

7. How can I print the images displayed through ARIAS?
Each individual image contains an image header. The image item number is displayed in the left corner and a Print box is displayed in the upper right corner. To select an image(s) to print, click on the print box(es) of the image(s) you wish to print. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the "Print Selected Cards" button. A page will be returned which contains only the items you selected to print. You now have the option to click "Print this Page!" or return to the previous page to modify your selections. Note: When selecting "Print this Page!" the check box will be blank at this point; there is no need to re-check it to print. The print function should work properly in most modern browsers. Some older browsers may not support this functionality. If that is the case, please use your browser's built-in print capability.

8. I am searching for birth, death or marriage license information but cannot find it. How can I access this information?
Eventually we plan to place online select birth, death, and marriage records created prior to 1906. There is no definitive timetable for placing these records online. The Pennsylvania Division of Vital Records maintains records of births and deaths which occurred in Pennsylvania from 1906 to the present. Pennsylvania birth and death records prior to 1906 and marriage and divorce records are maintained at the court house in the county where the event occurred. The website for the Division of Vital Records is http://www.health.state.pa.us/hpa/apply_bd.htm.

9. Certificate Numbers on the Revolutionary War records are explained but is there a way to get a copy of the certificate?
All information from the original documents appears on the abstract cards. No additional information will be found on the original records. In some cases, a particular certificate no longer exists.

10. How do I submit records of my ancestors for inclusion in ARIAS?
ARIAS is based on original records in the custody of the State Archives. It is not meant to serve as a database of information received from outside sources.

11. My ancestor served in a War included in ARIAS but was from a state other than Pennsylvania; how can I access his record?
You should contact the official Archives of the state of record for your ancestor. A list of state archives is available at http://www.nagara.org.

12. I found a card that is out of order, can it be put in its proper sequence?
The records were microfilmed in the order in which they appear in the original files and subsequently digitized in the same sequence. Occasionally, the records were incorrectly filed before the film was prepared.

13. I'm on a slow dial-up connection and it takes long for all of the images to download. How can I make the process go faster?
Because of the increased time required to download greater quantities of images, you may wish to decrease the number of images to display at one time. This is easily accomplished by adjusting the number in the "Change Page Size" box. Selecting 50 will download all 50 at once. Selecting 10 will provide you with 1-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, and 41-50 items for selection. "Shoemaker" would be found closer to "Shor" (image 50) than "Sheets" (image 1) in the set. By selecting Change Page Size to 10, groups of images can be accessed much more quickly, especially on slower dial-up connections, than by immediately downloading all 50 images.

14. Why do some indexed images have information in parentheses following the names?
When necessary, additional information is noted in parenthesis. When card files have a front and a back image, the front is always assumed. If the back of a card is an indexed image, it is noted as "(back)". If an indexed image is a form of correspondence, it is indicated with the designation "(letter)".

15. I am confused about how to search through the alphabetical name index. How does it work?
If you are searching for an image, for example "Shoemaker", you would first select the "S" index. Within the "S" index, you would select "Sheets, Lance Maynard (back) - Shor, Leon (letter)", because "Shoemaker" would be found within this range. The items will be returned in the volume in which they were indexed. For instance, those indexed in groups of 100 will be displayed 1-100, those indexed in groups of 25 will be displayed as 1-25, etc. In this particular example, 1-50 images would now be available for you to browse.

16. What if the Civil War record I find only contains the soldier's name, military unit and a Bates' citation?
Some cards contain limited information. To obtain additional information go to the following URL:
http://name.umdl.umich.edu/ABY3439 or

http://www.hti.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=moa;idno=ABY3439.

This site provides access to the complete five volume set of Samuel Penniman Bates' "History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865," (Harrisburg, 1869-1871).

Learn How to Best Use ARIAS

Explore Historical Records through ARIAS!

 

For further information about the site and future priorities for making original records available, contact the Pennsylvania State Archives ARIAS Team

 
 

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