Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh 1902

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 - 1964 Death Certificates

 1906 - 1910 Birth Certificates

 1852 - 1968 Marriage Records  

Further information: People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records  

Other Pittsburgh area Online Resources 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 1800-1957 (LDS) has Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950 and other Pennsylvania records.

Allegheny County Probate Records (1788-1974) You can find if there is a  probate docket from 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.

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 is especially large. Offerings from schools with large Jewish enrollment include:
  • 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

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

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 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. 

JGS Pittsburgh Facebook

Check the new Pittsburgh Jewish Genealogy  Facebook Page for the latest information and discussions.

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:

Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project

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

 Albert Einstein

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]

Online Genealogy Resources

Jewish Genealogy

AJC Digital Archives


One Step Tools

Steve Morse Website

General Genealogy

Google Books

Library of Congress

National Archives

Worldcat  (search for books at libraries around the world)
2003-2018 Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh.  Last updated  January 3, 2018
Robert Zavos, webmaster          website change history