There are several types of collections held at the Archives & Special Collections which are of particular interest to genealogical researchers. This is just a sampling of our many collections, so feel free to search through our collections for your own area of interest.
Oral history collections, such as:
Organizational records, such as:
Labor and Employment Records, such as:
Starting to research your family history can be a daunting task. After all, we live in a huge country with a long history of different cultures, backgrounds, and ethnic affiliations. Industrial Pittsburgh was a cultural melting pot of different races and nationalities, which makes deciding where to start looking for information fairly overwhelming. Fortunately, the city is also full of excellent genealogical resources, and the University of Pittsburgh Library System is a wonderful place to start.
This guide has been developed to showcase some of the resources that the Pitt Library System has to offer. Most of the material that will be helpful for family history research is held at the Archives & Special Collections, located in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Some material is also at Hillman Library.
One very important resource you will certainly want to explore is our Historic Pittsburgh site. This site has collections from the Archives & Special Collections, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Heinz History Center, and numerous other universities, historical societies, and local history organizations throughout the Pittsburgh region. Here you'll find city directories, historic maps of Pittsburgh neighborhoods, old photographs, and much more. It's a wonderful place to start any genealogical project.
We've designed this guide both for people who are just starting to dip their toes in the genealogical community, as well as seasoned researchers who might be interested to discover some new resources. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or want to arrange to see some of our on-site collections. Good luck with your research!
The Pittsburgh city directories contain a vast amount of helpful information, including lists of inhabitants, their occupation or business location, and residential address. The directories also include advertisements, business listings, locations of schools, churches, synagogues and benevolent organizations, and street directories.
125 of the directories for Pittsburgh, Allegheny City, and Homestead have been digitized and are available online through Historic Pittsburgh. These searchable directories cover 1815-1945. Microfilm copies of the directories are also available.
More modern directories, up to the present day, can be found in the Pennsylvania Department of the Carnegie Public Library, and at the Heinz History Center. Please contact these institutions for more information.
If you're looking for information on family members in Westmoreland County, the Greensburg regional campus has a wonderful guide on the history of the area, including information for family history researchers.
You may want to consult the Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, which can be found on the ground floor of Hillman Library. This is a guide to published arrival records of passengers who came to the U.S. and Canada in the 17th-19th centuries; the index gives the page number of the actual publication in which the person is cited.
You also may want to check out another guide on Pittsburgh and Regional newspapers held at Hillman Library.
Finally, you may find it helpful to peruse the Resources on the Ethnic and the Immigrant in the Pittsburgh Area guide, which is available both in Hillman and at the Archives & Special Collections. This is a compilation of resources available for the study of the ethnic immigrant experience in the Pittsburgh area, and which are available in various Pittsburgh institutions, agencies, and organizations. It also includes resources available from places other than Pittsburgh, such as the Genealogical Society in Salt Lake City, and the Library of Congress.
The Archives & Special Collections holds an enormous amount of information related to the University of Pittsburgh, including historical information on its faculty, staff, and students. A large amount of the material has been digitized and can be searched at our Documenting Pitt website. Here are some specific collections that may help you in your genealogical research: