WPGS has a wide array of resources that might help in your research. Check out some of our hidden gems.
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. Each binder has a table of contents at the front. 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.
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 varies from a one-page letter to lengthy but unsourced family tree printouts to reunion pamphlets and articles.
The family files are available whenever a WPGS volunteer is on duty at the WPGS Help Desk.
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.
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)
Many WPGS members have filled out four/five-generation ancestor charts and submitted them for research use. Members can look at the digitized forms in the Members Only section “Member Ancestor Charts” and indexed by last name.
If you want to see the paper copies, you will need to know the number of the ancestor chart you want to find. 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.
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. However, the entries from the Surname Book have not been added to the online Surname Project.