Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh 1902

Jewish Genealogy Society Reorganized

After a lapse of many years the Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh reorganized  in 2017 and began to schedule semi-annual meetings at the Rauh Jewish Archives in the Heinz History Center. In 2018 the newsletter restarted.  Steve Jaron is the new President and he has added a new modern JGSP website with latest news, photos, posts, and links.  JGSP also has a  Facebook  page plus accounts on many social media platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn,  etc.  If you are interested in Pittsburgh area Genealogy you can join online from the new website. 

Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project

Click below for access to one of the largest online free English Language Jewish Newspapers in the USA: Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project

Pittsburgh was the first US city with a large Jewish population to digitize its Jewish newspapers. 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 over 12,000 issues.  The CMU website offers free flexible search tools, browsing, and downloading pdf files.  

Family information includes: births, engagements, marriages, obituaries and a wide variety of social and business news along with photographs. There are special issues on many small nearby towns with Jewish populations.  The Jewish newspapers also covered national and world events. Albert Einstein visited Pittsburgh and was often a topic of interest. 

The complete offering includes 3 weekly Jewish newspapers and one newsletter that was  published in Pittsburgh:

  • The Jewish Criterion  (1895 - 1962)
  • The Jewish Chronicle (1962 - 2010)
  • The American Jewish Outlook (1934 - 1956)
  • Y-JCC newsletters  (1926 - 1975)

While not part of the project the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle is still publishing and has an online version.

Other Pittsburgh area Online Resources

The Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives at the John Heinz History Center has many Pittsburgh area  collections in the reading room of the Detre Library  & Archives. The collection of high school yearbooks includes:
  • Fifth Avenue High School  1916-1976
  • Peabody High School 1914-22, 1925-30, 1932-36, 1938-39, 1941-50, 1952-53
  • Taylor Allderdice 1931, 1933-54, 1956-70, 1976, 1978-79, 1987-88, 1990-97 (free) has Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950 and other important  records including: Allegheny County Probate Records (1788-1974)  You may have to visit the courthouse to review original documents that were not scanned.

Historic Pittsburgh City Directories -  the largest digital collection of Pittsburgh City Directories  1815-1945

Historic Pittsburgh  - additional online Pittsburgh area resources

Dons List (City Directories, yearbooks, etc - inactive since 2012 but much data)

Pittsburgh Jewish community book  (1921)

University of Pittsburgh Yearbooks - online and searchable from 1907 to 1980

Albert Einstein

We Remember

Joyce Fienberg

Richard Gottfried

Rose Mallinger

Jerry Rabinowitz

Cecil Rosenthal

David Rosenthal

Bernice Simon

Sylvan Simon

Daniel Stein M

Melvin Wax

Irving Younger

 Tree of Life Synagogue  Pittsburgh PA  October 27, 2018

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 to scan the records and put them online. They are free to Pennsylvania residents or anyone with access to Click the following for current availability:

1906 - 1966 Death Certificates

1906 - 1910 Birth Certificates

1852 - 1968 Marriage Records  

Further information: People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records  

Pittsburgh History

Stefan Lorant,  PITTSBURGH The Story of an American City [1964, 1975, 1988]

George H. Thurston,   Pittsburgh and Allegheny in the Centennial Year. [1876].  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, [1986], 331pps.

Barbara S. Burstin, Steel City Jews 1840-1915, [2008], 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 [2007], 75 pps.   [read online at Google Books]

Pittsburgh Historic Mapping

Tree of Life Synagogue 1923
Tree of Life Synagogue on Craft Ave near Hamlet St, 1923 (green circle)- On the full page map you can zoom in on nearby Elsinore Square (blue circle)and see the owner's surname for each house.

The Pittsburgh Mapping and Historical Site Viewer helps 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 consult the closest Pittsburgh City Directory which usually includes an index of streets. 

(c)2003-2019 Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh.  Last updated  February 8, 2019
Robert Zavos, webmaster          website change history