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PA County Map
Berks County
The Great Melting Pot
Of Early America.

The BCGS features a knowledgeable all-volunteer staff, who like yourself, is interested in the family history of our hometown residents. Berks County, erected in 1752, features a rich history and diverse culture. It is the ancestral home of Abraham Lincoln and the birthplace of Daniel Boone, the famous Kentucky pioneer. The county seat, Reading, was founded in 1748 by sons of William Penn, Richard and Thomas, along with Conrad Weiser.

Members Area
Notable Berks County Residents
Taylor Swift
John Updike
Michael Constantine
Carl Spaatz
Lenny Moore
Betsy King
Carl Furillo
George S Messersmith
George S.

Upcoming Events

Saturday, April 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., BCGS will be manning a table at the Nicholas Stoltzfus Homestead for Berks History Day, Admission is Free. The event will feature displays of unique historic artifacts, participatory activities appropriate for all ages, merchandise available for purchase, a scavenger hunt, food vendors, prizes, and a bounce house. Additionally, knowledgeable guides will be offering tours of the Nicholas Stoltzfus house.

Thursday, April 18 @ 6:30pm | Brad Kissam, Volunteer at Daniel Boone Homestead will speak on Oley Valley Colonial Families. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is Free.  More »


Our library has now been upgraded to a barcode system with a searchable index. Just click on the link below to access our catalog, which is searchable by title, author or keyword. You do not have to login, just start typing in the search box to pull up a list of items in our library matching your search. You can then print the list and visit the library to consult the items found, or submit a research request form listing the items you would like searched. Of course the catalog is also searchable on the public computer in the library. Search Catalog Online

NOW AVAILABLE: 40 Years of Journals (scanned files with index) on a USB flash drive. List price: $36 | Members: $29. Pick one up at the Library or call us and we will drop it in the mail for an additional $1.  More »


Sites & Sounds of Historic Berks - 3/23/2015

BCGS In The News

BCGS Holding Open House - Reading Eagle (3/15/2014)

BCGS Tracing Roots - Reading Eagle (6/23/2013)

About Genealogy

Many people express a natural curiosity about their ancestors. They listen to stories told by parents, grandparents, or other older folks. The stories may be about the good old days, serving our country, or arriving as immigrants.

The science of genealogy allows researchers to act as detectives as they piece together bits of information about their ancestors. They may want to find out when their ancestors first arrived in the United States, if any fought in the Revolutionary War or Civil War, or if anyone famous is a member of their tree. The pathway to the past however, is not paved with gold, though some may be discovered along the way. It’s often a rough and rocky journey through twists and turns and sometimes road blocks.

Regardless of the initial purpose for the research, discovering one's family history yields many enlightening and enriching rewards.

A wealth of documentation exists about Berks County families including census records (1790-1930), back issues of the local daily newspaper, church records, cemetery records, naturalization records, minister journals, family indexes, deeds, wills, warrantee maps, and more.

The BCGS Library, open 7 days a week, offers a multitude of organized material to assist researchers in piecing together family histories.

Pagoda landmark in Reading, PA.

If you’re new to genealogy or overwhelmed by all the information, check out our Helpful Tips page. It includes research strategies, interpretations of the census forms, reviews of the top genealogy software packages, and a list of common genealogical terms and abbreviations. It also explains the value of information found in obituaries and cemeteries.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Who Do You Think You Are? - On TLC
Finding Your Roots - On PBS

Genealogy Videos On YouTube