The University of Pennsylvania’s University Archives and Records Center has available, FREE online listing of landowners in the West Philadelphia and the greater Philadelphia area at the time of the American Revolution. The record reflects ownership as of October 1777. Even if your family did not own land in Philadelphia as of 1777, they may have acquired property years later. If you know that property you might be able to figure who owned it back in 1777.
The scope of information includes the owner’s name, township name in the county of Philadelphia, the year the land was acquired, plus a listing of the source of the information, such a deed books. The listing of owners is in alphabetical order using the surname, no search box, but rather just scroll down. Next to it the township name, the date it was acquired, the size of the property, source identification, some with the owner’s occupation and even in some cases the name of a labeled street by the property in 1791 and / or it modern street name. You will see how many people owned multiple parcels of land.
When you click on a person of interest, besides the listing of the information on the property there is a small map with that property outlines, the owner’s name along with the other neighboring properties of those owners. If there is a modern address for that property, you might just locate a current photo (Google Map) of that property (with a house or building on it). It might even be the same house once owned by the 1777 owner. Further researching of the Colonial Philadelphia families could provide more information.
A map is also done to help locate these properties with labeled townships such as Germantown, Brockley and Oxford to name a few.
If you even had ancestors in the Philadelphia area, especially West Philadelphia, this site is a must to investigate.
Photos: Mary Armitt acquired from her husband, John’s estate in 1762, Mary died in 1791 – its modern address is 108 Front St – S. and photo of 108 Front St today; and John Palmer’s property–he was a bricklayer and the house is on 230 Lombard St today.
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