Genealogical Research at the
Kutztown Area Historical Society

Among the many components of its overall mission, the Kutztown Area Historical Society supports genealogical research throughout Berks and adjacent counties.  While our long-range plans include a searchable on-line database to provide substantial information for local surnames of interest, for now, we provide a fairly comprehensive list of websites at which individual researchers stand the greatest chance of success for locating Berks-area information.  We hope that the recommendations provided below will encourage further investigation throughout the area.  If you have a site to add to our list, please contact us.  To see the resources available in our library at the 1892 Public School Building in Kutztown, go to our Library page.

Kutztown Area  |  Berks County  |  Pennsylvania  |  Specific Surnames  |  Other

Sites Specific to the Greater Kutztown Area:
1876 Centennial Census of Kutztown Borough
At this site, scroll down the left-hand column to "The Census": click on this link, and then look for the several entries for the 1876 Kutztown census at the bottom of the page.  Originally recorded by James F. Wagenhorst, transcribed by Brendan D. Strasser from the original document, this census is the most complete known record of the Borough of Kutztown in the mid to late 19th century.
Complete transcription of the Register of the Reformed Congregation of Ziegel's Union Church, located in Weisenberg Twp., Lehigh Co., PA.  Includes many surnames from the Maxatawny area of Berks County, only about 1.5 miles away.  Of definite interest to Kutztown area research.  Translation from the German courtesy of Randall T. Wert.

Ludwick Funeral Home Obituaries

St. John's Cemetery, Kutztown

Hope Cemetery, Kutztown

Fairview Cemetery, Maxatawny Township

Sites Pertaining to Berks County Genealogy:
Far and away the best genealogical collection for the greater Berks County area.  Contact this society, located in the Goggle Works at 201 Washington St., Reading, PA, for hours and directions.
Maintains a non-circulating library & archive to aid Berks-related genealogical research.  Not as complete as the collection of the Berks County Genealogical Society, but more readily available due to greater hours of operation.
General information on the resources of the Register of Wills office.  Searchable indexes of birth, death, and marriage registers for the City of Reading and County of Berks.  (Extremely helpful office at which to conduct research in person, as well.)
The BCAGP's mission is to preserve and maintain historic graveyards in Berks County and throughout eastern Pennsylvania, many of which suffer from neglect and vandalism, eroded headstones, etc. Research supports the existence of more than 300 historic graveyards in Berks County, with approximately 120 showing some sort of visible surface evidence. This updated and expanded site includes membership information, photographs, and contact information.
A superlative resource for census information, church & cemetery records, tax records, wills, deeds, obituaries, immigration & naturalization, military, pensions, history, townships & boroughs, etc.  A bit random because all information is submitted by volunteers and individual researchers, but filled with surprises as well.
Index site with links to the three censuses indicated, with plans for more to be added in the future.
Highly recommended site with links to family genealogy pages, including Gehris, Zettlemoyer, Yoder, Bieber, Brobst, and more.
An excellent site with many unexpected miscellaneous references and sources, including tax lists, church & cemetery records, will abstracts, etc.

Specific Surname Sites:
Genealogical site maintained by John William Bieber of Claymont, Delaware.
Much information on Albany Twp., but also including Greenwich, Maxatawny Twps. and other local names.
Genealogical site for the Gehris/Gehres/Geres name, including many other surnames, maintained by Roy Gehris.
Site maintained by Kraig Ruckel of Texas, with many links especially to Lehigh & Carbon County resources.  Database for RUCKEL, BATTERTON, and other families of Pennsylvania German descent.
Quaker family from the Hopewell Furnace area of southern Berks and northern Montgomery Counties.
Includes the listed surnames plus many other early northern and eastern Berks County names and lines.  Home page also includes many links to local genealogical websites.  The family genealogical website of society librarian Brendan D. Strasser. 
Maintained by Chris Yoder.
Website on Zettlemoyer and variant spellings maintained by Harry Wilson of North Carolina.

Sites for Pennsylvania Genealogy:
Founded in 1892, among the oldest and best established genealogical societies in the United States.
One of the most thorough websites on Pennsylvania genealogy, with links to all 67 counties.
State and county searches available from the main page.
The main Roots-List website for Pennsylvania, with major topics including Daily Life, Geography, History, Military, and so forth.

This site examines a collection of PA German gravestones erected from the 1740s to the late 1800s which provide a unique view of the culture, including a chronology of how choices in gravestone imagery evolved from the early German settlement of Pennsylvania, through the Civil War time period and into the 1900s. It is an introduction to these stones, and some of the people who erected them, with an emphasis on the 1700s, when the iconography and folk art of the Pennsylvania Germans were unique to their communities and independent of their English neighbors

Founded in 1977, the AGS is an international organization that exists to further the study and preservation of gravestones. While not specific to Pennsylvania or Berks County history, this site includes very helpful information for genealogists and researchers on such topics as "Gravestone Rubbing Do's and Don'ts," "Tools and Materials for Gravestone Cleaning Projects," and "Symbolism on Gravemarkers."

Other Recommended Genealogy Sites:
Not specific to Berks County, but containing more than 168,000 links in more than 150 categories, making it one of the most thorough meta-sites for genealogy on the World Wide Web.  Highly recommended for beginning genealogists, and very user-friendly.
The oldest and largest free genealogy site, supported by
The main site for USGenWeb, the most comprehensive genealogical volunteer project ever attempted.  Go here for links to sites throughout the United States.
An ongoing project to transcribe federal censuses from throughout the country.