Resources

Information that can help guide your research in Western Pennsylvania.

Research Links

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.

Allegheny County Birth Records (Pre-1906)

These are not birth certificates, but they contain the same type of information and are the official civil record of a person’s birth. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has birth 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); Wilkinsburg (1899-1905).

City of Pittsburgh Birth Records (via FamilySearch)

This is an online version of the microfilmed City of Pittsburgh Birth Registers that cover 1870-1905. (Requires a free account.)

Registration of Births in the City of Allegheny (1878-1907, index 1882-1907) (via FamilySearch)

This is an online version of the microfilmed Allegheny City Birth Registers that cover 1878-1907. (Requires a free account.)

Registration of Births in the Borough of Wilkinsburg (1893-1905) (via FamilySearch)

This is an online version of the microfilmed Borough of Wilkinsburg Birth Registers that cover 1893-1905. (Requires a free account.)

Return of Births, 1892-1905, to the Board of Health of the City of McKeesport, Pennsylvania (via FamilySearch)

This is an online version of the microfilmed City of McKeesport Birth Registers that cover 1892-1905. (Requires a free account.)

Birth Indices

These are indexes to all legally public (105 years old or more) birth certificates in Pennsylvania.

Delayed Birth Record Dockets, filed 1941-1971 (via FamilySearch)

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 (1906-1911)

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.

Pennsylvania Birth Certificates (1911 and later)

Birth certificates later than 1911 must be ordered from the Department of Vital Records. This link has more information about the ways to order.

Pennsylvania Births & Christenings, 1709-1950 (via FamilySearch)

This database from FamilySearch includes records from across Pennsylvania. (Requires a free account.)

Catholic Cemeteries Association of the Diocese of Pittsburgh (Allegheny & Washington counties)

The Catholic Cemeteries Association currently owns and operates 16 diocesan cemeteries in Allegheny and Washington Counties in Western Pennsylvania

Cemetery Tombstone Inscriptions and/or Contributed Records for Allegheny County Pennsylvania

A Veterans’ Grave Registration Survey for Allegheny County was conducted in 1935 and listed more than 392 cemeteries, graveyards, and private burial places within the county at that time. A copy of the survey is also available at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Greensburg Diocesan Cemeteries (Armstrong, Fayette, Indiana & Westmoreland Counties)

This site has contact information for the cemeteries operated by the Diocese of Greensburg.

Erie Diocesan Cemeteries

This site has contact information for the cemeteries operated by the Diocese of Erie.

Greensburg Diocesan Cemeteries (Armstrong, Fayette, Indiana & Westmoreland Counties)

This site has contact information for the cemeteries operated by the Diocese of Greensburg.

Greensburg Diocesan Cemeteries (Armstrong, Fayette, Indiana & Westmoreland Counties)

This site has contact information for the cemeteries operated by the Diocese of Greensburg.

Greensburg Diocesan Cemeteries (Armstrong, Fayette, Indiana & Westmoreland Counties)

This site has contact information for the cemeteries operated by the Diocese of Greensburg.

BillionGraves

BillionGraves is the world’s largest resource for seachable cemetery GPS data.

Find A Grave

This site contains volunteer-contributed information based on headstones in cemeteries across the United States.

Pennsylvania Cemetery Records Online (via Interment.net)

This is a county-by-county list of cemetery records available online.

Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) Patriot Research System

Search SAR’s database of documented patriots who served in the American Revolution.

Resources for Genealogists: Census Records

This guide from the National Archives will help you learn how to use census records in your research.

United States Census (via FamilySearch)

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 Files

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.)

Free Charts & Forms from Ancestry

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.

Charts & Forms from the BYU Family History Library

Download a range of free PDF charts and forms to help with your research.

Charts and Forms from the National Archives

Use these blank forms to record your research results. Click on the title to view or print a PDF version of each.

Free Genealogy Charts from Family Tree Magazine

Use these free charts and forms to track and organize your family history research.

Castle Garden Passenger Search

Castle Garden was America’s first official immigration center. This database contains 11 million records of immigrants who arrived at the Port of New York from 1820 – 1892.

Ellis Island Passenger Search

This database contains records of immigrants who arrived though the Port of New York from 1820-1957.

Immigrant Ships Transcribers’ Guild

The site contains transcriptions of passenger lists and has more than 20,000 passenger manifests.

Names of Foreigners Who Took the Oath of Allegiance to the Province and State of Pennsylvania, 1727-1775, with the Foreign Arrivals, 1786-1808

This book, published in 1892 and now hosted on the Internet Archive, can be downloaded in several formats.

A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and Other Immigrants in Pennsylvania from 1727-1776: With a Statement of the Names of Ships, Whence They Sailed, and the Date of Their Arrival at Philadelphia…

This book, published in 1876 and now hosted on the Internet Archive, can be downloaded in several formats.

Online International Ships Passenger Lists

This site includes links to passenger lists to, and from, many countries, not just the United States.

Immigration and Ships Passenger Lists Research Guide

The goal of this Guide is to help in research of United States immigration records and ship’s passenger lists, both on-line and off-line. Procedure and examples are included to help those who are new to this research, however, numerous tips, help and links to other sites are provided for advanced research.

Passenger List Research Tips

This guide, from the Wisconsin Historical Society, provides tips for finding and interpreting passenger lists.

Where to Find Passenger Lists to Trace Your Immigrant Ancestors

In this article, Mary Harrell-Sesniak explains how ships’ passenger lists can help you trace your ancestors’ journeys to and arrivals in America—and she provides dozens of links to passenger list websites.

Program Handouts

A collection of handouts from past WPGS events.