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Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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Guide to Allegheny County, Pennsylvania ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

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County Facts
County seat: Pittsburgh
Organized: September 24, 1788
Parent County(s): Washington, Westmoreland[1]
Neighboring Counties
Butler  • Westmoreland  • Beaver  • Washington  • Armstrong
See County Maps
Courthouse
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Allegheny County PA Map.png
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

It is named a Native American name, being named after the Allegheny River. It is located in the west section of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Allegheny County Courthouse
436 Grant St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: (412) 350-6500
FAX:(412) 350-6512
Allegheny County Website
Orphan's Court Phone: (412)350-5550
Department of Court Records Phone: (412)350-4200
Email: civil@alleghenycounty.us

In 2008 the office of Prothonotary in Allegheny County was combined into the Court Records Director.

Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[3]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
bef 1906 1789 bef 1906 1788 1788 1789 1790
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1906. General compliance by 1915.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • Formed from Washington and Westmoreland Counties 24 September 1788.[4]
  • County seat: Pittsburgh[5]
  • Allegheny County was disputed between Virginia and Pennsylvania until the Mason-Dixon Line was finalized in 1780.
  • 1750: Southern half of Allegheny County was included in Cumberland County when Cumberland was created in 1750; northern half of Allegheny County was not included in any county until 1785.
  • 1771: Southern half of Allegheny County was included in Bedford County when Bedford County was created out of Cumberland County in 1771.
  • 1773: Southern half of Allegheny County was included in Westmoreland County when Westmoreland was created out of Bedford county in 1773.
  • 1783: Northern half of Allegheny became part of Depreciation Lands; part of the southern half of Allegheny County became part of Washington County when Washington County was created in 1781, while the rest remained part of Westmoreland County.
  • 1785: Northern half of Allegheny was annexed to Northumberland County.
  • 12 March 1800: Allegheny Co. boundaries were finalized as it appears today after the parts were set to form Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Crawford, Erie, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties.

For animated maps illustrating Pennsylvania county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Pennsylvania County Boundary Maps" (1673-1878) may be viewed at the MapofUS.org website.

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

The following are locations in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania:

Pittsburgh, Forest Hills, Aleppo, Leet, Versailles, Braddock, more...

Placenames

  • Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt: Early Names of Pittsburgh Streets 1914. Digital version at Don's List

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information

 

Additional Cemetery Resources

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The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.


Census Records[edit | edit source]

For links and tips on using Federal (or United States) census records online for Allegheny County, see: Pennsylvania Census.


Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. For members, they may contain: age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage date and maiden name; death/burial date. For general information about Pennsylvania denominations, see Pennsylvania Church Records.

Allegheny county pennsylvania churches.png

Multi-denominational

Contains church records of:
  • Bridgeville: Bethany Presbyterian Church
  • Carnegie: Christ United Presbyterian Church
  • Coraopolis: Greystone United Presbyterian Church
  • Duquesne: First Presbyterian Church
  • Gibsonia: Hampton United Presbyterian Church
  • Green Tree: Mount Pisgah United Presbyterian Church
  • Imperial: Valley Presbyterian Church
  • Jefferson: Jefferson Congregation of the American Reformed Church
  • McKeesport: Mount Vernon Community United Presbyterian Church
  • Monroeville: Hillcrest United Presbyterian Church
  • Mount Lebanon: Mt. Lebanon United Presbyterian Church
  • Oakmont: Redeemer Lutheran Church; St. Thomas Memorial Episcopal Church
  • Pitcairn: Dutilh United Methodist Church; McGinnis Presbyterian Church
  • Pittsburgh: Ascension Episcopal Church; Bailey Avenue United Presbyterian Church of Mt. Washington; Church of the Epiphany; Edgewood Presbyterian Church; First Hungarian Reformed Church; Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of South Hills; Grace Episcopal Church; Protestant Episcopal Church; Springdale United Presbyterian Church; St. Luke's Memorial Lutheran Church; St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church; West End United Church of Christ; Zion Lutheran Church
  • Ross: Hiland Presbyterian Church
  • Shaler Township: St. Luke's Lutheran Church
  • Sharpsburg: Church of the Epiphany; First Evangelical Lutheran Church; Trinity Episcopal Church
  • Turtle Creek: First United Presbyterian Church

Catholic

Episcopalian

Pittsburgholdroundchurch.jpg
  • Page, Oliver Ormsby. "Sketch of the 'Old Round Church,' 1805-1825, the Original Edifice of Trinity Church, Pittsburgh," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 19 (1895):351-358. For online access, see WeRelate.

German

Jewish

LDS Ward and Branch Records

Methodist

  • The Smeltzer Bell Research Center at Allegheny College
  • 1888 Manual and Directory of Smithfield Street M.E. Church for 1888: Containing Full Account of the Centennial Celebration of Pittsburgh Methodism, Held in the Smithfield St. M.E. Church, Sept. 16-23 Pittsburgh, Pa.: East Ender Print, 1888. Digitized by Ancestry ($).

Presbyterian

Learn if the records of the individual parish or Church your ancestors attended are available.

Central Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh

First Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh

Third Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh

Court Records[edit | edit source]

For information about records kept in the Orphan's court, Prothonotary Court, Court of Common Pleas, and other courts in counties of Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Court Records Wiki page.

  • Records of genealogical value in the Allegheny County Offices are listed and described at the Allegheny County website. The webpage describes the availability of the records, the office where they are found, years covered, and links to the proper office or website. Records described include adoptions, census, birth, marriage, death,various court records, deeds, divorce, wills and estate, maps, naturalizations, and military records.
  • Department of Court Records Wills/Orphans' Court

Directories[edit | edit source]

Fold3 ($) has Pittsburgh City Directories 1861-1923 (3 yrs. missing) available online.

"Historic Pittsburgh - Full Text Collection" has Pittsburgh City and Allegheny City Directories (and outlying areas) from 1815 through 1930. Directories were not issued annually until the mid-1850s. Homestead Directories may be found on the same site.

Don's List contains 1761, 1812, 1815-1816, 1826, 1837, 1839, 1841, 1844, 1852, 1854, 1857, 1864-1865, 1867, 1872, 1875, 1877-1879, 1884-1885, 1890, 1895, 1897-1903, 1905, 1907-1908, 1910, 1912, 1914, 1918, 1922, 1930, 1936, 1946, 1951, and 1962 Pittsburgh directories.

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

For online resources, passenger lists, and specific groups coming to Pennsylvania, see Pennsylvania Emigration and Immigration.

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

For groups that came, see People section of the Pennsylvania Emigration page.

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

The Orphan's Court ensures the best interests of those not capable of handling their own affairs: minors, incapacitated persons, decedents' estates, and more.[10]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a specific location and reveal family relationships. Records include: deeds, abstracts, indexes, mortgages, leases, grants, sheriff sales, land patents, maps and more. For more information, see Pennsylvania Land and Property.

Land records in Allegheny County began in 1788. These records are filed with the Department of Real Estate office (formerly the Record of Deeds) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. If your ancestor lived in the area which became Allegheny County, they may have filed land claims with Virginia when the area was know as the District of West Augusta.

Online Land Records

  • 1733 -1957 Pennsylvania State Archives, Records of the Land Office, Warrant Registers, 1733-1957, Allegheny County (South and East of the Ohio River)
  • 1792 -1857 Allegheny County Historical Deeds 1792–1857 is a collection of documents recorded in deed books that described people who were involved in the slave trade in the early days of Allegheny County. This collection does not include all deeds recorded between 1792 and 1857.
  • 1986 – present Allegheny County offers online access to indexes and images. Fees apply for copies.
  • 1788 -1904 Deeds, 1788-1901; index, 1788-1904. FHL film 1532925 (first of 452 films) - images only; click on the camera icon to view images

Maps

  • Fishman, Joel. The Warrantee Atlas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania] Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, 1982. Originally published by the Pennsylvania State Land Office ca. 1914. FHL Large Folio 974.885 E7wa Digital version of the 1914 edition available at the University of Pittsburgh's "Historic Pittsburgh Maps Collection."


Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Franklin CountyCumberland CountyYork CountyWashington CountyFrederick CountyCarroll CountyPA ADAMS.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Maps

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War
Men living in what is now Allegheny County (then Westmoreland and Washington counties) served in the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment.[11]

Civil War
Regiments. Men in Allegheny County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (part of a large regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Allegheny County:
- 70th Regiment, New York Infantry, Company E

  • Hively, Henry. "Black Civil War Soldiers, Allegheny County Pennsylvania," Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 17, No. 1. (Summer 1990):39. FHL Book 974.B2wg

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Naturalization records can contain information about immigration and nativity. Prior to 1906, it is rare to find the town of origin in naturalization records. For more information, see Pennsylvania Naturalization

Where to find Allegheny County naturalization records:

For addresses of these courts, visit Additional Sources for Research of Naturalization Records.

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers may contain obituaries, births, marriages, deaths, anniversaries, family gatherings, family travel, achievements, business notices, engagement information, and probate court proceedings. Newspapers are often found in local or university libraries, historical or genealogical societies, or state archives in the area where the newspaper was published. See Pennsylvania Newspapers for more information.

Newspapers of Allegheny County

Online Newspapers

The following are some of the online newspapers available in Allegheny County. To learn if there are newspapers on line for a specific town or city in Pennsylvania, see news.google.com/newspapers and search for the town or the name of a newspaper.

Online Newspaper Abstracted Articles

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Obituaries are generally found in local newspapers where the person died or where family members lived. Local libraries or societies may have indexes or other sources.

Online Obituary Abstracts

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Poorhouse, Almshouse
Allegheny County Workhouse Records, 1866-1971. The site lists the records, including conduct books, 1870-1906, discharge and descriptive dockets, 1873-1971, escaped prisoners, 1882-1971, prison registers 1869-1951, and more. The records are at the Pennsylvania State Archives.

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Allegheny County are handled by the Orphans' Court and start when the county was created.

In addition to wills and administrations, the Orphans' Court also handles: audits of accounts of executors, administrators, trustees, and guardians; distribution of estates; appointments of guardians; adoptions; appeals from the Register of Wills; inheritance tax appeals, and various petitions and motions.

Online Probate Index and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

  • 1791 Returns of Taxables for the Counties of Bedford (1773 to 1784), Huntingdon (1788), Westmoreland (1783, 1786), Fayette (1785, 1786), Allegheny (1791), Washington (1786) and Census of Bedford (1784) and Westmoreland (1783) (Pennsylvania Archives, Series 3, Vol. 22). Digital versions at Ancestry ($); Google Books
  • 1798 Pennsylvania, U.S. Direct Tax Lists, 1798 at Ancestry ($).

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital records are handled by the County Orphans' Court. Between the years 1852-1855 Pennsylvania made a failed attempt to record birth, marriage and death events at the county level. County marriage records were kept in earnest in 1885. Births and deaths, at the county level, were begun in 1893 and kept through 1905. For the most complete set of records, contact the County Orphans' Court.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Early births 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. For more information, see Pennsylvania Vital Records.

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Pennsylvania marriages were created by county officals. Contact Allegheny County Courthouse

Death[edit | edit source]

Early deaths 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. For indexes and records, 1906 and later, see Pennsylvania Vital Records.

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Divorce records are handled by the Department of Court Records Civil/Family Division (formerly the office of the Prothonotary). While no on-line indexes or records are available, records may be obtained on site or by correspondence. An index to divorce records is included in the Ejectment and Miscellaneous Index. Request at the main desk. Older records may be in storage and have to be ordered.

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

  • Merrick Archives
    Allegheny College
    Pelletier Library
    520 N. Main Street
    Meadville, PA 16335
    Phone: (814) 332-2398
    Website
Call in advance for an appointment with the Archivist or to confirm current hours.
The Merrick Archives has records and biographical information for faculty, staff, and alumni.
  • National Archives at Philadelphia
    14700 Townsend Road
    Philadelphia, PA 19154-1096
    Phone: (215) 305-2044
    Fax (215) 305-2052
    Website

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes.

Libraries[edit | edit source]

  • Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
    Pennsylvania Department, Records Research
    4400 Forbes Avenue
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213
    Telephone: 412-622-3114
    Website
Genealogy Resources
Birth Registers, City of Pittsburgh (1870-1905); Allegheny City (1885-October, 1907); Allegheny County (1893-1905); McKeesport (1892-1905); Sewickley (1896-1905); Wilkinsburg (1899-1905)
County Death Registers, City of Pittsburgh (1870-1905); Online Index for City of Pittsburgh Only; Allegheny City (1875-May, 1907); Allegheny County (1893-1905); McKeesport (1887-1905); Sewickley (1894-1905)
Registers are written entries, not certificates. Birth and Death Certificates are state-issued and are not available for dates prior to 1906.
After 1906 birth and death certificates are available from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of Vital Records in New Castle, PA.
Additional Pittsburgh locations
  • Historic Pittsburgh Digital Library
    Website

Museums[edit | edit source]

The museum was originally built to honor veterans of the Civil War was but was later expanded to honor soldiers of all conflicts. It contains artifact, interpretive displays, letters, journals, and more.
  • Senator John Heinz History Center
    1212 Smallman Street
    Pittsburgh, PA 15222
    Phone: 412-454-6000
    Website
This library's collection includes 3,500 individual archival collections of families and businesses; over 40,000 books, pamphlets, and monographs, plus 500 maps and atlases.

Societies[edit | edit source]

  • Directory of Pennsylvania Genealogical & Historical Societies
    Website
  • North Hills Genealogists
    Website
This group of genealogists is located in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. They publish a monthly newsletter and hold monthly meetings on the third Tuesday of each month at the Northland Public Library, 300 Cumberland Rd, 15237. They have published several books on pioneer cemeteries in the area and hold an annual 2-day conference each spring. Their website includes a section of links to numerous western Pennsylvania research resources as well as back issues of their monthly newsletter. In June and July they sponsor special meetings in conjunction with the sessions of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh.
  • Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society
    4400 Forbes Avenue
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213-4080
    Website
The focus of the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society is the 26 counties west of Centre County. The Society is based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and maintains its library and offices in the Pennsylvania Department of the Carnegie Library. The WPGS Library collection is complemented and augmented by the Pennsylvania Department's enormous holdings of local and family history information. It has extensive onsite resources for both in-library research, and out-of-town queries.
  • Afro-American Historical Genealogical Society, Pittsburgh Chapter
    Website
AAHGS is designed to encourage the research, documentation and preservation of African American families. Beginning genealogy classes are offered as well tips on how to overcome "brick walls" in your research. Monthly meetings and annual conferences are open to the public.
  • Historical Society of Pennsylvania
    1300 Locust Street
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
    Telephone: (215) 732-6200
    Fax: (215) 732-2680
    Website
Tips for planning a visit
The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania collects genealogical materials from Pennsylvania and every other state east of the Mississippi River. Its collections also cover pre-migration from Europe, the genealogical “stepping stones” across the Caribbean, and out-migration to Canada. Its collection includes 600,000 printed items and more than 21 million manuscript and graphic items. It is one of the largest family history libraries in the nation, has preeminent printed collections on Pennsylvania and regional history, and offers superb manuscript collections renowned for their strength in 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century history. By acquiring the holdings of The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies in 2002 and those of The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania in 2006, the Society has become a chief center for the documentation and study of the ethnic communities and immigrant experiences between the late 19th century century and our own times.

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegheny_County,_Pennsylvania accessed 2/1/2017
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/6/6d/Igipennsylvaniaaa.pdf.
  7. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/6/6d/Igipennsylvaniaaa.pdf.
  8. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/6/6d/Igipennsylvaniaaa.pdf.
  9. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/6/6d/Igipennsylvaniaaa.pdf.
  10. The Philadelphia Courts at Common Pleas accessed 10 July 2012
  11. Harold Frederic, William C. Frederick III with William J. McMaster Sr., Path of Blood: The Untold Story of the Kittanning PA. Regiment in the American Revolution (Kittanning, Pa.: W.C. Frederick, 1998). FHL Book 974.8 M2ff
  12. "Naturalization Records," Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Government, http://www.alleghenycounty.us/wo/natural.aspx, accessed 11 September 2012.
  13. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/6/6d/Igipennsylvaniaaa.pdf.
  14. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/6/6d/Igipennsylvaniaaa.pdf.
  15. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/6/6d/Igipennsylvaniaaa.pdf.
  16. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/6/6d/Igipennsylvaniaaa.pdf.
  17. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/6/6d/Igipennsylvaniaaa.pdf.
  18. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/6/6d/Igipennsylvaniaaa.pdf.

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