Research

Research Policy

General Research
For those individuals who cannot personally visit the Bishop Memorial Library & Archives, a research service is available.  An initial $25.00 fee ($20.00 for members), plus postage, is requested to cover up to one hour of research, regardless of results. This fee includes up to eight photocopies.  Additional copies are $0.25 per page.  Due to the heavy volume of requests we receive, please allow at least 6 to 8 weeks for response to your request.  At this time research requests must be received in writing and payment must be received before research is started.

Requests are processed in the order in which they are received.  Please submit requests on the Genealogical Research Request form and/or our Historical Research Form, which can be downloaded from this site; a letter explaining your request can be sent instead if you cannot download the forms.  When placing a request, please include as much information as possible that will assist our staff in expediting the search, including resources/records already searched/found.    Please feel free to contact the Library staff in advance with any questions you may have.

Research is performed within the resources we hold; we do not perform online research or research at other sites, including churches, cemeteries, other libraries, etc. other than obituary retrieval from the public library and some document retrieval from the Court House, as explained below. We also cannot handle extensive requests, i.e. researching an entire family line, or tracing deeds for the entire history of a building or house. If you have any questions about how much time your research might take, or whether or not we have the records you are looking for, please call our Librarian.


Document Orders

You can also request the Luzerne County Historical Society to search our database for a specific document and name.  The fee for this service is $15.00 per name/document, plus postage.  All requests must be submitted on the Document Order Form, which can be downloaded from this site.  The Society staff will search for and make the necessary photocopies for the following:

* Luzerne County Wills – First name, last name, and middle name of individual must be provided with request.  Transcribed copies of wills are available for the period 1787 through 1896.

* Luzerne County – Registered Births – first name, last name, and middle name of individual must be provided with request, along with the year of birth.  Only births that were registered for the period 1893 through 1905 are available. *Delayed Birth Act 1877-1905: see Document Order Form  or Resources page for more information

* Luzerne County – Registered Deaths – first name, last name, and middle name of individual must be provided with request, along with the year of death. Only deaths that were registered for the period 1893 through 1905 are available.

* Luzerne County – Registered Marriages – first name, last name, and middle name of individual must be provided with request, along with the year of marriage.  Only marriages that were registered for the period 1885 through 1950 are available.

We have recently begun offering record retrieval from the Recorder of Deeds, Register of Wills and Prothonotary’s Offices of the Luzerne County Court House. The fee for retrieving a record is $35 per location. If more than one record is requested per single location, the fee is $35 for the first record and $25 for subsequent records. If the requester has specific information regarding the record, such as a will index number, deed book and page number, or the date of a marriage, the fee will be $30 for the first record and $20 for subsequent records from any one location.

Obituary Requests
You can also request the Luzerne County Historical Society to search microfilmed newspapers for the obituary of an individual on a specific date.  The fee for this service is $15.00 per search, ($20.00 for searching Public Library) plus a first class postage stamp.  All requests must be submitted on the Obituary Request Form, which can be downloaded from this site.

* Obituary – Exact date of obituary is required (month/day/year).

Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for a response to your request.  Requests are processed in the order in which they are received.  Note: all records may not be available for a given individual.

Newspapers Available for Research
We have local newspapers on microfilm dating back to the early 1800s up until approximately 1949.  More current newspapers on microfilm can be found at the local public library, which we can also search for you.

Library Resources
We have numerous resources in our library from city directories to maps and photographs to Federal census.  Click here to view a detailed list of library resources that are available to you.