Research Library

The Frances Strong Helman Library  

Our research library is open to the public Tuesday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and most Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The library is closed all major holidays. If unsure of holidays or weekend hours, please phone ahead, 724-463-9600.

The library can be accessed online, by mail or in person. Online information is limited at this time but lists, indices and text are being prepared by some of our many volunteers and will be added as they become available.

Research in person is free to members of the society as well as to student researchers. It is available to others at a $3.00 daily fee. Copies can be made upon request and cost $ .25 each. Pennsylvania tax of 6% is added to your copy charge or gift purchase.

In order to protect our holdings and at the same time make more available to our visitors, we ask that you follow certain library procedures. Briefcases or portfolios are discouraged in the library. We ask that you use pencils and not pens while conducting your research.

You are given access to all of the books in the library; however, one of our staff will access all files and return articles to their shelves and drawers. We have a very functional card catalog system which indexes all of our records. Tell us your surname and we will provide the corresponding references, if available in the library!

Our library contains census records and early newspapers on microfilm, cemetery transcriptions, surname files, family collections, county and general histories, atlases and maps, abstract court records, directories, periodicals, ship passenger lists, tax records and more. Additional and often rare material is available upon request.

Library Catalog

The Society's library catalog is now available on the Internet. Decades of organizing (and re-organizing) the collection, and countless hours of volunteer work cataloging the books and other materials in the collection have come to fruition in a web-based online catalog that any of you can search just as you would search the catalog at your own local library.  This is a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to easily find out about books and other printed items available for your research.

To get started, either follow the link from the Historical Society's website, or type in: LIBRARY

Once you're there, you can start searching immediately by entering keywords into the search box at the top of the window. You can also narrow your search to just authors, titles, subjects, and by other means. In addition, if you click on the "Advanced Search" link, you have still more options for searching. 

When you view your results, click on the title of an item to view additional information about it. You can also temporarily save items to a virtual clipboard and then print a list of the items you've saved there as you perform various searches. The catalog doesn't yet include every item in the library and archive collections, but we're working on it.  Eventually the catalog will also include things like the Society's collection of magazines, journals, and newsletters from other organizations. Most items in the catalog can easily be retrieved for your use in the library; however, others require advance notice.  Any questions? Just ask.

Subject Files

The Society maintains a collection of subject files that include various information on Indiana County, neighboring counties, county business, county industries, county churches, county personalities, and much more.

Surname Files

The Society maintains collections of obituaries, wedding announcements, and other newspaper clippings and loose papers related to families in the area. These are categorized by surname in files in the Society's library. The materials are not available online; however, we have over 26,000 surnames in our files.

Bible Collection

The Historical Society's Bible collection contains over 170 Bibles.

Funeral Cards

The Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County has quite a few funeral home cards and have organized them by name in two filing drawers. Here is a link to the index (.pdf format). Researchers may ask to see the originals. 

Research by mail

Searches conducted by our volunteer researchers at your request is covered on the page devoted to research by mail.

For a more in-depth glimpse of our holdings, please check back to this site at a later date and don't forget to view information concerning membership. In this way you can become an active part in the preservation of local historic records.