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Lackawanna Historical Society spearheads genealogy workshop for beginners

If you ever wanted to learn more about your family's history, your ancestors, and then some, a free program launching in Scranton could do the trick.

SCRANTON, Pa. — When it comes to learning about our family's roots, our ancestors and more, finding a place to start can be daunting with so many websites and products out there. That includes some that even ask you for a DNA sample. 

But a free program launching in our area is hoping to take the guesswork out of all of that. 

It all surrounds a "Genealogy Workshop for Beginners" spearheaded by the Lackawanna Historical Society in Scranton. 

Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey highlighted the program on Thursday. 

Sign-ups are now underway. If the classes fill, the historical society plans to add more in the future. 

When & where

The program includes a four-part genealogy workshop at the Albright Memorial Library in Scranton, inside the Community Room. 

Sessions will be held on Saturdays, September 25, October 2, 9, and 16, from 9:30 am to noon. 

Participants must commit to all sessions before registering.

Cost & how to sign up

The fee for the workshop is $15 for Lackawanna Historical Society members and $25 for nonmembers. 

Participants are asked to bring a laptop, three-ring binder, and notepaper, and may bring bottled water and a snack. 

The workshop is limited to ten people; call the Society at 570-344-3841 or email lackawannahistory@gmail.com to register.

Other fun facts & genealogy resources provided by the Lackawanna Historical Society

Genealogy research is overwhelming, and the wealth of online resources often confuse the process further. This workshop is geared for those who are just starting a family genealogy project or those who are “stuck” in the process. Participants will learn where to look for information and how to utilize resources. The workshop will focus on local resources available in Lackawanna and the surrounding counties, Pennsylvania state resources, and national records- international searches will not be addressed.

Tips for beginning your genealogy research project

Remember, when trying to find out where your ancestors came from, it is important to learn as much as you can about those who were HERE.

Then, along the way, you are sure to find clues about how they got here and where they came from.


Start your genealogy quest with yourself and then move to immediate family members: parents, grandparents, going as far back as you KNOW.

ASK YOUR MOTHER! (or father, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa…)

Gather as much information as you can from family members you know.

Talk to your relatives--aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents, etc. to get as much family information as you can, including:

  • where they were born
  • when they were born
  • where they lived
  • where they moved to (if they did move),
  • marriages, deaths, burial places.

Ask if they have any family-related info - photos, a family bible, news clippings, etc. that can be scanned with the originals returned to the person who shared. They can hold valuable clues and prove/disprove details.


Write it all down and include all sources to record where the information came from.


Once you have recorded everything you can learn from family members, move to your community’s research resources, including historical societies, libraries, museums, and local records offices, to lock down information and check the facts.


The next step is to visit helpful websites to start filling in the unknowns.


Remember, genealogy takes time and PATIENCE.  If you are in a position and have the desire, you can do this on your own, but if not, you can always hire a genealogist. 

Genealogy resources

Lackawanna County

www.lackawannacounty.org> Public Records> Genealogy Records

  • Birth and Death Records 1878-1906
  • Wills 1878-present
  • Marriage Records 1885-present

Lackawanna Historical Society


Records NOT available online

  • Scranton City Directories 1860-present
  • Scranton Atlas/Sanborn maps 1873, 1884, 1889, 1898, 1918, 1920 (updated to 1947), 1956
  • Scranton Suburban Towns maps 1873, 1924
  • Scranton Republican 1889-1936
  • Newspaper almanacs 1878-1938
  • Genealogy typescripts
  • Family surname files
  • Vertical files (newspaper clipping files)
  • Local history books, church histories

Luzerne County

Luzerne County Historical Society

Records NOT available online

  • Birth records 1893-1905
  • Delayed birth records 1877-1905
  • Death records 1893-1905
  • Marriage docket index 1885-1955
  • Orphan’s Court index (wills) 1787-1874
  • City directories 1871-2001
  • Genealogy typescripts
  • Family surname files
  • PA Dept of Health/Bureau of Vital Statistics
  • Birth and Death records after 1906

Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society


For more information, contact the Society by email at lackawannahistory@gmail.com.

Credit: WNEP