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. Checks or money orders can be mailed with the request, or you can pay by credit card using the PayPal link on our website.

Requests are processed in the order in which they are received.  Appropriate forms 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.

Vital Record Document Orders

This pertains only to copies of Court House records that we hold on microfilm (descriptions below).  The fee for this service is $15.00 per name/document, plus postage.  Please submit your request 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 at our Library.

We can also perform record retrieval from the Recorder of Deeds, Register of Wills and Prothonotary’s Offices at 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 marriage certificate number, the fee will be $30 for the first record and $20 for subsequent records from any one location. We do not yet have a separate form for these record request, so please send a written request for what you are looking for along with the appropriate fee.

Obituary or other Newspaper Article Requests

You can also request the Luzerne County Historical Society to search newspaper holdings for the obituary of an individual, or any other general newspaper article.  The fee for this service is $15.00 per search, ($20.00 for searching Public Library) plus a first class postage stamp.  Please submit your request on the Obituary Request Form, which can be downloaded from this site, or by letter explaining what you are searching for; we will soon have a specific form for all newspaper searches.

Newspapers Available for Research

We have Luzerne County newspapers on microfilm with dates ranging from the early 1800s up until approximately 1949.  All newspaper holdings will be searched within the appropriate time frame for whatever you are requesting, unless you have a request for a specific newspaper. Newspapers from 1950 into the 2000s can be found on microfilm at the local public library, which we can also search for you.

Business Members

Thank You to our Business Members for their support!