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Dues changes for 2021: The suspension of program meetings for the time being has led the Executive Committee to issue a discount on 2021 dues to individual members who are current on their 2020 dues. This will take the form of AUTOMATIC RENEWAL of their membership for the calendar year 2021, without the need to pay dues for 2021.
If you are an INDIVIDUAL member for 2020, you do not need to pay dues for 2021!
If you are an INSTITUTIONAL subscriber for 2020, you DO need to renew your membership.
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 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.

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 through the end of 2020. We will likely need to find a new and suitable location when we do resume.  We will re-evaluate the situation from time to time. If members are interested in holding on-line meetings, such as via Zoom, it will help our planning to let us know – please send a brief email to vpresident@centrecountygenealogy.org with your preferences as to time and day(s) of week. 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. All Centre County Library  locations are closed to the public until further notice, as is Schlow Regional Library.  Visit their websites for information about “curb-side” services. See the announcement at top of page 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 our closure, 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 have been postponed. 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!

Society News…

We are gearing up to start transcribing church records that we photographed a while back. More distant members can help with this project. Please let Richard Wade (president@centrecountygenealogy.org) know of your interest in helping!

The State Library in Harrisburg will close for renovations beginning Saturday, June 1. Work to renovate the Forum Building will take about two years. Meanwhile, Genealogy and Law materials will be available at the Keystone Building, starting July 2, 2019. 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. The timing of this decision to end distribution prior to this date seems to be related to the availability of unexposed (‘blank’) microfilm to make new distribution copies from the master films.

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…. Please ask Richard Wade or other members if you need some assistance in finding what’s available. Some images are restricted by agreement with the custodians of the records, and can be viewed only at an FHC.