Genealogy is the study of the history of past and present family members. Learning more about family backgrounds and where we come from can help people develop a strong sense of who they really are. It can also open up doors of communication, bring family members together around a shared interest, and inspire intergenerational storytelling.
Berks History Center’s Henry Janssen Library has served as a community staple for genealogical research for generations. Included within the library collections are over 17,000 photographs, personal and family papers, church and cemetery records, records of local businesses, census reports, county tax records, newspapers, and much more.
At the beginning of July, Jonathan K. Del Collo, Prothonotary of Berks County, generously added to Henry Janssen Library’s collection by donating digitized copies of Berks County Naturalization Records from 1798-1995. Prior to this donation, these records were only available by visiting the Berks County Courthouse.
Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a lawful permanent resident after meeting the requirements established by Congress. Naturalization records oftentimes serve as a key resource for individuals conducting genealogy research, as they can include important details such as the applicant’s birthplace, marital status, date of arrival, and port of arrival.
“Having these digitized copies available at the Henry Janssen Library will help make family history research much more convenient and accessible,” said BHC Executive Director, Ben Neely. “We sincerely thank Jonathan and his staff for their hard work and this meaningful donation.”
Community members interested in viewing these digitized copies can do so by calling 610-375-4375 to schedule an appointment at the Henry Janssen Library. Hours of operation are Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Pictured is Jonathan K. Del Collo, Prothonotary of Berks County. Photo credit: Amy Fulton
Communications & Marketing Manager for the Berks History Center