We often write about the rich history of Beaver, but within Beaver, there is also a treasure trove of information about Beaver County’s history. On the grounds of the Beaver Station campus lies a bunker underground with an archive of hundreds of thousands of pieces of information dating back to the County’s inception.
The Beaver County Genealogy & History Center is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization that was founded in 1974. The Center’s mission is to provide an archival site for study, reference, research and preservation of Beaver County documents and books, both historical and genealogical; to encourage the preservation of public and private records, genealogical data, and cemetery data pertaining to Beaver County.
Their collection under Beaver Station consists of documentation of birth records, wills, the County tax records dating back to 1803, old newspapers, the County Marriage License Applications from 1885- 1960s, and even a compilation of “Divorce, Lunacy, and Drunkards” from 1800-1927. If your family has roots in Beaver County, the odds are pretty high that they are mentioned somewhere in the archives at Beaver County Genealogy & History Center. Without the Center, these archives detailing such irreplaceable familial history would have likely been lost.
You aren’t just limited to what documents they have on-site when you conduct research at the Center – they are also an affiliate of FamilySearch’s Research and Library system, a system sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that has an archive of over 2 billion digital images and indexes of records from around the world. The Center has access to information from Ancestry.com as well.
The Center is passionate about preserving history as well as helping its patrons uncover it. If you want to research a distant relative or even the history of a property you’ve purchased, the Center has a large staff of well-qualified volunteer genealogists to assist you for a nominal fee. In the past year, they’ve had over 500 patrons visit them from all over the world including 26 different states and countries such as England, Scotland, and Australia.
According to President Lauraly Burnecke, “You never know who’s going to walk through the door…they may even be researching your family line or the family line of someone you know.”
Along with their extensive record preservation and research, the Center hosts public lectures where they invite speakers to teach attendees about a variety of topics such as occupations from the past or what the upper Ohio Valley was like during the pioneer days. The Center hopes to hold beginner genealogy classes in the future for children and adults as well. Information about their upcoming events can be found on their Facebook page at https://bit.ly/2NNwTNr.
The Center depends on the generosity of the community and the dedication of its volunteers, Board members, and Board of Directors to continue their mission. There are numerous ways to get involved and to help the Center preserve history:
The membership year is from July to June. As a member, you have access to the electronic newsletter published by the Center. Members are also allowed to place three free queries a year, such as a birth, marriage, tax, or death record.
Single – $20
Family – $35
Benefactor – $100
Lifetime – $300
The Beaver County Genealogy and history Center operates on a limited budget. Making a donation can help them accomplish their goals and preserve their valuable collection. They are currently raising funds to purchase microfilm of local newspapers, as their collection of the Beaver County Times has a gap in the years. Checks may be sent to Beaver County History, 250 East End Ave., Beaver, PA 15009. Donations can also be made via PayPal on their website at beavercountyhistory.org. The Center also accepts donations of documents regarding the genealogy or history of Beaver County to continue to grow their collection.
Are you passionate about preserving history? The Center is looking for volunteers to assist in archiving information. Contact the Center via beavercountyhistory.org for more information.