Index List of Funeral Homes and History Washington County Genealogy_PAGenWeb Project

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by Judith Florian with info from Bob Hummell, Funeral  Home Owner & Director

The funeral industry first began in a two-fold manner.  Firstly, most common folk lacked a wagon to carry a coffin, but these could be hired through the town's major Livery Businesses.  Liveries kept a pair of black horses, which pulled the "hearse" for deceased males, while a pair of white horses were used for the services for deceased females.  Slowly, horse-drawn funeral carriages were replaced by automobiles. Secondly, furniture stores always had wood for shelving, and people contracted the owner to create a coffin from the wood shelves, tack in material inside, and fashion a lid for the coffin.  Readers will commonly see advertisements from "Furniture Maker & Undertaker" through the 1700 and 1800s.  Over time, furniture / undertaker "stores" split, and funeral homes became separate from furniture businesses.

"Funeral Homes" often began in two ways: Families opened a funeral business in their own home's parlor (how the name "funeral parlor" came into being), and later bought a separate building, or families simply established a funeral business separate from or even attached to their private homes.  Many local residences still exist in Washington Co PA that were once funeral homes.  With the advent of automobiles, trucks, and panel trucks, some Funeral Homes were instrumental in beginning Ambulance Services in their community or county.

Funeral homes were very much family owned and managed businesses, often assumed by many generations over four decades or more. Many fathers and uncles taught their sons and nephews the ropes; wives and widows took ownership or managed the business when their husbands were at war, were ill, or had died.

Although many of the oldest funeral home names are now long forgotten, they can be found in old newspapers and obituaries.  Sometimes, a local Funeral Director such as Robert Hummell, who has been in this business a long time, has knowledge about the changed ownership and names of funeral homes.  On the next page, you'll find a list of old, closed funeral homes and previous owners from Mr. Hummell and those I found in histories on the Internet.


Old, closed Funeral Homes and Previous Owners

Current Funeral Homes, with ownership history

List of Funeral Home Obituary Notices for Deaths

10 Tips to Obtain Funeral Home Records

Where to Find Some Funeral Home Records



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Page added April 17, 2009

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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