To request editing rights on the Wiki, click here.

Berks County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Guide to Berks County, Pennsylvania ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

{{{link}}}
County Facts
County seat: Reading
Organized: March 11, 1752
Parent County(s): Chester, Lancaster, Philadelphia[1]
Neighboring Counties
Schuylkill  • Lehigh  • Lebanon  • Chester  • Lancaster  • Montgomery
See County Maps
Courthouse
Berks County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Berks County PA Map.png
Adoption
Adopt-a-wiki page
Pa-rootsbuttonwiki.gif This page adopted by:
PA Roots and its members
who welcome you to contribute.
Adopt a page today

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county is located in the South-East section of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Berks County Courthouse
633 Court Street
Reading, PA 19601
Phone: 610-478-6208
Fax: 610-478-6366
Clerk Of Courts: 610-478-6550
Orphan's Court
Prothonotary: 610-478-6970
Recorder of Deeds: 610-478-3380
Register of Wills: 610-478-6600
Berks County Website

Berks County, Pennsylvania Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[3]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1894 1885 1894 1752 1752 1752 1790
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1906. General compliance by 1915.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • Formed from Chester, Lancaster, and Philadelphia Counties 11 March 1752.[4]
  • County seat: Reading[5]
  • 14 October 1728: Future southwestern half of Berks County became part of Lancaster County when it was created; the other half remained in Philadelphia County.
  • 1 March 1811:Schuylkill County was created, giving Berks its final boundaries. [6]

For animated maps illustrating Pennsylvania county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Pennsylvania County Boundary Maps" (1673-1878) may be viewed at the MapofUS.org website.

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

The following are locations in Berks County, Pennsylvania:

  • Cities (as of 1990): Reading.
  • Townships (as of 1990): Albany, Alsace, Amity, Bern, Bethel, Brecknock, Caernarvon, Centre, Colebrookdale, Cumru, District, Douglass, Earl, Exeter, Greenwich, Heidelberg, Hereford, Jefferson, Longswamp, Lower Alsace, Lower Heidelberg, Maidencreek, Marion, Maxatawny, Muhlenberg, North Heidelberg, Oley, Ontelaunee, Penn, Perry, Pike, Richmond, Robeson, Rockland, Ruscombmanor, South Heidelberg, Spring, Tilden, Tulpehocken, Union, Upper Bern, Upper Tulpehocken, Washington, Windsor.
  • Boroughs (as of 1990): Adamstown, Bally, Bechtelsville, Bernville, Birdsboro, Boyertown, Centerport, Fleetwood, Hamburg, Kenhorst, Kutztown, Laureldale, Leesport, Lenhartsville, Lyons, Mohnton, Mount Penn, Robesonia, St. Lawrence, Shillington, Shoemakersville, Sinking Spring, Strausstown, Temple, Topton, Wernersville, West Lawn, West Reading, Womelsdorf, Wyomissing, Wyomissing Hills.
  • Census-designated places: Alleghenyville, Alsace Manor, Amity Gardens, Baumstown, Bethel, Blandon, Bowers, Colony Park, Dauberville, Douglassville, Dryville, Edenburg, Flying Hills, Fox Chase, Frystown, Gibraltar, Gouglersville, Greenfields, Grill, Hereford, Hyde Park, Jacksonwald, Kempton, Kutztown University, Lincoln Park, Lorane, Mertztown, Mohrsville, Montrose Manor, Morgantown, Mount Aetna, Muhlenberg Park, New Berlinville, New Jerusalem, New Schaefferstown, Oley, Pennside, Pennwyn, Rehrersburg, Reiffton, Riverview Park, Schubert, Shartlesville, South Temple, Springmont, Spring Ridge, Stony Creek Mills, Stouchsburg, Temple, Virginville, Walnuttown, West Hamburg, West Lawn, West Wyomissing, Whitfield.
  • Unincorporated Communities: Blue Marsh, Brownsville, Cocoosing, Geigertown, Leinbachs, North Heidelberg, Pine Swamp, Plowville, Pricetown, Scarlets Mill, State Hill, Strausstown, Wooltown

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Indentured Servants

  • List of imported servants and transported convicts from Europe. Online at: Immigrant Servants Database. Includes list of imported servants and transported convicts who served labor terms in Colonial York County, Pennsylvania.

Iron Industry
The histories and owners of Colebrookdale Furnace, Mount Pleasant Furnace, Hopewell Furnace, Oley Furnace, Berkshire Furnace, Pool Forges, Pine Forge, Hay-Creek Forge, Oley Forge, Spring Forges, Mount Pleasant Forge, Gibraltar Forge, Charming Forge, Union Furnace, District Furnace, Sally-Ann Furnace, Joanna Furnace, Dale Furnace, Mary-Ann Furnace, Reading Furnace, Greenwood Furnace, Brobst's Furnace, Rockland Forges, Burkhart's Forge, Dale Forge, District Forge, and Speed-well Forge and described in:

  • Montgomery, Morton L. "Early Furnaces and Forges of Berks County, Pennsylvania," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 8 (1884):56-81. For online access, see WeRelate.

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Berks County, Pennsylvania online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information

 

Additional Cemetery Resources

Green check.png
The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.


Census Records[edit | edit source]

For links and tips on using Federal (or United States) census records online for Berks County, see: Pennsylvania Census.


Note that the 1810 U.S. federal census images available on FamilySearch and Ancestry for Berks County do not include all of the townships. It appears that Tulpehocken Township is missing, but some people seem to be included in the Bern Township section.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. For members, they may contain: age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage date and maiden name; death/burial date. For general information about Pennsylvania denominations, see Pennsylvania Church Records.

Harmony Methodist Church, Joanna, Pennsylvania

Many denominations dot the landscape of Berks County. Visiting the church your ancestor attended is recommended; however, many times, due to distance, that is not possible. The Historical Society of Berks County has an on-line index of more then 1.2 millions names, gleaned from the records of more than 300 local churches. It is not a complete index but still worth your time if you are looking for baptism, marriage, and burial records. The index is searchable in numerous ways, but searching by last name or church name is probably most popular. The index lists the name of the record, volume and page number where the individual record can be found. The volume and page number refer to books located at the historical society. To view the actual record, use the printable on-line form that can be mailed to obtain a copy of the record or visit the society. There is a fee for acquiring the record by mail. Check the website for current fees.

The Berks County Genealogical Society has various records for churches throughout the Berks County area. However, the society has not put the records on-line and to view the records one must go to the society.Church records of Berks County are located under the Research tab.

Additional church records can be located at Linkpendium and by searching the FamilySearch Catalog. The FamilySearch Catalog has a plethora of church records for Berks County, many are limited in the time frame they cover. When searching the FamilySearch Catalog, be sure to also search at the town and township level.

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational

Berks county pennsylvania churches.png
Contains church records of:
  • Albany: Jerusalem Allemaengel; Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Alleghenyville: Allegheny United Church of Christ
  • Alsace: Evangelical Lutheran Church; Zion Spies Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Amity: St. Paul's United Church of Christ
  • Bally: Beford Mennonite Cemetery Gravestone Inscriptions
  • Bernville: St. Thomas United Church of Christ
  • Birdsboro: St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church; St. Michael's Protestant Episcopal Parish
  • Boyertown: Boyertown Methodist Episcopal Church; Reford and Boyertown Mennonite Records
  • Douglassville: St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church
  • Geigertown: St. James Lutheran Church
  • Gibraltar: St. John's United Church of Christ
  • Gouglersville: Wyomissing United Church of Christ
  • Hamburg: Trinity Lutheran Church
  • Jacksonwald: Schwarzwald United Church of Christ
  • Kempton: Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Maidencreek: United Church of Christ - St. Peter's Parish
  • Maxatawny: Trinity Lutheran Church; Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Mohnton: Robeson Evangelical Lutheran Church; Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Oley: Friedens United Church of Christ
  • Pike: St. Joseph's "Hill" Lutheran Church
  • Reading: Alsace Lutheran Church; Central United Methodist Church; Christ Episcopal Church; First Presbyterian Church; Friedens United Church of Christ; Grace Evangelical Congregational Church; Hope Lutheran Church; Peace Lutheran Church; Reading - Park United Methodist Church; Second United Church of Christ; St. Barnabas Episcopal Church; St. John's Lutheran Church; St. John's United Church of Christ; St. Luke's Episcopal Church; St. Luke's Lutheran Church; St. Mark's Lutheran Church; St. Mark's United Church of Christ; St. Paul's Evangelical Congregational Church; St. Paul's Lutheran Church; St. Paul's Memorial United Church of Christ; St. Stephen's United Church of Christ; St. Thomas United Church of Christ; Trinity Lutheran Church; Trinity United Church of Christ; Zion United Church of Christ
  • Rehrersburg: Trinity United Church of Christ
  • Richmond: United Church of Christ - St. Peter's Parish
  • Robesonia: St. Paul's United Church of Christ
  • Shoemakersville: St. Luke's United Church of Christ
  • 1710 -1800 Humphrey, John T. Pennsylvania Births, Berks County 1710-1800 2 vols. Washington, D.C.: Humphrey Publications, 1997-1998. FHL Book 974.816 K2h.
Contains baptisms from the records of the Exeter Monthly Meeting in Exeter Township, St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church in Amity Township, Reed's/Rieth's Church in Marion Township, Host Reformed Church in Tulpehocken Township, Hain's Reformed Church in Lower Heidelberg Township, Oley Reformed Church in Oley Township, Moravian Church in Oley Township, Bern Reformed Church in Bern Township, Allemangel Lutheran Church in Albany Township, Moselem Lutheran Church in Ontelaunee Township, Catholic Mission at Goshenhoppen, Heidelberg Moravian Church in Heidelberg Township, Tulpehocken Lutheran Church in Jefferson Township, Christ Lutheran Church at Stouchsburg, Dunkel's Reformed in Greenwich Township, Blue Mountain Church in Upper Tulpehocken Township, Longswamp Reformed Church in Longswamp Township, Altalaha Lutheran Church in Tulpehocken Towhship, Rockland Lutheran Church in Rockland Township, St. Daniel's Lutheran Church in Heidelberg Township, Trinity Lutheran Church in Reading, First Reformed Church in Reading, St. Paul's Reformed and Lutheran Church in Amity Township, St. Joseph's Lutheran and Reformed Church, in Pike Township, records of Daniel Schumacher, Zion Lutheran and Reformed Church in Perry Township, Delong's Reformed Church in Maxatawny Township, Robeson Lutheran Church in Robeson Township, Zion Lutheran Church in Greenwich Township, Rosenthal or New Bethel Church in Albany Township, Christ Episcopal Church in Reading, St. Peter's Church in Richmond Township, St. Michael's Church in Tilden Township, St. Paul's Church in Windsor Township, Allegheny Church in Brecknock Township, New Allemangel Lutheran Church in Albany Township, Friedens Lutheran Church in Bernville, Spies Lutheran Church in Alsace Township, Robeson Monthy Meeting in Robeson Township, Schwartzwald Reformed Church in Exeter Township, records of Rev. William Boos for Spies Reformed Church, records of birth found in the Wittman pension file, Zion Lutheran and Reformed Church at Womelsdorf.

Amish
A branch of the Mennonites, early settlement in the Berks area consisted of congregations in Cumru, Maidencreek and Bern Townships. Bern Township was home to the Northkill Amish. The Northkill settlement was the largest Amish settlement up to the 1780s.[7]

Records for the Amish are not readily available. However, if one does have an Amish background, a good place to start is the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. Records are not available on-line and can only be viewed at the historical society.

Baptists
Baptists settled in Berks County about 1738 along the Tulpehocken creek by individuals from the counties of Chester and Philadelphia. Two congregations were formed but by 1774 both had disappeared from the Tulpehocken region.[7]

Brethren
Also known as "Dunkards" or "German Baptists," the Brethren were in the Berks County area as early as 1724. However, the first Brethren congregation was settled in 1723 in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Early Berks County congregations were located near Pricetown, Millersburg and Oley with additional groups in the townships of Tulpehocken, Upper Tulpehocken and Bern.[7]

Episcopalian
Bangor Church, Caernarvon

Registers are lost, but some parishioners appear in the registers of St. James's Church, Lancaster. An old trunk was discovered at Bangor Church with "sundry account-books and ancient title-deeds."[8]

Christ Church, Reading

St. Gabriel's Church, Douglassville

Registers begin in 1735.[8]

St. Thomas's Church, Caernarvon

Registers are lost, but some parishioners appear in the registers of St. James's Church, Lancaster.[8]

Lutheran
The Lutheran denomination existed in the Berks County area as early as 1727 when Lutherans from Schoharie, New York settled in the Tulpehocken area of the county. The German religions were the most abundant denominations in the Berks County area. The Lutheran and Reformed were united in the building of their church edifices. These structures were called "Union" churches as the Lutheran and Reformed congregations took responsibilty for the maintenance of the building. The two denominations alternated their church services every two Sundays.[7]

Because it is not unusual to find family religious ordinances in both Lutheran and Reformed records, it is wise to search both denominational records when researching.

Altalaha Evangelical Lutheran Church, Rehrersburg

Belleman's Lutheran Church, Centre Township

Evangelical Lutheran Church, Sinking Spring

Friedens Lutheran and Reformed Church, Albany Township

Huff's Church, Hereford Township

Little Tulpehocken or Christ's Church Evangelical Lutheran, Jefferson Township

Maidencreek Lutheran Church, Brandon

Mertz Lutheran Church, Rockland Township

New Bethel or Stone Lutheran Church, Grimville

Oley Hill or St. Joseph's Church, Pike Township

St. Paul Lutheran and Reformed Church, Amityville

Salem Lutheran Church, Bethel

Trinity Lutheran Church, Reading

Zion's Moselem Lutheran Church, Richmond Township

Quakers
Also known as the "Friends," the Quakers earliest settlement in the Berks County area was in 1725 in what was Amity Township. Later meetinghouses were erected in the townships of Maiden Creek and Robeson and eventually in the town of Reading. The Quakers had considerably political control of the county as long as the Penn proprietors controlled the colony of Pennsylvania.[7]

Early Quaker monthly meetings (with years established):

  • Exeter Monthly Meeting, near Stonersville, Pa. (1737). First known as Oley Monthly Meeting. Hinshaw published the early records: FHL Book 974.8 K2w v. 2.[10]

Reformed
Also known as "German Calvinists" or "Dutch Reformed", Reformed congregations had their beginnings in Berks County in the townships of Oley, Greenwich and Heidelberg. The Reformed congregations were heavily associated with the Lutheran congregations. For a list of ministers see the attached reference.[7]

Christ Manatawny or Delong Reformed Church, Bowers

Friedens New Alemangel White Church Lutheran Church, Wesnersville

Host Reformed Church, Tulpehocken Township

Reformed Church, Oley

St. John's Reformed Church, Kutztown

St. John's or St. John's (Hains) Reformed Church, Lower Heidelberg Township

Roman Catholic
The Catholic Church, while currently prominent, had very humble beginnings in the county. Part the of Diocese of Allentown, the Catholic population in Berks County began to appear about 1740 and by 1757 had two congregations which amounted to approximately 250 people.[7] It must be remembered that the Catholic Church persecuted the protestant denominations throughout European history. Hence, the protestants of Berks County were leary of the arrival of the Catholic Church arriving in the area.

Currently, the Family History Library has few Catholic records. It is best to contact the church or the diocese where the ancestor lived.

Most Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church, Bally

St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church, Goshenhoppen

Court Records[edit | edit source]

For information about records kept in the Orphan's court, Prothonotary Court, Court of Common Pleas, and other courts in counties of Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Court Records Wiki page.

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

For online resources, passenger lists, and specific groups coming to Pennsylvania, see Pennsylvania Emigration and Immigration.

Berks County is a potpourri of humanity. Early immigrants to the county were from the Netherlands, Germany and the British Isles. Later immigrants were of eastern European and Hispanic extraction. The major ports of arrival for these groups were Philadelphia and New York.

Prior to 1906 many individuals naturalized at the county level and these records are kept by the prothonotary at the county courthouse. Many of the records will not list town or city of origin or birth but it is still wise to check.

Indentured Servants

  • List of imported servants and transported convicts from Europe. Online at: Immigrant Servants Database. Includes list of imported servants and transported convicts who served labor terms in Colonial York County, Pennsylvania.

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

For groups that came, see People section of the Pennsylvania Emigration page.

Native Americans

  • The Indians of Berks County, Pennsylvania. FHL Book 970.1 B836t

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

The Orphan's Court ensures the best interests of those not capable of handling their own affairs: minors, incapacitated persons, decedents' estates, and more.[11]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a specific location and reveal family relationships. Records include: deeds, abstracts, indexes, mortgages, leases, grants, sheriff sales, land patents, maps and more. For more information, see Pennsylvania Land and Property.

Land records in Berks County began in 1752. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Online Land Indexes and Records

  • 1734 -1926 Deeds, 1734-1866; Indexes, 1752-1926 FHL film 20739 (first of 76 films) - images only; click on the camera icon to view images; The earlier land records for what would become Berks County are for the most part in Philadelphia County.
  • Ancestor Tracks publishes county atlases of the Pennsylvania Township Warrantee Maps on file at the Pennsylvania Archives in Harrisburg and offers links to other early landowner map sources.
  • PAGenWeb has several land abstracts for Berks County.
  • Deeds are indexed and available online viewing at the Recorder of Deeds. Copies of deeds can be made from the website or in person for a small fee.

Land Records on Microfilm

Maps

https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/b/b9/Berks_county_pennsylvania_townships.png
Berks County Map
  • MacInnes, Sharon Cook. Early Landowners of Pennsylvania: Atlas of Township Warrantee Maps of Berks County. Apollo, Pennsylvania Closson Press, 2006. FHL book 974.816 E7ms
  • Henry, Mathew Schropp and M.K. Boyer. Township Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania 1985 edition published by Berks County Genealogical Society. Original edition published 1854. FHL book 974.816 E7hb Berks County Genealogical Society added an index of land owners.

Click the image to view an enlarged version

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Historical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery. (1909)

Iron Industry
The histories and owners of Colebrookdale Furnace, Mount Pleasant Furnace, Hopewell Furnace, Oley Furnace, Berkshire Furnace, Pool Forges, Pine Forge, Hay-Creek Forge, Oley Forge, Spring Forges, Mount Pleasant Forge, Gibraltar Forge, Charming Forge, Union Furnace, District Furnace, Sally-Ann Furnace, Joanna Furnace, Dale Furnace, Mary-Ann Furnace, Reading Furnace, Greenwood Furnace, Brobst's Furnace, Rockland Forges, Burkhart's Forge, Dale Forge, District Forge, and Speed-well Forge and described in:

  • Montgomery, Morton L. "Early Furnaces and Forges of Berks County, Pennsylvania," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 8 (1884):56-81. For online access, see WeRelate.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Montgomery CountyChester CountyLancaster CountyLebanon CountySchuylkill CountyLehigh CountyPA BERKS.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Maps

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War
Local men served in the Berks County Militia. A guide at the Pennsylvania State Archives website identifies townships where specific companies recruited soldiers, see Revolutionary War Militia Battalions and Companies, Arranged by County. Many Germans from Berks County served in the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment.Wikipedia contributors, "1st Pennsylvania Regiment," in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia,[12] Berks County men also served in the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment,[12] apparently in the 3rd Pennsylvania Regiment,[12] and the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment.[13]

War of 1812
Berks County Genealogical Society, Berks County & the War of 1812 (Reading, Pennsylvania 1989) pages 66-84

Civil War

World War I
The Reading Militia in the Great War is a wonderful history of those men who served in the First World War. Rosters are included.

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Naturalization records can contain information about immigration and nativity. Prior to 1906, it is rare to find the town of origin in naturalization records. For more information, see Pennsylvania Naturalization

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers may contain obituaries, births, marriages, deaths, anniversaries, family gatherings, family travel, achievements, business notices, engagement information, and probate court proceedings. Newspapers are often found in local or university libraries, historical or genealogical societies, or state archives in the area where the newspaper was published. See Pennsylvania Newspapers for more information.

Newspapers of Berks County

Online Newspapers

To learn if there are newspapers online for a specific town or city in Pennsylvania, see news.google/newspapers and search for the town or the name of a newspaper.

Online Newspaper Abstracts

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Obituaries are generally found in local newspapers where the person died or where family members lived. Local libraries or societies may have indexes or other sources.

Online Obituary Abstracts

Obituary Excerpts and Abstracts

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Berks County are handled by the Orphans' Court and start when the county was created.

In addition to wills and administrations, the Orphans' Court also handles: audits of accounts of executors, administrators, trustees, and guardians; distribution of estates; appointments of guardians; adoptions; appeals from the Register of Wills; inheritance tax appeals, and various petitions and motions.

Online Probate Indexes and Records

Will Abstracts

School Records[edit | edit source]

Wyomissing, PA High School 1940 Girls Glee Club

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

  • 1767-1768, 1779-1781, 1784-1785 Proprietary and State Tax Lists of the County of Berks: For the Years 1767, 1768, 1779, 1780, 1781, 1784, 1785 (Pennsylvania Archives, Series 3, Vol. 18). Digital versions at Ancestry ($); Google Books
  • 1798 Pennsylvania, U.S. Direct Tax Lists, 1798 at Ancestry ($).

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital records are handled by the County Orphans' Court. Between the years 1852-1855 Pennsylvania made a failed attempt to record birth, marriage and death events at the county level. County marriage records were kept in earnest in 1885. Births and deaths, at the county level, were begun in 1893 and kept through 1905. For the most complete set of records, contact the County Orphans' Court.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Early births 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. For more information, see Pennsylvania Vital Records.

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Pennsylvania marriages were created by county officals. Contact Berks County Courthouse

Death[edit | edit source]

Early deaths 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. For indexes and records, 1906 and later, see Pennsylvania Vital Records.

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Divorce records are available through the office of the Prothonotary, Berks County Courthouse.

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

  • National Archives at Philadelphia
    14700 Townsend Road
    Philadelphia, PA 19154-1096
    Phone: 215-305-2044
    Fax: 215-305-2052
    website
  • Prothonotary's Office Archive Center
    Berks County Courthouse, 2nd Floor
    633 Court Street
    Reading, PA 19601
    Hours: Tuesday and Thursday - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    Phone: 610-478-6970 ext. 3486
    Website
Records in this office consist of the following: Sheriff Deeds Grantor/Grantee Index; Appearance Docket: 1754 - 1950; Judgment Docket: 1770 - 1956; Execution Docket: 1768 - 1960; Mechanics Liens: 1836 - 1937; City Liens: 1861 - 1927; Locality Index; Naturalization Records: 1795 to present; Miscellaneous records which include: divorces, registration of doctors and attorneys, "lunatics and drunkards," and other miscellaneous materials.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes.

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Museums[edit | edit source]

  • Berks History Center Museum
    940 Centre Avenue
    Reading, PA 19601
    Phone: 610-375-4375
    Website
The museum has an interesting and informative monthly television program which can be viewed at BCTV.ORG. When you access this channel, type "historical society" in the search box to access the latest historical program
  • Central Pennsylvania African American Museum
    119 N. 10th Street
    Reading, PA 19601
    Phone: 610-371-8713
    Email: mgilyard@cpaam.net
    Website

Societies[edit | edit source]

  • Directory of Pennsylvania Genealogical & Historical Societies
    Website
  • Friends Historical Association (Quakers)
    Haverford College Library
    370 Lancaster Avenue
    Haverford, PA, 19041-1392
    Phone: 610-896-1161
    Email: fha@haverford.edu
    Website
Dedicated to the study, preservation, and publication of material relating to the history of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Kutztown Area Historical Society
    P.O. Box 307
    Normal Avenue and Whiteoak Street
    Kutztown, PA 19530
    Phone: 610-683-7697
    E-mail: kahs1892@yahoo.com
    Website
  • Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society
    2215 Millstream Road
    Lancaster, PA 17602-1499
    Phone: 717-393-9745
    E-mail: lmhs@lmhs.org
    Website
  • Presbyterian Historical Society
    425 Lombard Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19147
    Phone: 215-627-1852
    Email: [refdesk@history.pcusa.org refdesk@history.pcusa.org]
    Website
While never a denomination of prominence in Berks County, their beginnings were early in the county. Organized in 1812 the First Presbyterian Church is currently located at 37 South Fifth Street in Reading, PA. There are currently five Presbyterian churches in the city of Reading and the surrounding area. Currently the Historical of Berks County has only records for First Presbyterian. Additional records may be located at the individual churches.
  • Reading Public Museum
    500 Museum Road
    Reading, PA 19611-1425
    Phone: 610-371-5850
    Website
The Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania support the John L. Ruth Historical Library and Museum at the Mennonite Heritage Center. Located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania the records and resources of this center cover the counties of Bucks, Chester, Berks, Lehigh, Northampton, Philadelphia and provide a comprehensive overview of library resources, online cemetery database, manuscript collections, photo collections, archival collections, and more.

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berks_County,_Pennsylvania accessed 2/1/2017
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. The Statutes at Large of Pennsylvania from 1682-1809, 18 vols. (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Wm. Stanley Ray, 1898), vol. 5 1744-1759, pages 133-140, 502-503, Chapter CCCXCII, "An Act for Erecting Part of the Counties Of Philadelphia, Chester and Lancaster into a Separate County," 11 March 1752, confirmed by the King in Council, 10 May 1753, creation of Berks County, digital images, Internet Archive (https://archive.org : 26 July 2018).
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 Morton L. Montgomery, Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County Pennsylvania (Chicago: J.H. Beers and Co., 1909), 46-47. WorldCat 4281157; FHL book 974.816 D2m
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Philip Syng Physick Conner,"Registers of the Anglican Church in Pennsylvania prior to 1800," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 12 (1888):341-349. For online access, see WeRelate.
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 9.16 9.17 9.18 9.19 9.20 9.21 9.22 9.23 9.24 9.25 9.26 9.27 9.28 9.29 9.30 9.31 9.32 9.33 9.34 9.35 9.36 Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/8/86/Igipennsylvaniabb.pdf.
  10. William Wade Hinshaw and Phyllis J. Selby, The William Wade Hinshaw Index to Pennsylvania Quaker Meeting Records (Kokomo, Ind.: Selby Publishing and Printing, 1990). Vol. 2. FHL Book 974.8 K2w v. 2
  11. The Philadelphia Courts at Common Pleas accessed 10 July 2012
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 John B.B. Trussell and Charles C. Dallas, The Pennsylvania Line; Regimental Organization and Operations, 1776-1783 (Harrisburg, Pa.: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1977). Digital version at Family History Archive.
  13. Wikipedia contributors, "6th Pennsylvania Regiment," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6th_Pennsylvania_Regiment, accessed 31 May 2012.

To access available information, first log into FamilySearch.