Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania
Founded in 1748 by the Penn proprietors, Reading is the county seat of Berks County. Early tracts of land were sold to Richard Hockley, Thomas Lawrenceand Samuel Finney. The town of Reading was laid out mostly on land of Thomas Lawrence.
Prior to 1846 burials in Reading took place in church cemeteries located within the town. In 1846 Charles Evans Cemetery, located north of Reading, was established as a city cemetery. 1849 saw the layout of two additional cemeteries located on the north slope of Neversink Mountain. These cemeteries were Trinity Lutheran and Roman Catholic. In 1851 a third city cemetery was laid out, Aulenbach. Families were encouraged to use the city cemeteries and many bodies from the city church cemeteries were reinterred in the city cemeteries. The below links do not have complete lists of the burials in the cemeteries but are still useful.
After you click on the links for the USGenWeb links select Cemetery Index from the left side of the screen.
- The Berks County Historical Society has an online cemetery index. It is not a complete listing.
Pennsylvania vital records were kept very late in the history of Pennsylvania. Because of this church records are very important in Pennsylvania research. Church baptism and burial records replace birth and death certificates.
The Historical Society of Berks has a great collection of church records. The records themselves are not online but the society has placed a church record index on their website which is free to use.
Below are a few of the major churches within the city limits of Reading.
- 1708-1985 Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, Ancestry.com$
- 1755-1949 First Reformed Church, Reading FHL film 22041 items 1-3 (first of 6)
- 1751-1930 Trinity Lutheran Church, Reading FHL film 22035 items 1-2 (first of 3)
- 1752-Current, Berks County Estate Index
- Reading Public Library
100 S. Fifth St.
Reading, PA 19602
Phone: (610) 655-6350
- Central Pennsylvania African American Museum
African Methodist Episcopal Church
119 North 10th Street
Reading, Pennsylvania 19601
Phone: (610) 371-8713
- Reading Public Museum
500 Museum Road
Reading, Pennsylvania 19611-1425
Phone: (610) 371-5850
- Historical Society of Berks County
940 Centre Avenue
Reading, Pennsylvania 19601
Phone: (610) 375-4375
- Berks County Genealogical Society
201 Washington St, Room 413
Reading, Pennsylvania 19601-4040
Phone: (610) 921-4970
Unlike the county, Reading began to record vital records at an earlier time period. Birth and death records began in 1873 and marriages in 1876. For records prior to his years, search church records.
- 1876-1905, Reading Birth Records Index
- 1876-1909, Reading Marriage Records Index
- 1873-1906, Reading Death Records Index