Harrisburg to Sunbury, Northumberland County Seat

After visiting The National Civil War museum I headed up to Sunbury the county seat of Northumberland County. I wanted to visit the Northumberland Historical Society and see just what they might have regarding the history of the area.

Everything was going well till I took the wrong exit and had to backtrack. Then I panicked as I was driving up Hiwy 22 waiting to find Hiway 11. I took an exit to Halifax and it turned out to be Hiway 147 which was really perfect. A two lane, country road through little towns along the east side of the Susquehanna River. I saw the land, I saw farmland, rolling tree covered hills and fields. It was beautiful. Wonderful towns with the houses built almost on the highway itself. Everything was going great till we got behind some trucks painting lines?? Well that lasted about 20 minutes and then I was again on my way. I think the road sign indicating mileage saying 14 was incorrect, or the trucks slowed me down more than I realized. Finally I was in Sunbury and looking for the Historical Society which is on Hiway 149 at the north end of town. Be careful it comes up quickly and you can miss the entrance.

I parked in the parking lot on the other side of the museum which can be accessed by other streets if you know what you are doing. The museum itself was closed for renovation, but the genealogical library was open from 1-4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I met Ann and Jack and they assisted me in finding information about Goss, Scott and Seward. I looked at their family histories but I did not see anything that would fit my line of the Goss family. They were using Goss/Gass interchangeably and I think that is German in origin, my family is English. They have a nice collection of maps. History books for the area they serve. It is small but it has lots of shelves with many books and it is a growing active genealogical library. Jack and Ann were very helpful and efficient.

I was informed that early marriages would probably appear in the church records (1776) and was pointed to Humphrey’s work. I was familiar with it because I visited his booth and attended his lecture at the FGS in Philadelphia. He had not done anything on Luzerne yet. They did not have that much on Luzerne County which was a bit surprising, but apparently they are concentrating on Northumberland instead. They did have an index printed of the probates that covered 1772 to 1859 and I purchased a copy for $5.30. I did not find my surnames in it but I did find the name Gearhart and that was a family that married into the Goss family through Nathaniel Goss. I also found a copy of Huntington and Fairmount Twps from the Atlas from the 1875 Atlas of Luzerne. I was happy to find my family in that and do not think that I have seen that. I believe the Nathaniel Goss is the grandson of Philip that this atlas features. I need to study it more.

You may not have great finds when you visit small historical or genealogical societies but you never know what you will find. I feel that I have determined just what they have and their interests are and it does not include the Luzerne area I am interested in. Tomorrow I will check the deed indexes at the courthouse and see if anything interesting comes up. However, according to my resources Northumberland was the county but the area I am studying did not have probate or deed jurisdiction while under Northumberland. I need to seek confirmation of that fact?

The best is hopefully yet to come, tomorrow Wilkes-Barre is the goal and the Luzerne Historical Society which used to be called the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society. I will be much closer to where the family actually settled.

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About BJ MacDonald

Interested in travel, really into genealogy and researching my family history, classic novels and movies, fantasy and science fiction, photography, history and more... Here is a tip. Make sure you are commenting on the blog you were visiting and the post you were interested in. My blogs are listed by hovering over my pictures and clicking. Clicking one of them will take you back to the correct blog. You can try me here: bjmcdonell@gmail.com
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One Response to Harrisburg to Sunbury, Northumberland County Seat

  1. turbo says:


    I live in Sunbury. The deeds go back to 1932, The problem is they put it on microfilm.

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