Library staff can search for obituaries using the local newspapers on microfilm only when provided with an exact date of death: month, date, and year. Articles can also be researched when provided with the exact month, date, and year the article appeared in the paper and the title of the article.

We can allocate a maximum of one hour of research time per request. Requests will be completed in the order they are received, whether by e-mail, mail, or phone. Please allow at least 3 to 6 weeks for requests to be searched.

The research fee is $10.00 for each obituary or article request which covers copies and other library costs. Prepayment is required for all requests. The library cannot refund money if the requested information is not found.

If interested, checks can be made payable to the Osterhout Free Library.

Address envelope:

Osterhout Free Library
Obituary/Research Request
71 South Franklin Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

Obituary/Article Request Form (.pdf)

Resources available at the library

Newspaper Holdings (on microfilm)

Citizen’s Voice: October 9, 1978 – October 2006
Online Access for cardholders: 9/11/05-present

Sunday Independent: November 4, 1906 – December 13, 1992
Online Access 1913-1957

Times Leader: January 2, 1950 -January 2007
Online Access for cardholders: 1992-present

Wilkes-Barre Record: January 1891 – June 1972

Original copies of the Citizen’s Voice newspaper (from 2006 on) may be available at the library. Original copies of the Times Leader newspaper are only available from the current year (plus 2 years prior). Please call the library at 570-821-1959 to verify the newspaper you need is available.

Luzerne County Census is available on microfilm

1790-1930 (with the exception of 1890) and additional PA counties on the census reels for 1790-1830
1790: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Fayette, Huntington, Lancaster, Mifflin (part), Northampton & Westmoreland (part).
1800: Mercer & Lancaster
1810: Greene & Indiana
1820: Indiana, Jefferson, & Lebanon

City Directories (directories are not comprehensive)

Wilkes-Barre (1884-present)
Hazelton (1937-present; not comprehensive)
Nanticoke (1887-1924)
Pittston (1887-1891)
Plymouth (1887-1891)
Scranton (1949-present; not comprehensive)

Vertical File Collection

Files of newspaper clippings on a wide variety of local subjects (arranged alphabetically) chronicling local incidents, events, and happenings over the years.

Local History Collection
A collection of books focusing on the rich history of Wilkes-Barre, Wyoming Valley, and Luzerne County. Everything from biographical sketches of locally-prominent business, industry, and entertainment figures to in-depth historical narratives of the founding of our great region, as well as a collection of fiction by local authors.

Other Resources

Local Genealogical Society

Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Inc.
57 North Franklin Street
Kirby Annex II
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

Luzerne County Birth/Death Certificates

Records from 1893 – 1905
Marriage License Clerk
Luzerne County Courthouse

Luzerne County Historical Society

49 South Franklin Street,
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

Luzerne County Marriage Certificates

Records from 1885
Marriage License Clerk
Luzerne County Courthouse

Luzerne County Property Deeds

Records from 1800s
Recorder of Deeds
Luzerne County Courthouse

Pennsylvania Birth/Death Certificates

Division of Vital Records
State Department of Health
101 South Mercer Street
New Castle, PA 16101

Pennsylvania Divorce Certificates

Records from early 1900s
Actual files from 1960s
Luzerne County Courthouse