Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh South Hills Genealogy Day & Pancake Festival - April 23, 2017 9am - 2pm
Attend a *free* day of genealogy programming at Beth El Congegation. There will be demonstrations and discussions of online resources and time to ask questions about your research with our lecturers. Attendees can also enjoy All-You-Can-Eat pancakes and eggs at the Pancake Festival in the next room for a nominal fee during Brunch Break. More details at South Hills Genealogy Day
Pennsylvania Vital 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 were sent to the Pennsylvania State Archives who contracted Ancestry.com to scan the records and put them online. They are free to Pennsylvania residents or anyone with access to Ancestry.com. Click the following for current availability:
1906 - 1964 Death Certificates
1906 - 1908 Birth Certificates
1852 - 1968 Marriage Records (may need Ancestry subscription)
Further information: People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records
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 1800-1957Allegheny County Probate Records (1788-1974) You can find if there is a probate docket from Familysearch.org and what types of documents are included. Only wills up to 1917 (as of 2015) may be available online. There is a rather complex 3 step online search involved. You may have to visit the courthouse anyhow but the first two steps will be manually required at the courthouse in any case.
Historic 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 Historic Mapping
If you are looking for streets where your grandparents lived they may not be there anymore because they were renamed or the area has been redeveloped. Both of these have occured frequently in Pittsburgh's former large Jewish neigborhood known as the "Hill District". 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 and use the index of streets normally in the front section.
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.
National Events are very well covered and that especially applies when they include the Pittsburgh area:
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.
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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
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 April 2, 2017
Robert Zavos, webmaster website change history