Blair County Genealogical Society

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Blair County Genealogical Society
Established 1979
Contact Info
Address 431 Scotch Valley Road, Hollidaysburg, PA 16648
Telephone (814) 696-3492
Email librarian@bcgslibrary.org
Website www.bcgslibrary.org
Facebook Follow us on Facebook
Society Meetings
Day of Meeting 3rd Thursday each month (except July and Dec.)
Time of Meeting 7 pm
Society Officers
President Don Feathers
Vice-President Carol Adams

History of the Society

The Blair County Genealogical Society was organized in 1979 exclusively for charitable, educational and scientific purposes. Its purpose is to compile, study and exchange information of a genealogical and historical nature and to preserve, perpetuate and publish the genealogical and historical heritage of the Blair County area for the benefit of its members, schools, and the general public.

Help the Society Can Provide

Organized exclusively for charitable, educational and scientific purposes, the Blair County Genealogical Society (BCGS) operates a free research library. The Roller-Hojeth Memorial Library houses thousands of historical and genealogical books including cemetery and church records, funeral home records and an extensive obituary book collection. Their microfilm holdings include all the Pennsylvania censuses from 1790-1930, marriage records and local newspapers. Their county records room is a depository for many county records from all 67 counties of Pennsylvania including deeds, wills, and tax records. Their bookstore has over 140 publications for sale on various topics relating to family history research in Pennsylvania. There are also helpful volunteers to assist you with your Pennsylvania research challenges.

Roller-Hojeth Memorial Library

Record Collections

George H. Liebegott Collection

This collection is a gathering of genealogical facts from the families of the Morrison Cove region of South-central Pennsylvania. It was compiled by George H. Liebegott, a native of Blair County, beginning in 1930 and continuing through the late 1950’s by sending forms to the households of the region requesting that they be filled out and returned to him. It consists of 247 binders of returned information compiled and cataloged by Mr. Liebegott.

The actual George H. Liebigott Collection is held in the Martinsburg Community Library, 201 South Walnut Street, Martinsburg, PA 16662-1129. This library is just a short 12.5 miles and 20 minutes away from the BCGS. An index to the collection containing Surname and Given Names is available at the BCGS building. The index is also available on FHL Film number 331446 and online.

A microfilm copy of this collection is also available through the FHL on 132 microfilms (FHL #331446 through 331577). Film number 331446 is a card index to the Surnames and Given Names in the collection. These films may be ordered through your local family history center. As time and finances are available the Martinsburg Community Library is digitizing this collection. The forms sent to the households contained the following categories: Name, date of birth, date of death, name of parents, vocation, religious affiliation, date of marriage, name of spouse, spouse’s date of birth, spouse’s parents, their vocation and religious affiliation, address, names of children, their birth dates, their death dates, their marriages and children.

Floyd G. Hoenstine Rental Library Collection

A collection of approximately 3,000 books which formerly comprised the Hoenstine Rental Library, purchased by BCGS as a unit, and indexed in: Guide to Genealogical Research in Pennsylvania, by Floyd G. Hoenstine, 1978. Surname and topic index to the first 2,500 books in the former Hoenstine Rental Library. Three supplements were subsequently published: Supplement 1 in 1985, Supplement 2 in 1990 and Supplement 3 in 1995. These provide an index to books added to the collection after the initial Guide was published.

Private Collections

Col. George Woods and Dr. John Anderson Documents, 1762-1820s

Collection of 339 documents which are hand drawn file copies of land surveys, hand written draft pleas to Bedford Court and invoices and receipts related to the professional and personal life of George Woods. Col. Woods, surveyor, judge, and land developer, was born in Ireland about 1731 to George Woods and Rosanna Hall. He lived in Bedford, Bedford County, PA until his death in 1796.

Highland Hall School of Hollidaysburg, Collection

This collection includes yearbooks, catalogues, event programs, newspaper clippings, and many photographs. The school under its various names, Hollidaysburg Seminary, Miss Cowles' School, and Highland Hall, is well represented by the collection's documentation of the building structure, the staffs, and students. For most of its long use, Highland Hall was an academic preparatory school for young ladies. There were also male students for the first few years. Many of the young ladies came from the local area but also from around Pennsylvania and around the country. It is a rare archive of women's maiden and married names for the era.

Sollenberger Collection

The Rex Sollenberger Collection is a compilation of sources by surname of individuals who lived in the Williamsburg area of present day Blair County. He researched histories and other sources to compile the listing of mentioned surnames along with the sources where they were mentioned.

Plummer Collection

A compilation of the genealogy of Harold Plummer and the residents of Plummer Hollow of the Tyrone area of Blair County.

Surnames

In addition to published family studies, BCGS maintains an extensive collection of surname folders, and invites donations of documented data, newspaper clippings, photographs, and family trees to this collection.

Publications In the Society's Holdings

Publications for Sale

Blair County Genealogical Society has published over 165 books which are available for sale. These publications contain various vital records. The Society is continuously preparing new titles and welcomes the opportunity to print private works if they pertain to the area. All publications are 8 1/2 x 11 softcover on acid-free paper.

Look up Services

More complicated research can be done by our volunteer staff. We ask for a $15 an hour donation to support our efforts plus copying and mailing costs. Copies are 40 cents each for non-members, 20 cents for each for members. Supply us with as much detail as you can on what you already have and what you are looking for. We will attempt obituaries before 1932 if you can supply us with the month and year, or we can try to find when the person died. Other research we can do is will and deed look ups, searching the cemetery, funeral home, marriage and church records we have, and looking in proof of death records (1874-1917). We also have burials of veterans, Civil War and War of 1812 information on Blair County soldiers, and all the tax records for Blair County (we need the township or town they were in). We also have Pennsylvania census information, federal direct tax microfilms, and the land warrant and patent information for the entire state. We have microfilms of most of the Blair County and the Johnstown newspapers (we need a date if you need an article looked up). And we can check for information in our surname files and family histories. We do not have birth or death certificates. The state started keeping vital records in 1906. You can send us money up front, or we will give it a shot and tell you how long it took us. Tell us how much effort you want to expend. If we don't find anything, we will tell you where we looked to save you the effort.

We have considerable information on the surrounding counties, particularly Huntingdon, Cambria, and Bedford Counties.

How to Do Research

  • Classes are offered from time to time, free and open to the public.

Benefits to Those Who Join the Society

Cost of membership and how to join
Membership costs vary based on level of membership desired:

  • $17.00 Regular Membership - Quarterly newsletters, 1 query, online surname listing, reduced copy prices.
  • $8.50 Associate Membership - (must live in same household as another member.) - reduced copy prices.
  • $25.00 Contributing Membership - Quarterly newsletters, 1 query, online surname listing, reduced copy prices, and 25% off obits by mail.
  • $50.00 patron Membership - Quarterly newsletters, 1 query, online surname listing, reduced copy prices, 25% off obits by mail and 10% off all BCGS publications and link to their World Connect or personal genealogy page.
  • $100.00 Benefactor Membership - Quarterly newsletters, 1 query, online surname listing, reduced copy prices, 25% off obits by mail, link to their World Connect or personal genealogy page on our website, and 10% off all BCGS bookstore items including books, tote bags, family tree charts, etc, and a short family history page posted on the website.

Newsletter/Periodical:

Newsletters can be sent via email or US mail.

Society Happenings

Meetings

Meetings are held at the library, 7 p.m., third Thursday monthly except July & December. All meetings are free and open to the public.

Workshops

Presentations, workshops, and classes are held at the Roller-Hojeth Memorial Library from time to time, free and open to the public. Topics can include genealogy basics regarding record types such as:

  • obituaries
  • church records
  • cemeteries
  • funeral home records
  • birth and death registers
  • delayed birth records
  • marriage records
  • tax records
  • wills
  • deeds
  • immigration records
  • military records
  • state land records
  • maps
  • websites