Access the Fire Insurance Records Database

Fire insurance survey of dwelling, "west side of Truxton Street, in the rear of house no. 23 Perry Street" [318 South Fawn Street], for Charles Williams, 21 June 1834 .Franklin Fire Insurance Co. Records (policy 0: 979), Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

At the Historical Society of Pennsylvania are two 19th-century fire insurance company collections, those of the Franklin Fire Insurance Company and the Pennsylvania Fire Insurance Company. These two companies preserved large numbers of manuscript surveys of insured properties, particularly valuable in that more than two-thirds of the surveys are illustrated with annotated plans. Their surveys describe properties mainly in the Philadelphia area, but also in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, and extending in some cases as far north as New York, as far south as Virginia, and westward into the Pittsburgh area.

Each property surveyed is described verbally in several paragraphs, and graphically usually in a sketch with walls represented by single-line widths, but with dimensions often noted. (The Franklin surveys more often have a ground story plan, but the Pennsylvania Company's surveys, not quite as frequent, also give plans of upper stories.) About half of the total number of surveys in this collection have been entered into a searchable database, comprising some 28,000 records.

The database is searchable from any of a variety of fields, which remain abbreviarted in the search interface, but a description of the fields and the rules used in data entry can be called up now into a second window that will remain available to you on your desktop as you conduct your search.

From your search you will get some fielded data, but to see the originals at HSP you will need three bits of data: the name of the company, the box or book number (or "0" for loose), and the policy or survey number (interchangeable for these companies). Happy hunting.



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From here you can specify a search of the database. The results of the search will be returned as a "hit list."


Fire insurance survey of dwelling on School House Lane and Township Line Road [Wissahickon Avenue], Germantown, for E. W. Clark, 23 Dec. 1859 (resurveyed 1869), Pennsylvania Fire Insurance Co. Records (policy 26: 18901), Historical Society of Pennsylvania.


Fire insurance survey of dwelling, 1305 Locust Street for John McCrea, 16 November 1850. Franklin Fire Insurance Co. Records (policy 100: 12741, Historical Society of Pennsylvania

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