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Washington County 'Little Washington' Pennsylvania
 Genealogy and Family History



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Index to Washington County Pennsylvania History and its Families

Downtown Washington PA About 1915

About 1915, Downtown Main Street in the City of Washington, PA
at the North corners of Beau St. (E & W) and Main St. (N & S) Intersection

This web site focuses on genealogy information for all Washington County individuals and families, whether they stayed in the county or migrated (in whole or in part) to other States.  It highlights newspaper items (birth, death, marriage notices, obituaries, missing persons, adoption and guardianship, probate and deed notices, and surname-only items.)  Links are provided for biographies, family trees and histories.  Use site- search to find surnames or individuals.  

History of Washington County PA

The City of Washington is the County Seat of Washington County and is located at  40°10'30" North, 80°15'2" West (40.174959, -80.250634).  It lies to the south of Allegheny County, and is north of Greene County.  Parts of both counties were once included in Washington County.  

Pen and Ink Drawings by Captain Snow 1754 and 1800
about time of land dispute over Southwestern Pennsylvania

Source Info for Captain Snow's Pen and Ink Drawings 1754

Tucked in rolling hills, Washington County PA began as heavy forests turned to  farmlands that were toiled over by Germans, Scots, Irish and other immigrants seeking religious freedom, new farmlands, and new frontier territory.  The presence of nearby great rivers made shipping easier. As well, settlers soon discovered Bituminous Coal.  With the County sitting atop the richest bituminous coal field of the Pittsburgh Coal Seam in southwestern Pennsylvania, coal companies grew wealthy by exploiting cheap labor of miners who often traveled from overseas for jobs.  Coal soon brought railroads, coke ovens, steel mills, and hard work for laborers.  Coal mining and steel production has declined since the 1980s, but for nearly 150-200 years, these jobs supported workers and their families.

The discovery of oil in the early 1880s brought great wealth to some families, with oil derricks dotting private lands across the county.  One old postcard shows the hillside above Prospect Avenue at the beginning of South Main Street Extension with derricks spread across that area, just blocks from the southern end of uptown.   The plentiful oil wells dried mostly, but mining is still in operation in the county, although more jobs today are in the service industry and farming (or dual occupations).   But, throughout harsh conditions of every kind, farmers have always persevered.  

Washington farms were widely known for the excellent wool sheared from Merino sheep which were raised in quantity on many, many farms.   In olden days, the National Road or "The Pike" was a noisy scene of men on horseback and wagon taking their herds and flocks (sheep, cattle, hogs and other livestock) for river shipments at Brownsville.  Farmers also grew a variety of crops, and many farms included orchards.  Farmers lived by the farm, and the weather which often controlled whether they, their families, their animals, and ultimately, whether their farms would survive.

"Worsh-ington" and Little Washington

Those born and raised in the county will recognized the often-used reference to "Little Washington."  This was to distinguish it from the bigger city of Washington D.C., within 8 hours' drive from Washington PA.  Many grew up calling Washington, Pennsylvania "Washpa" (said just the same as 'ma' or 'pa').   Of course, some locals pronounced Washington and Washpa as "Worsh-ington" and "Worsh-pa" and called a washcloth a "worsh-cloth."   Even George Washington whose statue is atop the Courthouse was not immune to having his name altered in a similar manner.

I was born and raised in Washington and still had my Worshington "accent" when I moved to Ohio in 1985 and I caused quite a few snickers when others asked where I was from.  I was repeatedly told I definitely had a SW PA "accent" based on the ways I spoke.  Of course, asking for "pop" instead of a "soda" was also a dead-giveaway that I wasn't born in Ohio!   

My Research Experiences

I learned how to do genealogy research mostly in the County Courthouse with primary records and the original packets wrapped in brown paper and tied with red slender ribbons.  My family research extended from SW PA (Washington, Fayette and Greene Cos.) eastward to Bedford, Lancaster and York Cos., PA., southeast to Frederick Co., MD (earliest records so far) WVA, OH, IN, IL, KS, CA... and recently in to NJ.  In researching my family, I became interested in the church originally known as German Baptists (Dunkard)  - now called Church of the Brethren.  I have gathered quite a bit of information on many families who lived in the area of the County called Ten Mile and Ten Mile Creek.  I have collected copies of original documents since 1983 and inherited documents which my grandmother collected from 1970-2000.  My sister, Catherine L. Caldwell and grandmother, Ruth Elizabeth Lane McGary, were my co-researchers, both fantastic genealogists.  Our grandmother taught me and my sisters the hobby (passion) of genealogy.  I no longer do much research, but you can browse The index of Lane Book # 1 -  1st Book - [by Ruth Lane McGary and Judith Florian].  Lane Book # 2 and Index [by Judith Florian, my grandmother and sister] for LANE and related lines is unpublished; projected date unknown.  On an adjoining website, I present information to disprove a DAR application wrongly connecting my ancestor to a Revolutionary War soldier from Bedford Co PA. My family helped found and build The Ten Mile Church of the Brethren in West Bethlehem Township.  Read some information on my adjoining website: Church of the Brethren (COB) / German Baptist Brethren History.

Genealogy 101 How-To Articles

I have written a series of helpful articles for beginner to advanced genealogy research.    I also wrote Instructions to do a Deed Title Search (2 pages).  Contact me to request I write about your suggested topic.

Families of Washington County

Washington County is often overlooked by genealogy researchers.  But, the county served as a gateway point in travel from eastern locations to the west from the 1700s through the early 1900s. Family groups migrated into and out of the county in waves during almost each decade for many families (between 1790 to 1880). There was no set pattern to migration.  Sometimes whole families and relatives moved together, or sometimes individual families or parts of families moved.  Age was not a criteria either in the pattern: Some families included everyone, while in other families, the "older generation" stayed behind while the young adults moved on.  

Although not easy, families traveled much more frequently than many researchers realize! Men often owned land in two states at one time.  If your family is found in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky or Tennessee, you may find braches of your family had either passed through or  stayed in Washington County, Pennsylvania.  Consult county histories in various states for biographies; these may give clues pointing you back to southwestern Pennsylvania.  Of course, theses folks often migrated from eastern Pennsylvania, Virginia, or Maryland into the lower corner of PA.  But even if they were only in SW PA for a short time, they may have left records of their time in Washington county or nearby areas.

Submit your Family Information and Migration Details

I welcome submissions from researchers regardless of how long your family resided in the county.  Learn more about Submission Guidelines.  Only by seeing which families moved where can a more complete migration pattern be documented.  See other families' Migration Patterns (submit yours, too!).

Washington Co., PA Newspapers 

This website emphasizes county newspaper research and spans over 150 years of newspaper items.  Since there is no index to the County  newspapers, these items should help other researchers tremendously.  I hope you find *your* family here, but please understand, I do not have info on all families!  Read Important Details and FAQ about the newspapers.   You can submit your newspaper research, too.

Review The History of Washington County PA Newspaper Publications with Dates (3 pages) and read information about the papers' Editors.  I have a shorter History of Brethren (German Baptist) publications.

Washington Co. PA "Other Families"

Washington County PA Newspapers Who's Who Intro Page (Washington County PA Other Families and abbreviated as "o_f1".   Washington County PA newspaper articles, obituaries, death notices, marriages, births, reunions, etc., & other items.  

The Washington County section includes:

Information about Washington County PA  |  

Index to Maps Regional Current Map Washington County PA   |  Satellite Map of Uptown Washington PA  |  Current Streets of Washington PA Showing I-70 and I-79  || Historical Map of Virginia-Pennsylvania Boundaries  | West Virginia-Virginia 1861 Map excluding Washington County PA


County Migration Pages  |  Genealogy 101 Help Files Frequently Asked Questions Newspapers in County and Newspaper History   | Resources and Other Researchers Pennsylvania Items from Scotland newspaper  |  Tools You Can Use! 

Index to All of Washington County PA

Ancestor Stories and Pioneer Families  | Business and Industries  | Ads-Advertising  | Plants-Mills  | Professions  | Attorneys   |   Dentists  |  Physicians  |  Colleges Comics Environment and Weather  | Fashions Lodges  | Major Events  | Military and Draft Records Civil War  |  WWI Index  |  WWI Index2  |  WWII WWII (Greene Co PA)  |  News Articles  |  Glances-Personals  | Surnames  |  Years  |  Obituaries  |  Politics and Politicians  |  Reunions  | Schools   | Sports  | Trains


Other States   |  Poems by Judith Florian for Owners of deceased Cats   |   Tributes for Parents and Grandparents   |   Miscellaneous Info on various families not necessarily from Washington County PA  |  Books, Magazines, Resources List for Washington County PA

Surnames Submitted

Index to Surname Submissions  | Submissions 2008

McDonald PA and parts of now Allegheny County PA

Index to History  |  Index to Businesses and Industry in McDonald PA Index to Advertising from McDonald PA old newspapers  |  Index to Fashions from McDonald PA old newspapers  |  Index to Locations and Scenes  |  Index to Major Events  |  Index to Military Veterans from McDonald PA old newspapers  |  Index to News Items from McDonald PA old newspapers  |  Index to Obituaries (Obits)  |  Index to People and Biographies  |  Index to Politicians and Politics  |   Index to Reunions  |  Index to Schools from McDonald PA old newspapers  |  Index to Sports in McDonald PA  |  Index to Worship

Index to Folder 2 Other Families (o_f2) 
McDonald PA Newspapers

White wedding bells with pink hearts

More than 3,000 couple’s wedding and marriage- related notices!


A-B | C-D | E-F | G-H | I-J | K-L | M-N | O-P | Q-R | S-T | U-V | W-X | Y-Z |

** We can include items about YOUR families too - just email me  your info!**     ** Please Donate.**


McDonald PA Area Newspapers (Abbreviated "o_f2") - {Research of Victoria Hospodar Valentine} - A large area within this website, it includes articles and photos from long-defunct newspapers. 

Marriages from the McDonald Pa newspapers {Collected and submitted by Sandy Miklavic of McDonald PA and some from Victoria Hospodar Valentine }.  A collection of approximately 3,000 wedding/marriage notices and some divorces.  Started April 2007 and completed before 2008, thanks to many volunteer typists! Marriage Notices Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ.   Missing Wedding Notices from Master List #1 from McDonald PA NewspapersApprox 324 notices were not received by Nov. 13, 2009.


Other Washington Co PA Researchers and Networking

U.S. Copyright Official Website - FAQs

Historical Facts Charts about the USA and World Powers


Feel free to submit Your Surnames to the webmaster

If you email the information, please include dates, location, etc. 


NOTE! * I am unable to assist with your family research.* 
*I no longer live in the County.*
Consult the "Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness" (RAOGK) list for Washington County, PA 
or for other Pennsylvania Counties.
Washington County Lookups
Books We Own (look-up request site)


Sign "WashPA Thoughts & Comments" Guestbook

Read the Guestbook

** We can include items about YOUR families too - just email me  your info!**     ** Please Donate.**


Note: For links to other websites, I am not responsible for any problems with content or accuracy at any site that I do not maintained.  If you see errors on my websites, my email is at the bottom of my pages.


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Favorite Links for Washington County PA   |   Gratefully Accepted....    |   Judith Florian's Interests

Thanks to remember...  |  Tools You Can Use!   |   Surname Submissions  |   Miscellaneous Info on various families not necessarily from Washington County PA


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Uptown Landmarks-1

Uptown Landmarks-2

Life in Washington, PA

Brethren and other Families of "Washpa"