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Washington County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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Guide to Washington 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: Washington
Organized: March 28, 1781
Parent County(s): Westmoreland[1]
Neighboring Counties
Beaver  • Greene  • Allegheny  • Westmoreland  • Fayette  • Hancock (WV)  • Marshall (WV)  • Ohio (WV)  • Brooke (WV)
See County Maps
Courthouse
Washington County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Washington County PA Map.png
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for the George Washington. The county is located in the southwest tip of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Washington County Courthouse
1 South Main St.
Washington, PA 15301
Phone: 724-228-6787
Clerk of the Courts: 724-228-6787
Prothonotary: 724-228-6770
Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans' Court: 724-228-6775
Washington County Website

Register of Wills has birth and death records 1893-1906, marriage records from 1885, probate and land records from 1781
Recorder of Deeds has land and military records from 1781
Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts has divorce and court records from 1781 and naturalization records from 1802-1964[3]

Washington 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[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1893 1885 1893 1781 1781 1781 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]

The lands of Westmoreland County were claimed by both Virginia and Pennsylvania. A compromise extending the 1767 Mason-Dixon Line was proposed 31 August 1779, ratified by Pennsylvania 19 November 1779 and by Virginia 23 September 1780, and physically run and marked 23 August 1785.[7]

  • 27 Jan 1750: Part of Cumberland County.
  • 9 March 1771: Became part of Bedford County when it was was erected.
  • 26 January 1773: The future county became part of Westmoreland County.
  • 24 September 1788: Allegheny County set off. [8]
  • 9 February 1796: Greene County set off. [9]
  • 12 March 1800: Beaver County set off. [10]

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

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

The following are locations in Washington County, Pennsylvania:

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 Washington 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

 

  • Cemetery records often reveal birth, marriage, death, relationship, military, and religious information.

Additional Cemetery Resources

Census Records[edit | edit source]

For links and tips on using Federal (or United States) census records online for Washington 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.

Washington County Pennsylvania churches

Roman Catholic

  • "100 years of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese 1843 -1943". Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly, 17:1. FamilySearch Library book 974.8 B2wg. Contains chronolgy, map, county-by-county information.

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational

Contains the church records of:
  • Canonsburg: Canonsburg United Presbyterian Church
  • Finleyville: Mingo Presbyterian Church
  • Peters: Center United Presbyterian Church
  • Washington: Covenant United Presbyterian Church; Faith United Presbyterian Church; First Presbyterian Church; First United Methodist Church; Jefferson Avenue United Methodist Church

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.

Directories[edit | edit source]

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]

  • (Walton) Walton, John. "Job Walton of Fleming County, Kentucky," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 52, No. 1 (Mar. 1964):15-24. FHL Collection 973 B2ng v. 52

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.[11]

Orphans Court

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 Washington County began in 1781. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds in Washington, Pennsylvania. If your ancestor lived in the area which became Washington County, they may have filed land claims with Virginia when the area was know as the District of West Augusta.

Online Land Indexes and Records

Maps

  • MacInnes, Sharon Cook. Early Landowners of Pennsylvania: Atlas of Township Warrantee Maps of Washington County. Apollo, Pennsylvania Closson Press, 2004. FHL book 974.882 R2m

Note that the "Maps" section below also includes maps related to land ownership.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • History of Washington County from its first settlement to the present time ... 1870 by Alfred Creigh.Digitized book from archive.org.Digitized book from Penn State.
  • History of Washington County, Pennsylvania with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men, 1882, by Boyd Crumrine. Digitized book from archive.orgDigitized book from Historic PittsburghTranscription from chartiers.com.
  • Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens...1893, by J. H. Beers.Volume 1 Transcription from chartiers.com.
  • 20th Century History of the City of Washington and Washington County, Pennsylvania and representative citizens, 1910 by Joseph Fulton McFarland, 2 volumes.Digitized book online from archive.org:Volume 1 Volume 2
  • Some pioneers of Washington County, Pa A family history, 1902 by Francis Smith Reeder. Digitized book from archive.org.
  • The centennial celebration of the incorporation of the borough of Washington, Pa., in its Old Home Week of October 2-8, 1910 from GoogleBooks
  • A century of education; or, The history of the schools of Burgettstown, Washington County, Pennsylvania, for one hundred years, 1898, by William Melvin. Digitized book at archive.org.
  • Centennial anniversary of the founding of Monongahela City, Pa. : celebrated November 15th, 1892 by C. W. Hazzard.Digitized book at Historic Pittsburgh.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Hancock CountyBrooke CountyOhio CountyMarshall CountyBeaver CountyAllegheny CountyWestmoreland CountyFayette CountyGreene CountyPA WASHINGTON.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Maps

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War
Local men served in the Washington County Militia. A guide at the Pennsylvania State Archives website identifies townships where specific companies recruited soldiers, see Revolutionary War Militia Battalions and Companies, Arranged by County.

Men living in what is now Washington County (then Westmoreland County) also served in the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment.[12]

Civil War

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

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 Washington County

Online Newspapers

To learn if there are newspapers online 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 Abstracts

Miscellaneous Newspaper Items] A part of a Washington County PAGenWeb Genealogy Project

Newspaper Abstracts

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

Obituary Excerpts and Abstracts

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Washington 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 Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

1877 Common School Report
Donora High School, 1919
East Bethlehem Senior Annual, 1919
West Bethlehm "Last Will and Testament for 1929"
Pennsylvania Reform School, 1893.

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

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 Washington 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 office of the Prothonotary. While no on-line indexes or records are available, records may be obtained by visiting or writing to the Prothonotary.

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

  • 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]

  • Washington County Library System
    website
This system consists of 14 public libraries in Washington County. Each library has access to genealogical databases - especially newspaper sites. Many are accessible with your library card from home.
Visit main website (above) for all library locations, hours, services and available resources.

Museums[edit | edit source]

They publish a newsletter about the history of the area.
  • Washington County Historical Society Museums
    49 East Maiden St.
    Washington, PA 15301
    Phone: 724-225-6740
    Email: wchspa@verizon.net
    website
The Society offers tours of the museums throughout downtown Washington. One house, the 199-year old LeMoyne House, was an Underground Railroad.[14]

Societies[edit | edit source]

  • Washington County Historical Society
    49 East Maiden St.
    Washington, PA 15301
    Email: wchspa@verizon.net
    Phone: 724-225-6740
    Visit website for hours and services
The Research Library has some tools to help the researcher in the area of Washington County.
  • Genealogical Society of Southwestern Pennsylvania
    c/o Citizens Library
    55 South College St.
    Washington, PA 15301
    Website
    Email: gsswpa55@yahoo.com
The Keyhole is the Society's quarterly publication; the index is archived on the internet. At various libraries(WorldCat)
  • Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society (WPGS)
    c/o PA Department, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
    4400 Forbes Avenue
    Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4080
    Website
The focus of the WPGS is the 26 counties west of Centre County, including Washington County. They are based out of Pittsburgh, PA in the Pennnsylvania Department of the Carnegie Library. [15]
Visit website for research services and fees. [16]

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/Washington_County,_Pennsylvania 2/12/2017
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), p. 593.
  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. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  7. Boyd Crumrine, "The Boundary Controversy between Pennsylvania and Virginia, 1748 -1785," in Annals of the Carnegie Museum, Vol. 1, 1901–1902 ([Pittsburgh] : Published by authority of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Institute), pp. 510, 521–524.
  8. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  9. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  10. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  11. The Philadelphia Courts at Common Pleas accessed 10 July 2012
  12. 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
  13. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/2/20/Igipennsylvaniat.pdf.
  14. Information from http://www.wchspa.org/tours.html.
  15. http://www.wpgs.org/default.aspx
  16. http://www.wpgs.org/default.aspx

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