The Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society will soon move to a new and larger headquarters – in downtown Wilkes-Barre.
The new address will be 57 N. Franklin St., on the second floor of the building known as Annex II of the Kirby Health Center. The building once served as the rectory for the former Methodist church next door.
The group will open its research library at the new site in the second week of August, said secretary Roseann Kebles. The last day at the current site, the caretaker building at the Hanover Green Cemetery, will be July 26.
The move to the site across the street from Irem Temple was decided on only recently.
“It’s been a whirlwind of activity,” said Kebles. “We’ve had to find the place, sign the papers and do everything that needed to be done.”
The group, which has approximately 300 dues-paying members and more than 1,000 Facebook adherents, was first headquartered in a small building in Shavertown in the 1990s. Then came the move to Hanover Township as membership and holdings grew.
The advantages will go beyond increased space.
“Many of the people who come to see us are from out of town,” Kebles said. “The Osterhout Library, The Luzerne County Historical Society and the Luzerne County Courthouse are all nearby. It will be nice to be central to everything they have to offer.”
There is a public parking garage right behind the old church, along North Main Street.
“We also hope to be open a little bit more,” Kebles said.
Current hours, which will remain until late July, are Thursdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the second Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The society functions in many ways. Among its services are access to the immense genealogical holdings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons).
Its most recent major project was completion of the digitization of records from all the churches of the 11-county Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton back through the mid-19th century, though recent records are by agreement not available for general research.
It offers many other data bases and programs, far too many to list here, besides regional newspaper collections, school yearbooks and other materials. Visitors are invited to stop by and learn how the society can help with their genealogical research.
Updates are published on the Facebook page. Go there also for information on membership.
Classic History Free: A new and expanded edition of F. Charles Petrillo’s popular history of the community of Harveys Lake is now available online free of charge.
The online book is an expanded and updated version of Petrillo’s original history, published in 1983, containing 270 historic photos. New information includes such topics as the closing of the old Hanson’s amusement park and the final disposition of the land on which it stood. It also expands some of the original chapters, including the Sunset area, and has a new chapter on Warden Place.
Also new is art work by lake artists Dorothy Ricci, Linda Shurmaitis and Bonne Coveleski.
Said Petrillo in a release, “The e-edition has not been published as a traditional book but has been placed on the Internet in two formats: an easily readable, large-font format and as a PDF in traditional book format. Both versions may be downloaded for free by the public.” Go to www.harveyslakebook.org.
Tom Mooney is a Times Leader genealogy columnist. Reach him at [email protected]