Pennsylvania Department 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.

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.

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.

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