The Archives Room in the Berks County Prothonotary's Office officially opened in October, 1998. A great deal of preparation went into readying this room for use by researchers. Space had to be dedicated to the project. There were Docket Books to locate, arrange, and shelve. Immigration and Naturalization Records had to be organized. It was a massive undertaking.
Many thanks are extended to all who made this project possible. These include, but are not limited to, the Berks County Commissioners for funding the project, my staff inventorying and arranging the numerous books and documents found in the Archives Room, and other County employees who literally "built" the room. However, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that this project owes (and continues to owe) its existence to the many volunteers who not only pushed for it, but have "rolled up their sleeves" and made it possible.
In July, 1998, Lenora Adam, the volunteer in charge of getting the room "user ready" began the task of preparing the first indices to make researching easier through the use of computers. The Immigration records were slated as the first to be computerized. With the help of Richard Frank (another volunteer), these documents were prepared for entry into the computer. The first and second volumes of these indexes were completed in 1999, thus making easy access to the records available for those Immigration records dated 1800 to 1925. At present, the project is continuing into volume three. Divorce records are being entered as well.
Another indexing project, the core of this Prothonotary website, began in April, 2000 with nine (9) people volunteering to tackle this mammoth project. The Appearance Dockets were chosen as the first group of records to index. In the year that these volunteers have been working, some 23 volumes have been indexed. Spanning from 1754 through 1918, the appearance dockets were chosen as the most usable and needed materials. A small group of volunteers was formed to begin this task.
Our valued group of volunteers are:
- Maureen A. Pilla, Warminster, Pennsylvania
- Frederick Ribble, Nenasha, Wisconsin
- Shirley Whitehouse, Interlacken, Florida
- John Klopp, Pottstown, Pennsylvania
- Kathy Gambrill, Richmond, Virginia
- Nancy McDonnell, Centerville, Ohio
- Marian M. Emerich, New Holland, Pennsylvania
- Mona Schaeffer, Tempe, Arizona
- Barbara Henritze, Boulder, Colorado
I cannot thank each and every one of them enough for the work they have done, and continue to do.
Volunteers are always welcome to join this project and may do so by contacting Lenora Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org.