I added another website to my Free Genealogy Resources page. This is for the Chester County PA Archives and Records site. Chester County is one of those counties who have moved their historic records out of the courthouse and into an off-site government building. This one is located on Westtown Road (see the exact address on their website). It is outside of the downtown area and there is free parking available in the on-site lot.
If you are planning a visit, you can make the most of your time there by first checking the online indexes on their website. If you have never visited the website, you will probably be surprised by how much information they have online. If you are planning a visit, going to the website in advance will allow to check through most of their collections for records of interest. Just record the appropriate call-numbers so you can request them when you get there.
The building on Westtown Road houses more than just the archives, so you will have to go through a security check point when you enter. The archives are in basement level, but everything is very clean and well organized. There are several microreaders available, as many records have been filmed and are self-serve. The staff has always been very helpful the times I have been there.
A while back I was going through some cemetery tombstone photos that I took a couple of years ago. I had found out the married name of one of the daughters in a family I research and was hoping that I might have a picture of her tombstone in the background of another photo. I guess I should back up here and mention that the first couple of times I photographed tombstones, I zoomed in on the individual stone – but then I learned to stand back and get a bit of the general area so that I could later go back and see the surrounding graves. This way if there were many extended family members in a cemetery, it became easier to figure out who’s who when I got back to my computer to look at the photos. I just need to crop and reduce the photos so that just the relevant tombstone is showing for sites like findagrave. I then save the cropped version and also keep the original one for reference.
Anyway, I was going through the original photos, looking at the backgrounds, when I noticed a partly obscured one that related to yet another family I research. Unfortunately, I needed to get back to the cemetery and get another look and another photo because some of the dates weren’t visible. Oh how I wish I would have had those original photos geotagged!! (See my previous post about this.) Had it been geotagged, the location (lat-long) of where I was standing when I took the original photo would have been stored and available for me to see. Since it was not geotagged it quite literally took me forever to find the obscured tombstone in the background. This pretty much convinced me I need to start geotagging. Even if the location was off by several feet, it would have gotten me to the right vicinity so much sooner!
I bring this up now because I am hoping to get back out to take some more cemetery photographs soon – as soon as the weather warms up. I am sooo tired of winter!
I recently received an email from a fellow researcher. He has put up a website with information about deaths, burials, and obituaries of people who lived in the area of Pottstown, Pennsylvania in the late 1800′s and into the 1900′s.
Pottstown is often confused with Pottsville, but they are two separate places. Pottstown is located in western Montgomery county, PA. It lies along the Schuylkill River which is the boundary with northern Chester county. A little to the northwest is southeastern Berks county. If you are researching ancestors in any of these areas, chances are that his site may contain information you can use. Check it out here.