Here’s an overview of some great Pennsylvania genealogy collections available online. Some are indexed collections you can search by name, others are transcribed collections you may need to scroll through, and others are image-only collections you’ll need to scroll image by image, but from the comfort of your own home, rather than at a library!
FamilySearch has the largest collection of free genealogy collections online. You’ll need to login with a free FamilySearch account to access most of these collections, but there’s never any Try these lists of collections:
- Pennsylvania Birth, Marriage, and Death Records online by County
- Pennsylvania Birth, Marriage, and Death Records online by City A-M
- Pennsylvania Birth, Marriage, and Death Records online by City N-Z
- Find indexed Pennsylvania collections, then image only collections at FamilySearch
Pennsylvania State Archives online collections, 1906-1917 birth records, 1906-1972 death records, census records, prison records, naturalization records, military records, land records, passenger lists, indentured servants, and more.
Pennsylvania Libraries have some free, online collections and most of the libraries have onsite collections and have some exceptional librarians who will look up information for you for free, or for a small fee or donation to the library. (I speak from experience.) This is a list of Pennsylvania Public Libraries links to their websites and a note if we’ve found any special online collections at the library.
State Digital Library
Power Library – Pennsylvania’s Electronic Library – some Pennsylvania libraries host their online collections at Power Library, so be sure to check out this site. Here’s a list of some institutions whose collections are hosted here, but this is not a complete list.
University of Pittsburgh’s Hillman Library, Pittsburgh History, African American collections, and more
- University of Pittsburgh’s Digital Collections, browse by topic
- University of Pittsburgh’s Historic PIttsburgh, maps, photos, oral histories, manuscripts
- University of Pittsburgh’s Documenting Pitt, yearbooks, all things student life
- University of Pittsburgh’s Darlington Library, atlases and maps
- University of Pittsburgh’s Pittsburgh City Photographer collections, photos
Keystone Library Network Digital Collections, 14 Pennsylvania University libraries’ digital collections including yearbooks, newspapers, postcards, maps, photos, and more
Gettysburg College Digital Library – GettDigital Collections, military records, photos, maps, oral histories, photos and more
Heinz History Center, photographs, school records, business records, postcards, and more
Transcribed Record Collections & other
Pennsylvania GenWeb – part of the USGenWeb project (free), all types of genalogy records that have been transcribed – varies by county – Some of the genweb counties are hosted at RootsWeb and if not moved by the owners to a new site, these pages will not be updated after 2024, although they will remain archived at RootsWeb by Ancestry.com.
PA-Roots – records vary by county but these are all free and no login or account is required to view them
Genealogy Trails – this is a free site with Pennsylvania records transcribed and sorted by county and record type. No login required and it’s worth looking over.
Don’s List – has specific Pennsylvania Birth and Death indexes, City directories by county, and specific Pittsburgh collections including Divorce Records, Cemetery Records, Church Records, City Directories, and more