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Washington County Pennsylvania

and State of Pennsylvania


What do you need to know ?

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


Register of Wills

This office maintains the following records

  • birth & death to 1906
  • marriages - some begin 1885
  • Wills - from 1700s and onward, oldest on microfilm
  • Accounts, if died Intestate (without a Will)
  • Orphan's Court



1893 marks the first recorded births, but not all were recorded; if parents or next of kin did not record the birth or death, the event may not be listed. The only existing Index for EARLIEST births is locked up in the Vault, so you must ASK to see it.  Births and Death records (earliest) contain ONE line entry usually with very limited information.  Later records contain more information.

After Dec. 1906, the Department of Health maintains birth and death records, but at the beginning the records may be missing if the events were not reported.

If you know a month or exact date for BIRTHS OR DEATHS ON ANY DATE AFTER 1808, the Citizens Library maintains newspapers on microfilm starting 1808.  The Washington Examiner newspaper, published as a monthly in the very late 1700s preceded The Observer and The Reporter but NO copies exist of The Examiner.



Marriages were not required to be recorded at the county in the 1700-1800s.  The county will NOT have marriage applications or returns (Licenses) this early.  In this county, some records exist beginning in 1885.

Other possible sources are to find which church the parties attended.  The couple could have married in either church...or sometimes, they picked a different church where a friend/relative pastored.  Sometimes, two or more clergy officiated the wedding. 

Also, a few pastor's / reverend's personal records exist.  Check online or at Citizens Library for these.

Best option for pre-1900s is to check the microfilmed newspapers at Citizens Library.  If you have an exact date, Staff will do look-up for $10.00 PER NAME.  

Citizens Library
55 S College St # 2
Washington, PA 15301
(724) 222-2400

Give as much information as possible, names of bride & groom, and date of marriage.




Wills were recorded from the 1700s, with the earliest residents.  Wills were/are the one record that is typically filed quickly after a death because the estate had to be settled and people wanted their inheritances quickly.  It is possible to determine an approximate death date by looking at both the date the Will was written along with the date filed & recorded.

Accounts were filed when the person owned real and personal property AND died intestate.  These collections of original papers are goldmines of info.  All have been microfilmed, including the index.


Orphan's Court
Courtesy of Leslie Nelson, written Feb. 28, 2003 to the PAWASHIN LIST

Orphans' Court 

The responsibilities of the Orphans' Courts in Pennsylvania differ from county to county, and some of the functions they performed 100+ years ago may have since been transferred to other courts or county authorities, but here's a general overview: 

The purpose of the Orphans' Court is to protect the personal and property rights of anyone who may not be capable of handling his or her own affairs. This definition encompasses more than orphans - it also includes deceased persons, along with anyone else determined to be incapacitated. 

Therefore, in addition to appointing guardians for minors and incapacitated persons, the Orphans' Court has the power to appoint executors and administrators of estates; handle matters relating to inheritances, estates and trusts; and render binding decisions in disputes involving matters under its jurisdiction, including challenges to wills. The Orphans' Court must also approve any sales of property, civil settlements, etc., involving an estate or a minor child. 

Depending on the county, the Orphans' Court might also have jurisdiction in marriage matters, in licensing or registering the marriage or in settling disputes involving the legality of a marriage or intended marriage. In small counties, the Orphans' Court sometimes acted as Register of Wills or even as Register of Deeds.  -- L. Nelson.



When writing to this office, include as much info as possible.

Fees:  $10.00 PER NAME per search - copying is extra

Requests:  Make requests IN WRITING, give as much info as possible

Payment:  Personal Check, cash, money order.  No credit cards.


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: 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


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




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



Citizen's Library Link


Added July 2008, updated July 2013

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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     ( "AT" ).   I spend most of my time adding new material so please allow at least 14 days for a reply.

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History of this website - The first PAGenWeb Washington County coordinator was Jean Suplick Matuson [who developed She was followed by Georgeann Malowney [who took over], 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.

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This page last updated Thursday, February 04, 2016