Tracing ancestry in Westmoreland becomes easier with digitized files
Researchers looking to explore family roots in Westmoreland County won't have to leave the comfort of their homes.
More than 55,000 naturalization records dating back to 1906 have been digitized and this week were made accessible on the county's website.
Prothonotary Christine O'Brien said the project took more than three years to complete.
“Part of the reason we did it was to protect the (record) books. They are fragile and rip easy,” O'Brien said.
Detailed naturalization records of as many as 14,000 immigrants who became citizens while living in Westmoreland County are part of the searchable database on the prothonotary's page of the website.
Records include information on the person's background, where they came from, how they arrived in this country, their oath of citizenship, children's names and even photographs.
Anita Zanke, library coordinator at the Westmoreland County Historical Society, said the online naturalization records will greatly assist genealogy research.
“People are trying to connect to their past, and these records will help them find clues,” Zanke said. “Basically, people are looking for relatives, and now a lot of people won't have to travel to do that so it makes it much easier for them.”
The $65,000 project started in 2009 and was paid from fees the office collects for civil and family court document filings.
Older naturalization records dating to 1802 are currently on microfilm. Those records are too fragile to be scanned into the computer system, O'Brien said.
“We're exploring the option of digitizing the microfilm,” she said.
More recent records, from 1982 to present day, were not processed in Westmoreland and not available for the digital system, according to O'Brien.
The computerized records can be found on the county's website at: http://www.co.westmoreland.pa.us.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Route 22 lane in Derry Township blocked after crash
- Corbett rips Wolf tax proposals during Hempfield campaign stop
- Former Penn-Trafford student put on house arrest for drug sales
- Second phase of Westmoreland Airpark in Unity opens
- Laurel Mountain ski plan needs more information, planners say
- One-day lane restrictions set on Route 30 in North Huntingdon
- Ligonier Township wants more info on cell tower proposal
- Greater Latrobe teachers, school board approve 5-year contract
- Greensburg seeks holiday parade marchers
- House 58th District seat candidates focus on education, taxes
- Greensburg driver charged after ATV struck on rail tracks