Other Genealogical Possibilities in Wilkes-Barre

Luzerne County Historical Museum: I was unable to visit the Luzerne County Historical Museum because it had the same hours of the Bishop Library. I did go inside for a brief moment. I like to visit the historical society museums in the areas that I am studying because it gives me an overview of the areas history and it might point to something I did not give thought to. To find it you locate the Osterhout Free Public Library and it is right behind it along the east side in the back. Hours are 12 noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It is open Saturday 10 to 4 p.m.

The Farley Library: The Wilkes University is located approximately South St. to Northhampton and from River St. several blocks over from the river. I decided to take a quick tour of the Farley Library to see what they might have. It is on Franklin St. almost to South. I discovered that you have to enter the library from the campus side, not the street. They have a reference desk on the 1st floor with the reference materials behind that desk. I was told that the Pennsylvania books were on the 2nd floor. There is an elevator tucked in the back.

On the Second floor I found the Pennsylvania books in the F section. I took a quick look and found a complete set of the Pennsylvania Archives Volumes and the Susquehanna Company Papers. There were other titles for Luzerne County history. They had a copy of the Zebulon Butler book. I did not check the catalog for any other items of interest and did not look for any thesis written on historical subjects. Universities are set up to serve the students and faculty. You have to dig for the information. Who knows what treasures might be at this library and it is only two blocks from the Luzerne County Bishop’s Library. The Farley Library has very long hours. So if you want to study a Luzerne County history book that they have. You can do it here and save yourself some time.

The Osterhout Free Library was about 3 buildings west of LC Bishop’s Library. Their hours are longer. They have newspapers for the area and city directories back to 1881 or about. Again you might have to do some digging to find the genealogical gems in this library. I just went inside to get a look at the interior and see how it was organized. They do have a print out of what they have genealogically but it is a little vague. I would check the online catalog and see what might be there. I did take their listing of the Library of Congress subjects to use for searching a catalog from home.

I was told there were at least 4 libraries within walking distance along Franklin Street. That could be interesting! I will have to investigate when I get home on Sunday.


The Luzerne County Courthouse is located on River St. right on the Susquehanna River. You cannot miss it for it is a large stately building. I understand that the records however are divided among several other buildings and not all at the Courthouse. So you need to do some research to determine where you want to go. I decided not to go to the Courthouse. I felt I could get the information I needed from other sources like the Family History Library. Deeds (Grantor/Grantee) are located at the Courthouse in the Recorder of Deeds office at 200 North River Street. Go to their website and do searches for information and give them a call to make sure. It is a little far to be walking all around the area by the Courthouse. http://www.luzernecounty.org/search/results.

If I had gone, I would need to go to the building located on the corner of Pennsylvania Ave. and Market St. (20 N. Penna. Avenue, Wilkes-Barre 9 to 4:30 M-F). It is right across from the Best Western Genetti. They have the marriages, deaths, probates and wills. I was also told that if the records are very old regarding the probates they might have to be ordered. They do this twice a day and retrieve the documents. If you are lucky it comes the same day, otherwise you have to wait till the next day. I looked through the window glass of the door to see if there was a directory and there is one right inside the door. I could not read it for it was too far away. There is also a security check down the hall. They were closed by the time I got there.

There is a group on the web called the Courthouse Gang. They are at Yahoo Groups. You have to join Yahoo Groups before you can access their chat group. Once you do you then ask to join the Courthouse Gang. They are also listed on the Luzerne County PAGenWeb. So you can check there.

The Luzerne County PAGenWeb has a much more complete listing of libraries, archives and societies with links.

Happy Hunting!

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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
This entry was posted in Courthouse Gang, Farley Library, Luzerne County Courthouse, Luzerne County Historical Museum, Osterhout Free Public Library. Bookmark the permalink.

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