RECORDS INFORMATION

Washington County Pennsylvania

and State of Pennsylvania

WHERE ARE RECORDS FOR WASHINGTON COUNTY PA

What do you need to know ? 

Washington County Courthouse (Main Address)
100 W. Beau St. 
Washington, PA 15301-4402
Phone: (724)-228-6700 
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

 The links on this page should help researchers know which offices have what records, 
and will give assistance about how to write for records.  

Directions To Washington County PA Court House / Government Complex

 

COURT HOUSE OFFICES

Please visit each "Office" on this Web Site to see what records the Office maintains.

 

 

Citizens Library

 

Prior to the 1990s, all Court House documents were stored in the Court House, in every knook and cranny available.  From the attic in the CH dome to the basement, in old steel vaults in various offices, and even inside closets (yes, closets), old original documents filled shelves, on-top-of counter space, below-counter racks, above-counter racks, or were stacked haphazardly in broken and crushed cardboard boxes.  The smell of dusty, musty-smelling ledger books filled the air, even during summer when employees pushed open the large office windows in an attempt to keep cool, with small and large rotating fans set in each major office.

As our County has continued to grow, the Commissioners realized the Court House was quickly running out of space!  The County began microfilming documents and moving the original records to various holding-storage sites, from offices across the street, to an abandoned coal mine at Brady's Bend, PA!

Researchers prior to 1990s could just walk into the offices, get basic instructions for how to read and use the indices (indexes), and go a-hunting.  The ease of records access was only limited by the fact that so many records were not stored inside the office which maintained them; Who would think to look under the attic eaves for your ancestors' records,for example.  But, once you knew where something was stored--and found the correct person with keys to unlock those pesky locked closet doors, or to let you go to the attic, hey, you had free reign to "rummage" through any book, box, or drawer you wished.

Ease of access, lack of monitoring, and far too much "rummaging" was making our ancestor's records at major risk.  Besides deteriorating paper, records became misplaced or misfiled, or even stolen by unscrupulous "researchers", "historians", and "collectors".  I use each of those terms loosely, believing no conscientious researcher, historian, or antiques collector would resort to stealing County Documents and History.  But, unfortunately, records over the years have disappeared, including some Index Books.

The new system (I hear) is a bear to figure out.  Visiting researchers learn they must request records to be brought back to the Court House for review, taking anywhere from a few hours to a couple days.  So, if you plan to visit for on-site research, plan ahead and plan to stay in the area a couple extra days so you can request records and have them brought back to the office.

Good things about today's system include that

  • the county has a better inventory of "what they've got"
  • records that belong to one office are now stored together for that office
  • the office personnel oversee people handling the originals
  • some book indices are locked up all the time now (good for preservation but might delay your research)
  • fragile records get less handling, especially when someone wants just one record but before ended up handling whatever other records were stored together
  • fragile records are in a cooler environment at Brady's Bend, limiting humidity and moisture exposure 

 

 

You can CALL for basic information and up-to-date fee charges.

However, requests must be made IN WRITING to the appropriate office.

Always give several weeks for a reply.

Expect to pay one fee to find the record, and additional money for copying.  The office searches for the item, then sends you a form letter indicating how many pages will be copied, and you then send the extra fee.  Only then will your request be mailed back to you.  *Note: It can never hurt to over-estimate your "total price" and send an inflated check---and with a note that tells the Official to put any extra money into the "petty cash" for the office.  Or, you might add a bit extra and tell them to use it to buy the Office Staff some goodies (cookies, donuts)-- you'll give a smile to overworked employees and who knows but you might be remembered when you send another request.  ;-)

Download this PDF (Acrobat Reader) brochure to get an
idea of what TYPES OF RECORDS that the 
Washington County PA Court House might have.
 
NOTE - WASHINGTON COUNTY REMOVED THIS PDF FROM NEW WEBSITE.
THEY REPLACED THE PDF WITH THIS PAGE.
NOTE: Call or write the office listed for up-to-date information about 
where records are stored and how to make requests.

 

New Information Added Here  Or Download the PDF (Acrobat Reader) Genealogy Research Guide for Washington County, Pennsylvania prepared by Pamela J. Nixon, Genealogy Researcher 

 

Return to County Records Index

Return to Main Index

 

 

Added July 2008; updated July 2013

Blue mottled Spacer Line

Return to Home Page

This is the Washington County PAGenWeb Genealogy Project

Site Map

Submission Guidelines and Privacy Rights

 

Website updated by current webmaster from 2005 continuously through current year ; See Site History

To submit material for the website or to report a broken link, start your subject line with "WCPA" followed by specific subject and email me at:  Washington.Co.Pa.Webmaster AT gmail.com     ( washington.co.pa.webmaster "AT" gmail.com ).   I spend most of my time adding new material so please allow at least 14 days for a reply.

Notice: Links the webmaster gives to outside websites are provided to enhance your research and understanding of history and genealogy. However, The USGenWeb Project does not offer any endorsement of any outside sites or their contents.  This notice applies to all pages within the "Washington County PAGenWeb".

2006 to 2012 ;  2013 Judith Ann Florian, all rights reserved.  Website is updated weekly or monthly, as I receive submissions or when I complete a transcribing project. The materials (files) located on this website are the property of the webmaster and the contributors. Material is for personal research and may NOT  be included in any for-fee collection or publication.

History of this website - The first PAGenWeb Washington County coordinator was Jean Suplick Matuson [who developed Chartiers.com. She was followed by Georgeann Malowney [who took over Chartiers.com], then Peggy Tebbetts, and lastly, Christina Hunt who each held prior copyrights over this website.  Each coordinator has contributed much to the preservation of Washington County genealogical information/history.

This Washington County PA website is a current member of PAGenWeb and the USGenWeb.