Information that can help guide your research in Western Pennsylvania.
A collection of handouts from past WPGS events.
A collection of videos from WPGS programs and events .
Western Pennsylvania Churches
More information about Churches in Western Pennsylvania
List of Beaver County Churches in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, with origin dates, as of 10/11/2004.
List of Historic Italian Parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, established from 1892 to 1940.
Parish sacramental records can be a valuable source of information to genealogists. This site explains the type of sacramental records that are maintained by the Archives, the information to be found in those records, the rules for their use and the research fees charged by the Archives. The Archives contains all sacramental records older than 70 years beginning in 1808 for parishes in the following counties of Pennsylvania: Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Greene, Lawrence and Washington.
Erie’s Diocesan archives do not contain baptismal, marriage or death records. Please contact the parish directly for this information. Parish contact information may be found on the Find Parish/School page. If the parish in question is closed, please contact the next closest parish geographically. To find the closest parish, visit the Find Parish/School page or contact the Archives Office
Request for Church Records
If you are seeking baptism, marriage, or any other church-related documentation, contact the church at which the event took place to request information. You may find a specific church, within our Diocese, and its contact details by referring to the Parish Finder Directory. For past churches that have since been closed or merged, view a list of former churches and their active successor parishes on the Former Churches Directory.
The Diocesan Heritage Center is a public location that houses artifacts, pictures and documents from the history of the Diocese of Greensburg and all of its parishes. Its mission is to “to collect, preserve and assemble the cultural and archival patrimony of the diocese.” All of the items chosen to be kept at the Heritage Center will be catalogued and preserved with various museum-like displays and means for research. The Heritage Center is located in the Christ Our Shepherd Center adjacent to the Indiana Room.
If you are seeking baptism, marriage, or any other church-related documentation, contact the church at which the event took place to request information. You may find a specific church, within our Diocese, and its contact details by referring to the Parish Directory.
The Presbyterian Historical Society supports the record-keeping activities of all entities of the Church. For congregations, we carry out that mission by digitizing records; storing records of permanent value; and providing advice on records retention, storage, and preservation.
The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania’s Archives are home to a vast array of material relating to the people and parishes comprising the Diocese as well as the Diocese itself. Within its stacks are material relating to parishes that have closed, the registers, the vestry minutes as well as documents making up the life of these churches which are no longer with us. It also holds a large volume of histories, both at the parish level comprising both active and closed parishes, as well as histories of the diocese and its various organizations.
We recommend the following sites to further your genealogical research.
Beginning Genealogy: How to Get Started the Right Way If you’ve seen TV shows such as “Who Do You Think You Are,” you might have wondered about this whole genealogy thing and how you find your own ancestors. One way is to get famous and wait for someone to invite you onto that show. A more practical way is to start finding the information yourself.
Beginning Genealogy: Searching & Recording This guide will point you to resources beginners can use to follow a variety of research paths.
Cyndi’s List: Beginners’ Guide, Tips & Hints This curated list will guide you to a variety of beginner-level resources and getting-started tutorials.
Getting Started: Tips to Help You on Your Way So you want to find out about your family history. Maybe you want to learn the identity of your ancestors, find out where they lived and what they did for a living? Or maybe your family lore includes stories of a Mayflower immigrant? Perhaps you’ve heard that your ancestor fought in the Revolutionary War or the Civil War? Or you may have medical concerns and wish to find out about your family’s medical legacy. Curiosity, lineage, and medical history are all common reasons to take up the growing hobby of genealogy.
Start Your Genealogy Research This guide from the National Archives will introduce you to the types of records held at the National Archives that you can use in your own research.
These are indexes to all legally public (105 years old or more) birth certificates in Pennsylvania.
Online version of microfilmed indexes to delayed birth records filed between 1941 and 1971; birth dates can range from 1780-1920 or later, depending on the county of birth. (Requires a free account.)
Pennsylvania birth certificates from 1906-1911 are available online through Ancestry.com. Please follow directions at this link to create a free account with limited access to Pennsylvania records. Ancestry.com is also available at any library in Allegheny County.
Birth certificates later than 1911 must be ordered from the Department of Vital Records. This link has more information about the ways to order.
This database from FamilySearch includes records from across Pennsylvania. (Requires a free account.)
BillionGraves is the world’s largest resource for seachable cemetery GPS data.
This site contains volunteer-contributed information based on headstones in cemeteries across the United States.
This is a county-by-county list of cemetery records available online.
Search SAR’s database of documented patriots who served in the American Revolution.
This guide from the National Archives will help you learn how to use census records in your research.
This guide from the FamilySearch wiki will link you directly to specific census records you want to search. (Requires free account.)
Allegheny County Coroner Case File The Allegheny County coroner was required to hold an inquest to investigate any “sudden or violent death,” which included suicides, homicides, and accidental deaths ranging from industrial accidents to disease or unknown causes. The official forms used by the coroner’s office to document the investigation were retained together to form a case file. These coroner inquest files are public records open to all, as affirmed by the Allegheny County Coroner’s Office, and were created by the Coroner’s Office to satisfy public law.
Allegheny County Death Records. These are not death certificates, but they contain the same type of information and are the official civil record of a person’s death. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has death registers for the following locations and time periods: City of Pittsburgh (1870-1905); Allegheny City (1885-October 1907); Allegheny County (1893-1905); Sewickley (1896-1905); McKeesport (1892-1905).
City of Allegheny Death Records (via FamilySearch) This is an online version of the microfilmed Allegheny City Birth Registers that cover 1878-1907. (Requires a free account.)
City of Pittsburgh Death Records (via FamilySearch) This is an online version of the microfilmed City of Pittsburgh Death Registers that cover 1870-1905. (Requires a free account.)
Registration of Deaths, 1887-1905, in the boro of McKeesport, Pennsylvania (via FamilySearch) This is an online version of the microfilmed City of McKeesport death registers that cover 1887-1905. (Requires a free account.)
Butler County Online Obituary Index (1818-2012) Index to obituaries published in Butler County newspapers.
Pennsylvania Death Indices These are indexes to all legally public (50 years old or more) death certificates in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Death Certificates (1906-1967) Pennsylvania death certificates from 1906-1967 are available online through Ancestry.com. Please follow directions at this link to create a free account with limited access to Pennsylvania records.
Pennsylvania Death Certificates (1967 & later) Death certificates later than 1967 must be ordered from the Department of Vital Records. This link has more information about the ways to order.
Pennsylvania Probate Records (1683-1994) (via FamilySearch) This collection includes probate records created in Pennsylvania counties. The records include wills, estate records and indexes. (Requires a free account.)
Ancestry has free charts, forms, and blank census documents available for download. Blank charts and forms are useful for organizing your research, and blank census forms make it easier to see the format and column headings for a census.
Download a range of free PDF charts and forms to help with your research.
Use these blank forms to record your research results. Click on the title to view or print a PDF version of each.
Use these free charts and forms to track and organize your family history research.
Pittsburgh’s growing catalog of archival records is updated when record collections are processed and ready for public access. Contact the City of Pittsburgh Archives at https://pittsburghcityarchives.libraryhost.com/
Created in 2018, the purpose of the City Clerk’s Records Management Division is to manage, store, preserve and provide access to records of enduring value to the City of Pittsburgh, and to administer citywide records management policy. The division oversees record retention and preservation policies and helps City employees manage their electronic and physical records. The division also manages the City Archives, making administrative and historical records accessible to the public and City employees for research.
For research inquiries, call their office at 412-255-0873 or email email@example.com.
These 13 maps were prepared in the Pennsylvania Land Office Bureau, Department of Internal Affairs, in 1920 and include maps from the early claims of Connecticut, Maryland, and Virgirnia, up to and including a map of Pennsylvania from 1855-1920 with 67 counties.
This Genealogy and Local History collection is one of their largest services and consists of indexes, genealogies, state and county histories, family histories, city directories, atlases, land warranty maps, ship passenger lists, and compilations of church and cemetery records. The Library also has Federal Census records for Pennsylvania, from 1790 to 1930, on microfilm. Agricultural and business censuses are also available.
The Pennsylvania State Archives collects, preserves and makes available for study the permanently-valuable public records of the Commonwealth, with particular attention given to the records of state government. The State Archives also collects papers of private citizens and organizations relevant to Pennsylvania history.
The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania (GSP) is a non-profit educational institution located at 2100 Byberry Road, Suite 111, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19116. Founded in 1892, GSP is one of the earliest genealogical societies in the United States, among the first to recognize the value of collecting and preserving the vital and personal records of people whose lives comprise much of our American history.
The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania has the following research guides to help you with finding resources for researching Pennsylvania counties. The resource guides contain links to pages outside of the GSP website. Links can change and websites expire, so if a page doesn’t look like the information you think it should, you might want to double-check and let them know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Irish Genealogy News 2023
- Irish Headstone, Burials & Obituaries 2023
- Top Sites to Use for Finding Irish Records 2023
- 2023_Irish Emigration Resource List (Ireland Reaching Out)
Compiled by The German Interest Group of the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society in 1990 from work with the Duquesne University Library, the University of Pittsburgh Hillman Library, the Citizens Library of Washington, PA, the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvanhia Library, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and the Family History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah.