Welcome to the Online Reading Room. The reading room houses our growing collection of articles and lists to help you in your genealogical quest in and around Berks County, Pennsylvania. Visit often. We will be adding information on a continuing basis.
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How to plan a successful genealogy trip - Million Mile Secrets
Every now and again, researchers stumble upon a broken link that displays the dreaded "HTTP Error 404 - File or Directory not found" or "The webpage cannot be found." error messages. This happens because websites come and go, links are changed, and sometimes they are taken down or expire. Don't give up if this happens. Here are two tips that may resolve the issue.
- If the link is rather lengthy, slowly trim it back from the right end. The link may just have been broken at the end. Going higher up on the URL address may lead to a main page where you may be able to navigate to the information you were seeking.
- Copy the broken link and paste it into the Wayback Machine search engine, an historical archive of preserved pages. If this also fails, try trimming back the link.
Churches, Cemeteries, and Religion
- Find A Grave - Search 121 million grave records at this free web site. Contributors submit new listings hourly.
- webCemeteries - Search databases and add memorial or obituary information for the your relatives and ancestors.
- Various Pennsylvania Cemetery Links
- Berks County Association for Graveyard Preservation -The site provides maps with locations of all cemeteries in the different Berks County municipalities.
- Fairview Cemetery, Kutztown, PA - compiled by Jay Druckenmiller.
- Origins of the Brethren Churches - Article by Lois C. Byrem, Strasburg, Pennsylvania
- Oldest Roman Catholic Churches in Southeast Pennsylvania
- St. Michael's Cemetery #2, Hamburg, Tilden Township, Berks County, PA
- Deppen Cemetery (now located at the Berks Heritage Center)
- Bern Church Old Graveyard
- US National Archives - Search over one million electronic records from the Electronic Records Archives (ERA), all of the web pages from Archives.gov, and all of the web pages from the Presidential Libraries.
- Pennsylvania Genealogy - Records relating to your Pennsylvania ancestors can be found at many archives, libraries, historical societies, and government offices located throughout the state.
- Government of Berks County, PA
- Berks County Register of Wills - General information on the resources of the register of will office. Searchable indexes of births, death and marriage registers for the City of Reading and County of Berks.
- Berks County Office of the Prothonotary - Searchable indexes for immigration, naturalization, appearance docket.
- CountyOffice.org - An Internet database of county government offices in the United States.
- EllisIsland.org - A free database of New York passenger lists.
- Find your immigrant ancestors in the Ellis Island records.
- Fold3.com - Formerly Footnote.com, specializing in military records.
- The Archive Records Information Access System - (ARIAS) is designed to facilitate citizen access to archival records created by all branches and levels of Pennsylvania State Government. Records series currently online or in the process of being digitized are:
- PA National Guard Veteran's Card File, 1867-1921
- Civil War Veterans' Card File
- Revolutionary War Military Abstract Card File
- World War I Service Medal Application Cards
- Spanish American War Veterans' Card File of United States Volunteers
- Mexican Border Campaign Veterans' Card File
- Militia Officers' Index Cards, 1775-1800
- berks.pa-roots.com - the Berks County project of the usgenweb.org volunteers.
- Reading Eagle Newspaper Archives (Google) - Search / Browse tens of thousands of past issues of the Reading Eagle.
- Hopewell Furnace and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Workers
- The Busch's of Ruscombmanor Twp and beyond...
BCGS Research Services
We can research the resources available in our library for your ancestor including church and cemetery records, ministers’ records, tax and court records, military records, the vertical file and any other resources in our library. The cost for the intial first hour of research is, $35.00 for members, $50.00 for non-members. If we need additional time for research, we will advise you before continuing. There is no guarantee that we will have what you need to find. We will do our best to answer your questions, but in the event that we cannot find what you are looking for, there will be no refund of the fee.
Included in the research fee is 10 photocopies of information we may find (five sheets, double-sided; additional charge for more – we will contact you if necessary). Please allow 6-8 weeks for a reply.
Nicholas Matchica Jr., the chairperson of our Research Committee, volunteers his time to follow up on and process the search requests.