Have You Tried a Probate Search in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania?

July 26, 2013  - by 

 FamilySearch.org Historical Record Collection has a fabulous collection for Probate Records in Pennsylvania for 1683-1994. That’s the good news. If you’re searching for a will in Allegheny County, that may be the “bad news” because it’s easier said than done.

Actually there is a process that is successful when followed carefully. You’ll want to know it before you attempt such a search. The “Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683-1994” collection is a browsable collection which means it is not indexed. You will have to search through the collection much like turning a microfilm on a reader. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Begin by clicking on “Browse through 3,201,289 images” and select Allegheny County.

It takes 3 steps to get to a Will (if there is one) in this county. The first step is to look in the Allegheny County Estate Index for an individual’s listing. Just choose the link according to the surname and first name you are looking for. Click and browse. You must learn the Russell Key Index System at the front of each volume. It will give you the page to go to in the collection. Now start browsing.

Once you’ve found your person in the index, you must use the information (i.e. volume, page and block) to take you to the “Proceedings Index”. (The “block” number is for one of the “squares” on the index page.)  See below: the name, death date and place, the Executrix, and the volume #, page # and block #


“Where are the Proceedings Indexes?” you may ask. Well the listings under Allegheny County in the “Pennsylvania Probate Records, 1683-1994” is very extensive and covers a variety of record types. They are listed alphabetically so scroll down the page (from the Estate Index that you’ve been in) until you come to the Proceedings Index 1788-1971. Choose the Volume you need (volume 1 through 95) and click. Example: Volume 36.

Follow the volume and page and block number previously found in the Estate Index. You will be successful if you are precise in following directions.


Once there, you will find what papers are contained in the Probate packet. If there is a Will (WB = Will Book), make a note of the volume, page and will numbers and go to the next collection – Wills.

“Wills” are found at the bottom of the Record listings for Allegheny County. Simply click on the volume you need and go to the page number. Voila!


Happy Hunting!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    1. The collection of will books only goes up to 1917 in the holdings of the Family History Library and the Historical Records Collection.
      You will have to write to the County Court House in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the will you are looking for. Try contacting them through http://www.alleghenycounty.us/wo/index.aspx
      Provide them with in the Index information you have. It will save them time and possibly the search fee of $10.00.

  1. to whom it my concern can you please send the appropriate information on how to research probates are they on line or do i have to go to the courthouse to resaerch the files the information would be deeply appreciated thank you sincerely david.boden50@yahoo.com

    1. I had the same question and I also followed the instructions from Cathy Turner. For Pennsylvania, that eventually circled me back to the familysearch page for PA probate, which, as noted elsewhere, appears to have entries for the Estate Index, Orphan Court, Proceedings Index, and Wills, but not for the Inv & Ap or Acct documents listed in the Proceedings Index, which would appear to the actual probate records.

      Maybe you have to get these in person.

  2. I followed the directions above to the Proceedings Index entry for Jacob Baier. There is no entry for a will (WB). There is an OC entry, which I identified as Orphan’s Court. But there are also Bd and Ac entries. What do those abbreviations mean? And there is an “Inv & Appr” entry that just says, “No. 108 1849.” I assume that’s an inventories and appraisals entry. Are those types of documents (Bd, Ac, Inv & Appr) available as part of this collection? I appreciate any help I can get on this!

    1. I am also wondering about the other abbreviations on the Probate Proceedings Index and where to find all of the documents. There is no will listed for my ancestor Henry Stocke Sr. who died Dec 9, 1894 in Pittsburgh, PA.

      Below is the information:

      Stocke Henry Sr Dec 9 1894 Pgh
      Henry Stocke Jr Admr
      Record of Death RD 10 298
      Letters Adm Bd 59 1
      Inv & Appr In 12 186 177
      1st & Fn Acct Ac 68 334 99 Jan 1896
      Audit Au 16 433 99 Jan 1896
      Admr Discharge OC 110 396 133 Oct 1896

    2. I have the same issue. I think the BD is the bonds for administrators. AC may be the account or accounting of their inventory. I think these books are missing from the collection.

  3. It was brought to my attention that I may have inherited money. My name is Christopher J. Musser and I would like you check it out for me, please?