Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh
Online Pennsylvania Birth and Death Records
New Pennsylvania legislation (SB-361) opened access to death certificates over 50 years old and birth certificates over 105 years old. The actual certificates will be sent to the Pennsylvania State Archives who has a contract with Ancestry.com to scan the records and put them online. When added they will be free to Pennsylvania residents.
Available as of June 2014: 1906 - 1944 Death Certificates
Remaining Project Plans:
1945-63 death certificates - November 2014
1906 birth certificates - March 2015
Further information: People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records
While waiting for the scanning/indexing project to complete you may also order non-certified copies by US Mail ($5 each). The process is:
1) Search the Pennsylvania birth indices (1906-1908) or death indices (1906-1962) to obtain a Pennsylvania State File number. These names are in large, non searchable alphabetic PDF files by year. Death certificates in the 1930s seem to be sorted first by Soundex Code and then by given name which makes it easy to find records. It is not clear if this order is true for all years. These files contain tens of thousands of names (ie 200+ pages) so there may be multiple people with the exact same complete name. Thus, you should also check the city name on each record.
2) Once you have the correct name, city, date, and number go to the Pennsylvania State Archives website for information on visiting the archives in Harrisburg or ordering uncertified copies by mail. There is no current online ordering process for uncertified copies. You can still order certified copies online for a higher fee plus $10 per transaction from a State Archive partner!
I have ordered two uncertified copies by US mail (for a
husband and wife who both died in the 1930s) and
received them in two weeks. Both
certificates issued in Pittsburgh PA had the full names of
all four parents and the exact towns of birth in Russia around 1870.
this information (except their father's given name) was available in
any other US source!
Other Pittsburgh area Online Resources
Ancestry.com has Naturalization Records of the U.S. District Court, 1820-1930, and Circuit Court, 1820-1911, for the Western District of Pennsylvania; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1537, 437 rolls) (subscription). Ancestry also holds All Pittsburgh area census records and Ship Landings from most major US ports 1800-1957Historic Pittsburgh City Directories - the largest known digital collection of Pittsburgh City Directories 1815-1945
Historic Pittsburgh - additional online Pittsburgh area resources
Dons List (City Directories, yearbooks, etc)
Pittsburgh Jewish community book (1921)
University of Pittsburgh Yearbooks - online and searchable from 1907 to 1980
Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project
The Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper project (PJNP) offers free searchable access to over 100 years of Pittsburgh area Jewish community information.
You can begin your search and get further information on the project from:
The project began around 2003 with collaboration between Rodef Shalom Congregation and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). The effort included six years of scanning and digitizing 8,700 issues with 230,000 pages from 1895 to 2010. In 2014 The Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History center added about 3,500 additional missing images and CMU provided new web optimization tools with smaller PDF files that download more quickly. The complete offering includes 3 weekly Jewish newspapers and one newsletter that were all published in Pittsburgh:
The Carnegie Mellon University website offers online instructions and video tutorials from most pages by clicking HELP. Significant family information can be found in birth, marriage and death notices that were published in every issue. You may also find bar/bat mitzvah announcements, confirmations, engagements, military announcements, social events, travel, announcements, business information, synagogue events, etc. There are photographs (especially engagements and brides) in every issue that could include a family member.
2015 IAJGS Conference in Jerusalem
The 35th IAJGS Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be held in Jerusalem from 6-10 July, 2015. This is one of the top educational opportunities for both experienced and newer Jewish Genealogists.
2015 IAJGS JERSUSALEM CONFERENCE WEBSITE
Pittsburgh Historic Mapping
If you are looking for streets where your grandparents lived you may have trouble finding them if they aren't there anymore. The Pittsburgh Mapping and Historical Site Viewer helps you find old neighborhoods, streets, and landmarks via overlays of Pittsburgh area maps and aerial photos. Maps with street names are available for 1835, 1855, 1872, 1882, 1890, 1900, 1910, and 1923. Aerial views with tags for key reference objects are available for 1939, 1957, 2005, and 2012. For help in locating streets select a Pittsburgh City Directory from the appropriate time period and use the index of streets that is in the front section. Once you find your street you can slide the time bar to see how the streets have changed over time.
Rauh Jewish ArchivesThe Rauh Archives Overview (part of the Heinz History Center and Archives) has a wide variety of historic Pittsburgh and Jewish related resources.
JGS Pittsburgh is no longer active.
Pittsburgh ResourcesAllegheny County Genealogy Resources
Marriage records, Wills and Estates
Carnegie Library (Oakland) Genealogy
Heinz History Center and Archives The Heinz Center has many resources available in person at the HHC. There is no inter library lending. The collection of high school yearbooks is especially large. Offerings from schools with large Jewish enrollment include:
Stefan Lorant, PITTSBURGH The Story of an American City [1964, 1975, 1988]
George H. Thurston, Pittsburgh and Allegheny in the Centennial Year. . Click here to read a short excerpt about a 21 year old major in the Virginia military who arrived at the forks of the Ohio River in 1753. 271 pps. Link to download complete book (PDF).
George Thornton Fleming History of Pittsburg and Environs: From Prehistoric Times to the American Revolution. Vol.I, 1922, (574 pages). Link to download Vol I (PDF). Link to download Vol II (464 pages) (see Chapter 22 The Ecclesiastical History, pages 436-441 on Jewish History]
Pittsburgh Area Jewish History
Jacob S. Feldman, The Jewish Experience in Western Pennsylvania A History 1755-1945, , 331pps.
Barbara S. Burstin, Steel City Jews 1840-1915, , 366 pps.
Robert Perlman, From Shtetl to Milltown: Litvaks, Hungarians, and Galizianers in Western Pennsylvania, 1875-1925. 124 pps.
Diane Ashton Jewish Life in Pennsylvania , 75 pps. [read online at Google Books]
Online Genealogy Resources
Jewish GenealogyAJC Digital Archives
Cindi's List - Jewish
Museum of Family History
Routes to Roots
Yizkor Books (NYPL)
One Step ToolsSteve Morse Website
General GenealogyFamilySearch.org (LDS)
Library of Congress
Ship Arrivals (Ellis Island 1892-1924)
Worldcat (search for books at libraries around the world)
Jewish Genealogy Society of
Pittsburgh. Last updated September 20, 2014
Robert Zavos, webmaster website change history