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Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania
Map
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the U.S.
Facts
Founded February 26, 1773
County Seat Greensburg
Courthouse
Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Address Westmoreland County Courthouse
2 N. Main Street
Greensburg, PA 15601
Westmoreland County Website
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Contents

Historical Facts

Beginning dates for major county records
Birth
Marriage
Death
Deeds
Probate
1893
1885
1893
1773
1773

Boundary Changes

Several counties were set off over the years. [1]

Resources

Bible Records

Cemeteries

Cemetery records often reveal birth, marriage, death, relationship, military, and religious information.

Online Grave Transcripts Published Grave Transcripts County Cemetery Directories
Findagrave.com Family History Library Findagrave.com
Interment.net WorldCat Names in Stone
USGenWeb-transcripts
USGenWeb-tombstone photos
Billion Graves
Pennsylvania Genealogy Epodunk
Pennsylvania Gravestones
Billion Graves
Names in Stone
Access Genealogy
Ancestry($)



See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information.



The Mennonite Heritage Center
565 Yoder Road
Harleysville PA 19438-1020
215-256-3020
library@mhep.org
Hours: Tuesday thru Friday, 10am–5pm, Saturday, 10am–2pm

The Cemetery Database at the Mennonite Heritage Center includes 86,000 burial records from 125 local cemeteries.  Records cover cemeteries in the counties of Berks, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, and Westmoreland. The database provides transcriptions from Mennonite, Brethren, Lutheran, Reformed, Union, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, community, and private cemeteries. Search the list of cemeteries and the alphabetical surname lists in Adobe PDF format.

Visit the Mennonite Heritage Center to search the cemetery database by various criteria. The transcriptions are available for further research at the MHC library.

Census

For tips on accessing Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania Federal (or United States) census records online, see: Pennsylvania Census.

There are no county or state census records available for Pennsylvania. County and city tax records can be used as a substitute when census records are not available.

  • 1783 - Returns of Taxables for the Counties of Bedford (1773 to 1784), Huntingdon (1788), Westmoreland (1783, 1786), Fayette (1785, 1786), Allegheny (1791), Washington (1786) and Census of Bedford (1784) and Westmoreland (1783). (Pennsylvania Archives, Series 3, Vol. 22). Digital versions at Ancestry ($); Google Books - free.

Church Records

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. In Pennsylvania, church records are often used as a substitute for birth, marriage, and death information. For general information about Pennsylvania denominations, view the Pennsylvania Church Records wiki page.

Westmoreland county pennsylvania churches.png
The Westmoreland County Historical Society's library has church records and histories. You can look at them at their library for free if you are a member or for a minimal fee if you are not. Check their webpage for current prices. You can also have research in the records by mail. Instructions are under "Genealogy and Research" on their Internet site.


Additional church records can be located at Linkpendium and by searching the Family History Library Catalog. The FHLC has a plethora of church recordsfor Westmoreland County, many are limited in the time frame they cover. When searching the FHL catalog, be sure to also search at the town and township level.

Finding Church Records at Other Repositories

Additional church records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania Church Records  in online catalogs like:

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational
Catholic
  • 1843–1943 "100 years of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese 1843–1943". Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly, 17:1. FamilySearch Library book 974.8 B2wg. Contains chronolgy, map, county-by-county information.
Lutheran
Presbyterian

Court Records

Court of Common Pleas
Clerk of the Court
Prothonotary
Orphan's Court (see Vital Records)

Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic Groups

Germans

Gazetteers

Genealogy

History

Published Histories

Land and Property

Land records in Westmoreland County began in 1773. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts, indexes, mortgages, leases, grants, sheriff sales, land patents, and maps. Property records include liens as well as livestock brands and estray records.

The following are examples of available resources:

Online Land Records

  • 1850–present The Recorder of Deeds offers online access to land records. The online indexes are free but fees apply for copies.

Land Records on Microfilm

Additional Resources

Note that the "Maps" section below includes maps related to land ownership.

See Pennsylvania Land and Property for more information about using land records, especially about original land warrants, surveys, and patents filed at the state land office.

Additional resources can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Westmoreland County Pennsylvania Land in online catalogs such as:

Maps

https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/6/64/Westmoreland_county_pennsylvania_townships.pngWestmoreland county pennsylvania townships.png
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Migration

Military

Revolutionary War

Local men served in the Westmoreland County Militia. A guide at the Pennsylvania State Archives website identifies townships where specific companies recruited soldiers, see Revolutionary War Militia Battalions and Companies, Arranged by County.

Westmoreland County men also served in the 3rd Pennsylvania Regiment,[3] the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment[4] and the 9th Pennsylvania Regiment.[5]

Naturalization and Citizenship

Newspapers

Obituaries

Courtesy of the Baltzer Meyer Historical Society: 

Obituary Index created from their collection of obituaries of the years of individuals who resided in or had connections to Westmoreland County.

Occupations

Indentured Servants

Periodicals

Poorhouse, Almshouse

Probate Records

Repositories

Archives
Courthouse

Westmoreland County Courthouse
2 N. Main Street
P.O. Box 1630
Greensburg, PA 15601
Phone: 724-830-3734

The Prothonotary's office is on the fifth floor. They have Naturalization records from 1804.
The Register of Wills office is in Suite 301. This office preserves vital records.
The Clerk of Courts office is in Suite 203.
Family History Centers

Family History Centers (FHCs) are branches of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and are located all over the world. Their goal is to provide resources for family history research.

The main FHC for Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania is the Greensburg Pennsylvania Family History Center. For additional nearby Family History Centers, search online in the FHC directory.

Libraries
Museums
Societies

Taxation

  • 1783, 1786 - Returns of Taxables for the Counties of Bedford (1773 to 1784), Huntingdon (1788), Westmoreland (1783, 1786), Fayette (1785, 1786), Allegheny (1791), Washington (1786) and Census of Bedford (1784) and Westmoreland (1783). (Pennsylvania Archives, Series 3, Vol. 22). Digital versions at Ancestry ($); Google Books - free.
  • 1798 - Pennsylvania, U.S. Direct Tax Lists, 1798 at Ancestry ($).

Vital Records

Vital records are handled by the County Orphans' Court. Between the years 1852-1855 Pennsylvania made a failed attempt to record birth, marriage and death events at the county level. While the records for that time period are available, there were few events recorded. County marriage records were kept in earnest in 1885. Births and deaths, at the county level, were begun in 1893 and kept through 1905. Abstracts and copies of vital records are available for some counties, but most are incomplete. For the most complete set of records, always contact the County Orphans' Court.

Birth

Early births 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. See the heading Court Records on this page for contact information.

Indexes for Pennsylvania birth records are available through the Department of of Health for 1906 and 1907. Once an individual is located in the index a non certified Birth certificate can be obtained by writing and sending $3.00 to:

Division of Vital Records
ATTN: Public Records
P.O. Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103

The Register of Wills have incomplete birth records from 1852 to 1855 and complete records 1893 to 1905. You may obtain the records from:

Register of Wills
2 N. Main Street, Suite 301
Greensburg, PA 15601
Phone: 724-830-3177
Fax: 724-850-3976
Email: row@co.westmoreland.pa.us
Hours: Monday, Wednesday to Friday 8:15 am to 4:15 am
Tuesday 8:15 am to 6:00 pm

Marriage

Pennsylvania marriages are located at the county level. Contact the Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania clerk's office for these records.

The Register of Wills have incomplete marriage records from 1852 to 1855 and complete records 1885 to the present. You may obtain the records from:

Register of Wills
2 N. Main Street, Suite 301
Greensburg, PA 15601
Phone: 724-830-3177
Fax: 724-850-3976
Email: row@co.westmoreland.pa.us
Hours: Monday, Wednesday to Friday 8:15 am to 4:15 am
Tuesday 8:15 am to 6:00 pm

In May 2012, the Register of Wills of the Orphan Court discovered marriages performed by District Judge, Raymond Tubbs from 1974 to 1989 had not been filed. This office is now trying to reconstruct the marriages. To learn about this problem visit their website. at http://www.co.westmoreland.pa.us/westmoreland/cwp/view.asp?a=1453&q=639334.

Divorce

Divorce records are handled by the office of the Prothonotary. While no on-line indexes or records are available, records may be obtained by visiting or writing to the Prothonotary at:

Westmoreland Prothonotary
P.O. Box 1630
2 N. Main Street
Suite 501
Greensburg, PA 15601
Phone: 724-830-3502

Death

Early deaths 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. See the heading Court Records on this page for contact information.

Indexes for Pennsylvania death records are available through the Department of Health for 1906 through 1962. Once an individual is located in the index a non certified death certificate can be obtained obtained by writing and sending $3.00 to:

Division of Vital Records
ATTN: Public Records
P.O. Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103

  • 1852-1854 – Pennsylvania Deaths Ancestry.com – $ Index with images.

The Register of Wills have incomplete death records from 1852 to 1855 and complete records 1893 to 1905. You may obtain the records from:

Register of Wills
2 N. Main Street, Suite 301
Greensburg, PA 15601
Phone: 724-830-3177
Fax: 724-850-3976
Email: row@co.westmoreland.pa.us
Hours: Monday, Wednesday to Friday 8:15 am to 4:15 am
Tuesday 8:15 am to 6:00 pm

Web Sites

Places

Populated Places

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Adams County, Pennsylvania" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adams_County,_Pennsylvania (accessed 17 July 2012).
  3. John B.B. Trussell and Charles C. Dallas, The Pennsylvania Line; Regimental Organization and Operations, 1776-1783 (Harrisburg, Pa.: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1977). Digital version at Family History Archive.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "8th Pennsylvania Regiment," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8th_Pennsylvania_Regiment, accessed 31 May 2012.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "9th Pennsylvania Regiment," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9th_Pennsylvania_Regiment, accessed 31 May 2012.

 

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