Due to generous donations from many society members over the years, the library presently contains most titles relevant to the area, including:
Our library and archive are non-circulating and are presently available only by appointment. However, our society’s Librarian & Archivist, Dr. Brendan D. Strasser, also maintains one of the best private research and reference libraries on local (Berks, Lehigh) and Pennsylvania history and Pennsylvania German culture, dialect, folklife, and history in private hands, numbering several thousand volumes and periodicals. While current staffing of our library and museum does not allow us to field all queries or to pursue significant genealogical research for interested parties, Dr. Strasser and our part-time volunteers and university interns will do their best to accommodate requests.
To make arrangements to use the society library or to request additional information, please contact Brendan Strasser directly.
One bright autumn day in 1995, Dr. Strasser recovered at a local estate auction the 1876 Centennial Census of Kutztown, mentioned once in Ermentrout’s 1876 Kutztown history and presumed lost for the next 119 years. Conducted at the borough’s request by James F. Wagenhorst to provide a snapshot of the flourishing community on the occasion of America’s 100th birthday, this hand-written reckoning of the borough enumerates 1,194 citizens, their ages, birthplaces, and occupations. A testament to young Mr. Wagenhorst’s dedication, civic pride, and undoubtedly also to his stubbornness, it is the most accurate and thorough 19th-century census of Kutztown in existence, not excepting the Federal Census of 1870 and 1880. To access Dr. Strasser’s transcription of the census record as well as his related research into both the census and its taker, visit the Berks County, PA GenWeb.
Click on “The Census” and look for the six entries at the bottom of the page relating to the 1876 Kutztown Census.
While the Berks GenWeb project presents the most comprehensive on-line genealogical information on Berks County of which we are aware, individuals wishing to pursue further research than outlined above are also encouraged to visit the Berks County Genealogical Society, an excellent facility in Laureldale with a superlative collection of records and a helpful staff.
Genealogical researchers of Berks County surnames, especially those in the northern and eastern sections of the county, may also find the Strasser/Weinhold Family Genealogy Records helpful.
Although the major surnames and lines traced at this site are related to the Strasser family, dating to 1732 in America and from at least 1749 in Albany Township, information is available on hundreds of local surnames, most copied from local church records, obituaries, and through the Strasser listserv at Rootsweb. Not all of the information has been personally verified and so cannot be guaranteed, but it may provide some helpful leads to those stuck on various early Berks County branches of their family tree. It also provides useful links to other websites of potential interest, courtesy of Rev. Gary Reckart.
For researchers with particular needs relating to Pennsylvania German history, please visit the Pennsylvania German Society, which shares our headquarters in the 1892 Public School Building.
To purchase your own copy of Ruth E. Bonner’s 1965 Sesqui-Centennial History of Kutztown, click here.
To contact Brendan Strasser directly, click here.
To visit our links page for other local historical societies, click here.