Genealogical Research Society Shut Down

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PECKVILLE -- An organization in Lackawanna County that helped people trace their family histories has shut its doors.

Some of its former members are now wondering what's happened to thousands of historical records the group collected.

For close to 20 years, the Genealogical Research Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania has occupied an old church on Main Street in Peckville.

But, for the past few weeks "closed" signs have covered the building. Its leadership tells Newswatch 16 that they are in the process of dissolving the non-profit organization that helped people research their family histories.

"I still find it hard to believe that nobody stepped in to do something. Or, it was so quick that nobody had a chance to do step in," said Joe Bryer of Olyphant.

Bryer was president of the society before stepping aside a few years ago for health reasons. He said he was told about the society's closure when it was already too late to step in and help.

Leaders told him that the place closed because of a lack of volunteers.

What's lost with its closure? Bryer said a massive collection of historical documents.

"A lifetime of genealogical savings, we had more information, digital, than anybody, except maybe some big genealogical societies, east of the Mississippi. We had tons of stuff," he added.

According to members, many of the digital records have been sent to the Scranton Public Library and will eventually be available for people to view.

But, Bryer told Newswatch 16 there were still thousands of documents that were never digitized that now may be lost.

The current president of the Genealogical Research Society told us she could not comment on the closure. She directed us to a lawyer for the organization.

Newswatch 16 made several calls to find out where the documents may have ended up, but we never heard back.


  • Free Advice

    Truth is, it’s probably redundant information. The Mormon Church runs the largest genealogy operation in the world. Praying for deceased relatives to get them to heaven is a tenant of their religion and their genealogy operation is a mission of the church. Their records are open to everyone, not just Mormons.

    • Terri (@didyouyarnthat)

      Most of the records were local to Northeastern Pennsylvania, Free Advice, so, although it’s possible the Mormon Church has them, it’s not likely. Even those people who were life members of the GRSNP were never told about even the possibility that the organization might have been in trouble. No one had a chance to offer to volunteer, so I don’t believe that is the actual reason. Joe was as blindsided as the rest of us, it appears.

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