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Our next Zoom meeting will be held at 7 p.m. (Eastern) on Thursday September 9, 2021. (Zoom “doors” will open a few minutes beforehand.) The topic will be “Local Records — What’s Available and How to Preserve Them.” There should be ample time for discussion after a short presentation of resources at the Pennsylvania Room in Bellefonte. Please think about what records relating to Centre County you are most interested in learning about, or would like to have easier access to.

A Zoom invitation for September 9 will be sent to members a few days in advance. Non-members who wish to attend should use the Contact Us tab to send a request to the President. (Please allow enough lead time to allow a response! — 24 hours or more, if possible.)

We will not be conducting in-person meetings for a while yet, and we will be exploring the possibility of hybrid meetings, to allow “remote” attendance (or perhaps rotating between in-person and remote meetings).

If you are not yet a Member, please click on the Membership Information tab to learn about Benefits of Membership and download the mail-in Membership form, or use our Paypal registration. Your membership will begin immediately and continue through 2021.

If you are in doubt about your membership status, or wish to update your contact information or submit a new “Super Eights” surname list, please contact membership@centrecountygenealogy.org

Other News…

The latest issue of our quarterly newsletter, Roots, has been posted in the Members Only section of the website (Click the Members Section Tab).

At the May 6 members meeting, officers were elected for terms beginning on July 1: President, Richard Wade; Vice-President, Pamela McCloskey, Membership Secretary, Elaine Prestia; and Corresponding Secretary, Judy Hazel.

Covid-19 News… (details below…)

The Pennsylvania Room has reopened for limited in-house services. There are significant changes to operations, including the need to make an appointment and adhere to COVID mask and social distance rules. Visit https://www.centrecountylibrary.org/parmcovid to learn more.

Ancestry Library Edition is free from home, while Schlow Regional Library and Centre County Libraries are closed. Scroll down the page to learn more!

The Family History Center (State College), is closed until further notice.

Covid-19 Details…

As the coronavirus situation continues, in-person meetings are discouraged, and in particular Foxdale Village has restricted outside groups,  to protect its residents and nursing staff.   We do not anticipate having in-person program meetings for a while yet.  We may need to find a new and suitable location when we do resume.  We will re-evaluate the situation from time to time. Meanwhile we will hold on-line meetings, via Zoom, from time to time.  Please check this website or our Facebook page for updates.

The Family History Center (at the Latter-Day Saints church on Whitehall Road in State College) is closed until further notice.  Centre County Library  locations are re-opening in a staged manner, as is Schlow Regional Library.  Visit their websites for information about “curb-side” services, etc. . See the announcement, above, concerning limited reopening of the Pennsylvania Room.

Continue Your Genealogy Research from Home, for Free!

FamilySearch.org continues to be available from home. And if you have a Schlow or Centre County Library card, you can use Ancestry Library Edition from home, “for the duration.”  Here is what Robbin Degeratu from the Pennsylvania Room posted (Facebook group: Centre County PA Genealogy, March 26):

If you have to be home, maybe this is the perfect time to shake your family tree!  Centre County Library and Historical Museum locations and Schlow Centre Region Library typically provide access to Ancestry Library Edition onsite. In light of  Covid-19 related restrictions, access to this resource has been temporarily expanded to library cardholders working remotely, courtesy of ProQuest and its partner Ancestry.

Even if you personally subscribe to Ancestry.com, this is worth checking out — Ancestry Library Edition provides access to resources not included in the basic personal subscription.

To get started, visit the webpage below and use your library card number and pin to log in. After that, you should be all set to start searching your family history!


[End Facebook post; note, if after logging in using the above link, you encounter a page from Ancestry Library Edition asking you to provide Username and Password, try closing and re-opening your browser.]

Here are a couple of short articles to help you get the most out of A.L.E. The first, ALE-Ancestry-for-Free, is by Robbin, and was published in our Summer 2019 newsletter, Roots.  The second, ALE-Intermediate-Edition, is a handout from a library class held in Bellefonte, November 2019. (The articles are in PDF format. Since the handout was designed to accompany a class, just ignore anything that looks mysterious, and use the rest, focussing on Some Tips & Tricks for A.L.E.)

Our Next Event:

Our April and May 2020 programs were postponed indefinitely. We hope to reschedule them to future dates. See “Coming Up” below for descriptions.

Coming Up:

Date to be determined: “Getting Organized for Great Research!” This group discussion will be led by Pamela McCloskey. Organize your records, but also organize your thoughts to create a successful plan of research.  Bring your ideas, experiences, and questions.

Date to be determined: “The Stories Behind the Stones.” Bob Hazleton will talk about cemeteries and gravestones.

See the Meetings  & Events page for further information about events, as details become available.

Programs  happen with input and help from members. Are you interested in sharing your knowledge or stories or successes and puzzles with us? Do you have topics that you would like to learn more about? Can you pitch in to help the Program Committee? Contact Richard Wade (president@centrecountygenealogy.org).

Unless otherwise indicated, meetings are held at 7:00 pm in the 2nd-floor Meeting Room at Foxdale Village, 500 East Marylyn Avenue, State College. Program meetings are open to the public.

It’s Here! 

CCGS funding (your dollars) has helped the Pennsylvania State University Libraries digitize and upload for FREE viewing and searching, the Democratic Watchman (Bellefonte, Pa.),  1897 July 2 through 1919 Jan 27, at PANewsArchive.psu.edu ! More years will follow, until the entire run from 1871 to 1923 is scanned and online! (The Civil War era of the Watchman and other Pennsylvania papers are already posted.)

UPDATE, early Jan 2020: Additional years including 1889-1897 and 1919-1922 have now been uploaded to the PANewsArchive website!

FURTHER UPDATE, Spring 2021: With further funding from CCGS, a long run of the Centre Hall Reporter / Centre Reporter, from December 1914 to August 1928, has now been digitized and posted!

Our Spring 2021 newsletter contains an article with tips about using this valuable website. Did we mention that it’s free?

Society News…

The State Library in Harrisburg is located in the Keystone Building temporarily due to the renovation of the Forum Building. Visitors are advised to plan ahead and request materials in advance, as some items will need to be pulled and brought to the temporary location. Visit the library website at https://www.statelibrary.pa.gov/Pages/moving.aspx to learn more.

The handout for our November 7, 2019, presentation on “Searching Online Historical Newspapers” is now available as a PDF file in the Members Only section, with web links, etc.

A summary of our October 3, 2019, viewing of Sunny Morton’s webinar on “Comparing the Genealogy Giants” appears in the Fall 2019 issue of our newsletter, Roots.

The handout for our March 7, 2019, presentation on “I have My DNA Results, Now What?”, by guest speaker Kelli Bergheimer, is now available as a PDF file in the Members Only section. This is a longer version (in color) of the printed version passed out at the program.

The handout for our February 7, 2019, presentation on “Space, Time, and Relatives!” (using maps and other tools for family history) is now available as a PDF file in the Members Only section, with active links to the websites mentioned.

The handout for our November 1, 2018, presentation on “Finding Females” is now available as a PDF file in the Members Only section.


CCGS now has a Privacy Policy. You can find it by clicking on the Membership Information tab at the top of this web page.

The Index to the CCGS Cemetery Series is now online and free to the public!

Members, we have the last 11 years of Roots newsletters along with additional information from programs and newsletter articles available in our Members-Only section of the website.

Members, the Society welcomes contributions for the newsletter from our members: interesting historic photos or newspaper items, articles about families, summaries of research finds, queries, etc. Please contact our newsletter editor, Bob Wilkins, if you have something you would like to submit.


State College Family History Center Hours

The FHC at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meetinghouse on Whitehall Road in State College is open with limited hours. Official hours are Tuesday mornings from 10 am to noon (by appointment only) and Wednesday evenings from  5pm to 8:30. If you wish to make an appointment to come on Tuesday or at another time, please contact Martha Taylor.  See the top of this page for information about closures due to COVID-19.

Microfilms already in our possession are available to view. Premium websites, such as Ancestry.com, and restricted digitized records are now accessible.

Important Announcement about Discontinued Microfilm Distribution at State College Family History Center

The announcement Family History Microfilm Discontinuation is from FamilySearch.org (You may also want to read Dick Eastman’s blog post and the comments about this, at FamilySearch to Discontinue its Microfilm Distribution Services).

Microfilms can no longer be ordered.  However, the State College Family History Center is retaining all films currently in our possession.

The remaining master films (stored in Utah) should all be digitized by the end of 2021, with many of the remaining films digitized sooner than that.

Note that many of the microfilms that you used to order for viewing at the FHC have already been digitized and can be viewed (‘browsed’) online either at home or at the FHC. Mary Roddy’s webinar (our March 2017 program) gave some excellent pointers about how to locate and use these online images. You can also consult the FamilySearch page Finding Digital Images of Records….  Some images are restricted by agreement with the custodians of the records, and can be viewed only at an FHC.