The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania is the best public library for Allegheny County genealogy research. They have online and onsite collections and perform research requests for a modest fee.

 

Online Collections

Digital Collections: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is working to digitize content from the collections and make it available on the internet. Digitized volumes and photographs are accessible on Historic Pittsburgh, digital collections on POWER Library: PA Photos And Documents, and 19th & 20th Century American railroad journals on Internet Archive.

 

 

Maps, Topographic Maps:

Oral Histories:

Photographs: The Pittsburgh Photographic Library (PPL) is a unique collection of historic images documenting life in the Pittsburgh area. A project of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, its purpose was to highlight the redevelopment of Pittsburgh in the 1950s. The collection has grown in size and scope since coming to the Carnegie Library in 1960. The PPL now offers over 57,000 photographs featuring important Western Pennsylvania places, significant milestones and extraordinary people. More about this collection:

Archival Collections – Western PA & Pittsburgh Archives: The Archival Collections at CLP – Main cover many subjects and individuals important to the cultural history of Western Pennsylvania. The collections include institutional records, personal and institutional scrapbooks, manuscripts, personal papers, and historic photographs. Our Western PA and Pittsburgh archives are detailed as follows:

  • General Archival Collection: Among these historical treasures are the Isaac Craig Papers pertaining to Fort Pitt, Pittsburgh Board of Education Archives, Liberty Tunnel Archives, a collection of letters and papers on the Whiskey Insurrection (1790-1800), and information on Pittsburgh City government.

Art and Architecture: Housed in the Reference Department at CLP – Main, the Pittsburgh Art, Artist, and Architecture files contains catalogs, mounted pictures, magazine and newspaper clippings, and other ephemera unique to Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.  The index card files not only serve as the first stop for your research, but also contain small clippings for topics that do not have a full vertical file.

With thousands of files and cards addressing the subjects of the art, artists, architects, and architectural heritage of the Pittsburgh area, the collection offers coverage from circa 1920-2000.  This resource also includes full runs of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Annual Exhibition Catalogs, as well as the Carnegie International Exhibition Catalogs.

More about these collections:

 

Onsite Collections

The Pennsylvania Department, housed on the third floor of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main, specializes in local history and genealogy research.

Business & Biographical Index: This card file lists references to Pittsburgh businesses and individuals mentioned in city and county histories published in the early 20th century.

Clippings Files: This collection of newspaper clippings from Pennsylvania newspapers dates from the early 1900s to the present. The files are organized by topic. Major subjects include Pittsburgh neighborhoods, biographies of prominent Pittsburghers, and trends such as development, crime, and the economy.

Genealogy Databases: The library makes several online genealogical research databases available throughout Allegheny County.

Genealogy Reference Collection: The Pennsylvania Department collects genealogy how-to books, books about researching specific ethnic and religious groups, and transcriptions of primary source materials from Pennsylvania and surrounding states. Examples include cemetery records, naturalization indexes, and birth and death records. Please search the library’s catalog to find these materials.

Historical Maps of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania:  This collection includes maps showing the development of the city of Pittsburgh and other areas in Western Pennsylvania. The collection also includes warrantee atlases documenting early landowners, which are helpful in genealogical research.

Local History Reference Collection: This collection covers general Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania historical topics. The materials include county histories, biographies, government publications, neighborhood and church histories, and more. Circulating copies of some popular titles are available. Please search the Library’s catalog to find these materials.

Microfilm Collection: This collection includes census records, city directories from Pittsburgh and other areas, and surrogate copies of some of the library’s archival collections.

Microfilm Newspaper Collection: The Pennsylvania Department houses microfilm copies of major Pittsburgh newspapers, including The Post-Gazette, Sun-Telegraph, and Pittsburgh Press. Numerous smaller Western Pennsylvania newspapers are also in this collection.

Music and Musicians: The Music Collection of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh includes numerous historical collections, files, and indexes that cover all aspects of music, including material related to music and musicians in the Pittsburgh area. Books, scores, periodicals, and scrapbooks from the libraries of 19th and 20th century Pittsburgh musicians form a historical base for the collection. Music Special Collections

Orphanage Database: This is a list of orphanages active in Allegheny County over time. The library does not hold records from any of these orphanages, but this list provides guidance on how to find existing records from these organizations.

Pennsylvania Maps: This collection includes maps showing the development of the city of Pittsburgh and other areas in Western Pennsylvania. The collection also includes warrantee atlases documenting early landowners, which are helpful in genealogical research. The maps can be searched in the Library’s catalog.

Portrait Index: This card file lists references to portraits of individuals profiled in various city and county histories published in the early 20th century.

Vital Records: The Pennsylvania Department has microfilm copies of birth and death registers for Pittsburgh, Allegheny City, Allegheny County, Sewickley and McKeesport. The records cover roughly 1870 to 1905, though the dates vary by specific municipality. These records are not available in online databases such as Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org.

Call the Pennsylvania Department at 412.622.3154 or email padept@carnegielibrary.org for more information.

Research Requests

To request a record, please download the corresponding request form. The library has City Directories from 1813-1975, Telephone books from 1880-2010, Marriage records from 1786- 1910; Naturalization records from 1710-1906; Obituaries from 1786-present, and Pittsburgh newspapers.

Allegheny County Birth Registers

  • City of Pittsburgh (1870-1905)
  • Allegheny City (1885-October,1907)
  • Allegheny County (1893-1905)
  • McKeesport (1892-1905)
  • Sewickley (1896-1905)
  • Wilkinsburg (1899-1905)

Allegheny County Death Registers

  • City of Pittsburgh (1870-1905)
  • Allegheny City (1875-May, 1907)
  • Allegheny County probated deaths only (1874-1903)
  • Allegheny County Deaths (1893-1905) *These records require a different request form (see below)
  • McKeesport (1887-1905)
  • Sewickley (1894-1905)

 

Microfilm records for City Directories, Marriage Records and Naturalizations from the locations and time periods listed below can be requested with this form:

Microfilm Search Request Form

City Directories

  • City Directories 1813-1975 are searched when specific names and years are provided. Pre-1929 the directories are searchable only by last name.
  • Telephone Books: Pittsburgh/Allegheny County 1880-2010

Marriage Notices

  • Marriage Notice Index, Pittsburgh Newspapers: 1786-1910
  • Ministers Returns City of Pittsburgh only: February, 1875-June, 1886
  • Marriage Returns City of Pittsburgh 1870-75
  • Marriages in Allegheny City 1877-1882
  • Allegheny County Records:
    • Marriage Notice Index: Pittsburgh Newspapers: 1786-1910
    • Marriage License Index: 1885-1925; vol. 1-14, by Bride or Groom surname
    • Marriage License Docket: 1885-1906; vol. 1-70

Naturalization Index

Allegheny County: 1790-1906; U.S. District Court, 1820-1930; Circuit Court, 1820-1911

Obituaries

Microfilm records for obituaries from the locations and time periods listed below can be requested with this form:

Obituary/Death Notice Request Form

  • 1786-1913 ; 1963-1998; 2001- present
  • 1914-1962: Indexed on: Pennsylvania State birth/death indices

Pittsburgh Newspapers

Microfilm records for Pittsburgh newspapers (article search, not obituaries) can be requested if specific dates are provided using this form:

Pittsburgh Newspaper Request Form

General Reference Questions

Search requests are limited to 5 names and one source per letter. All request forms may be printed, filled out and mailed to the Pennsylvania Department, or emailed to padept@carnegielibrary.org.

There is no charge for newspaper and obituary requests. Searches for Allegheny County records have a service fee of $5/name.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania Department: Research Requests
4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

 

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