Uncataloged Research Resources
Church Background Information
The bookcase next to the WPGS Help Desk holds several large white binders with miscellaneous church information. These are not actual church records but may be helpful in locating churches where your ancestors worshiped. Items may include brief histories written by the church, anniversary celebration brochures or newspaper articles. There is a typed table of contents at the front of each binder. The material is organized by geographic area (Pa. or out-of-state) and then by denomination. Additional notes on specific congregations may be available in vertical files in the WPGS office.
Family Surname Files
These file folders are organized by the last name with an index card cross-reference. Content comes from donations and letters of inquiry. Information in the files may vary from a one-page letter to a lengthy but unsourced family tree printout to reunion pamphlets and articles. The family files are available whenever a WPGS volunteer is on duty at the WPGS Help Desk.
First Families of Western Pennsylvania (FFWP) Records
WPGS members can access an index of FFWP Ancestors through the members-only area of this website. Once you locate an ancestor of interest (the person who moved to Western Pennsylvania before 31 Dec 1810), you can request
the Ancestor File for that person. The file will include documentation that the descendant FFWP Member(s) used to join. Files may be viewed in person only when a WPGS volunteer is at the WPGS Help Desk.
Journals and Newsletter Collection
Located in several bookcases along the back wall of the WPGS library, the journals are stored in labeled magazine boxes, arranged from left to right in the following order:
- General genealogy
- Ethnic & religious groups
- United States genealogy (general)
- States (non-Pennsylvania)
- Pennsylvania (general)
- Pennsylvania counties (alphabetically)
Member Ancestor Charts
Many WPGS members have filled out four-generation ancestor charts and submitted them for research use. This information is being transferred in digitized form to the website. Currently, the complete set of names (and dates where available) are indexed on 3x5 cards in file boxes on top of microfilm cabinets next to the WPGS alcove. First, find a card with a person of interest and note the number in the upper right corner of a card. This is the number of the ancestor chart you want to find. Now go to the low bookshelves next to the WPGS Help Desk and locate your chart of interest in numerical order in the large pin-type binders. Note that there are two sizes of charts. If you cannot find a particular chart in the large binder, then check the smaller binders. Information is undocumented but submitter contact information is provided. Members can also check the Member Ancestor Charts online in "Members Only."
Public Surname Book
This was a way to connect fellow researchers before the time of email lists, message boards, and blogs. Throughout the years' researchers have entered surnames (and given names) for the persons they are researching into this notebook, along with a submitter number. At the front of the binder is a list of submitter numbers and his or her contact information. We now have an online Surname Project
with member entries that is accessible to the public on the WPGS website.
We will search in our WPGS collections for a specific individual, for an hourly fee. Please complete the required forms at Research Services