Research


Library Research Service

For a pre-paid fee, a skilled volunteer or staff member can investigate materials available in the HJL’s collections and respond to your historical or genealogical research request.

We will provide photocopies of primary resources to assist you with your research.  HOWEVER, we cannot accommodate complex questions requiring original research and substantial interpretation of our primary sources.

We ask that you refine your inquiries as much as possible, limiting them to searches for specific information about a Berks County topic.  For Genealogy Requests, please limit your search to one surname in Berks County.  Requests, such as the following, are too vague and are beyond the scope of the services our library can provide: “I would like all documents related to Joe Smith,” or “Can you research the Smith family?” or “Can you tell me if my family was ever in Berks?” “Or why did a company go out of business?”

While we cannot guarantee results, we will make every effort to help you by documenting all sources consulted during our research.  Staff and volunteers will indicate if additional research time is needed and will often note where further information can be found.

We answer research requests on a first come, first serve basis.  We will do our best to complete your request within 2 to 3 weeks, except during the summer, which can average roughly 4 to 6 weeks.

PLEASE NOTE: WE ARE NO LONGER ACCEPTING RESEARCH REQUESTS THROUGH EMAIL.  ANY RESEARCH REQUEST SUBMITTED WITHOUT PAYMENT WILL NOT BE ANSWERED.

If you have a question that can be answered in under ten minutes, and does not require the lookup of information, such as “What are your hours?” or “Would you have this book or collection?” or you are making an appointment to visit the HJL, please contact the Director of Special Collections at: library@berkshistory.org

Historical/Genealogical Research Service:

            Non-Members – $35.00 per hour     limit to 1 hr and will contact if more time needed

            Members – $25.00 per hour              limit to 1 hr and will contact if more time needed

 

Historical Research Form                                           Genealogical Research Form

 

Document Retrieval

Copies can be made for a variety of documents in our collection.  This includes our archival collections and vertical files.  Staff reserves the right to refuse a request based on the physical state of the document and its size.

  • $8.00 for church, cemetery and Historical Review Lookups
  • $8.00 for all other files up to 10 pages, additional pages $0.50 per page (covers  anything up to an 11” x 17”) for items that are inventoried
  • $15.00 for all other files up to 10 pages, additional pages $0.50 per page (up to 11” x 17”) for items that have not been inventoried.

Items that are larger than 11” x 17” are covered under the Digital Images Section.  We only have the ability to scan up to 18” x 24”.  Anything larger than 18” x 24” cannot and will not be reproduced.

 

Document Retrieval Form

 

PLEASE NOTE: We cannot reproduce entire collections for research.  Please visit Collection Search to view descriptions documents within our collections.

ALSO NOTE:  Books found in the HJL stack room are not included under this category.  There is a ten page copy limit in effect for all books.

Deeds in our collection are excluded from the Document Retrieval request.  Due to their size, we are unable to reproduce them.  

 

 Digital Images

Photocopies can be made of the photographs in our collection, and is the preferred method of the Historical Society.  However, if needed, digital scans can also be made from our photograph collection.

            $25.00 per image*             ($10.00 pull fee, $10.00 for image, $5.00 digital storage and preservation)

*Includes all photographs and oversized documents (any document bigger than 11” x 17”)

Additional Fees will be included for images used for publication or exhibition purposes.