Monthly meetings are held at the Historical Society Museum, 250 East Market Street, York, Pennsylvania unless otherwise noted. The business portion of the meeting begins at 2:15 PM and the program begins at about 2:30 PM.

Our 2016-2017 year meetings are scheduled as follows ...


Sunday, August 28, 2016          

What Can DNA Tests Tell Us About Our Family History?

DNA testing and research is a rapidly growing and changing field for genealogy.  This presentation will review the various kinds of DNA test available for genealogists including autosomal, Y-DNA, and mitochondrial-DNA, and the information that can be gleaned from these tests.  Darvin Martin has been active in DNA research through the use of tests, particularly Y-DNA testing of Mennonite families from Lancaster County.  He will update us on this ongoing project as well. 


Sunday, October 2, 2016          

Introduction to Italian Records

Lynn Nelson, owner of Nexus Genealogy and author of The Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your Italian Ancestors, will present “Introduction to Italian Records”.  Ms. Nelson believes that climbing the family tree into Italy is accessible to everyone. The presentation will focus on finding and using Italian records without going to Italy.


Sunday, November 6, 2016        

Flames Beyond Gettysburg

In late June 1863, two powerful columns of Confederate troops approached the Susquehanna River in south-central Pennsylvania.  One marched northeasterly from Franklin County through Carlisle toward Harrisburg and the other headed eastward through Gettysburg and York towards Wrightsville/Columbia.  This PowerPoint talk by veteran author Scott L. Mingus Sr. will cover the latter command, that of Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early, as it conquered Gettysburg after a series of skirmishes on June 26 and then two days later occupied York, the largest Northern town to fall to the Confederates during the entire war.  General Early ransomed York for money and supplies and surrounded the town with artillery and troops.  Hastily organized state militia defended the river crossing at Wrightsville and then burned the world’s longest covered bridge to prevent Rebel passage into Lancaster County, from which Jubal Early had hoped to threaten Harrisburg. 


Sunday, January 8, 2017          

Where in the World is Tolna?

Names for communities, towns, townships and cities have unique origins. Residents identify and honor their heritage by naming a community after their homeland.  The name also may have been selected to honor the property owner or a famous individual or it quite possibly is tied to a unique physical or geographic feature.  And then there are those place names that one can only guess its origin as traditions and urban legends provide no clear path for its name.  York County has many of these examples.  English names such as York, Windsor and Manchester; German names such as Hanover, Sinsheim and Heidelberg illustrate homeland connections.  Some York County communities have had more than one name as their first local ‘nickname’ has been replaced by an official name.  And what is an official name?  It can reflect the community’s name selected when it was incorporated or the name for its post office.

So where is Tolna?  Join Lila Fourhman-Shaull, York County History Center Director of Library & Archives as she locates Tolna and highlights many communities and their unique names with her power point presentation.  This program is based upon the SCPGS publication #63 Gazetteer of York and Adams Counties, Pennsylvania that she had authored several years ago.  The Gazetteer features the tremendous research of former researcher, librarian and director of the Historical Society of York County, Henry James Young.


Sunday, February 5, 2017        

The Amazing Discoveries and Frustrating Difficulties of African American Genealogical Research: The Story of a Family From the Northern Neck of Virginia

Dr. Eric Holmes, superintendent of the York City School District, will discuss: how to work around some of the difficulties of conducting research on African American families from the southern states, the pre-civil war free African American population of Virginia, the Carter manumission, and how DNA impacts research effort. 


Sunday, March 12, 2017          

Ulster Historical Foundation

Join Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt from the Ulster Historical Foundation during their annual North American lecture tour to learn how to get the most out of Irish resources and records, gain strategies for breaking down brick walls, and grasp important historical context that may help fill in gaps in your research.  Whether you are just beginning your Irish research or have been at it for years, you won’t want to miss these workshops! 

This program is scheduled to begin at 1 PM and last until 5 PM.  This lecture is free to SCPGS members and members of the York County History Center. There will be a $30 charge for non-members.  

The sessions will be ...

Introduction to Irish and Scots-Irish Family History Research  (1 hour)

Using Land Records: Griffith’s Valuation, Tithe, & Estate Records  (1 hour)


Emigration from the north of Ireland to North America – strategies for   researching emigrant ancestors  (45 minutes)

Q & A  (30 minutes)


Sunday, April 2, 2017              

Pennsylvania Land Records

Did you ever wonder how far back the title of a piece of land could be traced? Come learn about “records of original title” that document the sale of land from William Penn and the Commonwealth government to the first owners of property in Pennsylvania. Having worked with the state land records of Pennsylvania for thirty years, Jonathan Stayer, supervisor of reference services at the Pennsylvania State Archives, will describe the “five basic” documents in that process—the land warrant application, the land warrant, the survey draft, the return of survey, and the land patent.  The arrangement of and indexes to these records will be discussed, and research suggestions offered for finding both the originals and the online digital copies. Special programs of the Land Office, the claims of other states on Pennsylvania lands, and tracts granted for military service also will be covered.  If you are researching colonial ancestors in Pennsylvania, you will not want to miss this informative program!


Sunday, May 7, 2017                

Dating Old Photographs

Attaching faces to names is not easy for genealogists.  Jan has the large collection of family photos inherited from his parents and obtained over the years from relatives.  As luck would have it, the vast majority of these images were labeled by his mother.  We will share some of these photos from his collection and try to interpret them.  Dating photos and extracting stories from them puts flesh on the bones our ancestors.  Our speaker, Jan Barnhart is retired from 31 years in corporate finance.  Starting as a bookkeeper at Hanover Direct, a mail order company, he advanced to Assistant to the Director of Credit specializing in credit card fraud and loss prevention.  His interest in genealogy and history began as a child when older family members would tell stories about their ancestors.  “Decoration Day” trips to cemeteries to place flowers on family graves further piqued his interest.  Who were those people whose names were carved into the headstones.  As a result of over 50 years of research Jan has over 20,000 names in his family history data base. 


Sunday, June 4, 2017                

Jumping the Pond 2.0: "Take me back to the Fatherland," researching your German ancestors in Europe

This presentation will examine various sources and strategies for finding the Heimat (hometown) of your German ancestors.  The presentation will further explore how to proceed once you have located the place of origin. Available church, civil and emigration records will be discussed, some of which are completely online, while others are only available in German archives or on site in the town or village.  Rickard Konkel will be the speaker.





NOTICE: Winter Meetings and Inclement Weather

To avoid placing speakers and members in potentially dangerous situations, SCPGS will cancel meetings if roads are snow covered or icy, or if there is the possibility roads will become snow covered or icy before those attending a meeting would be able to return home. Cancellations are made on the conservative side. To learn the status of a winter meeting that could be cancelled because of weather, call Richard Konkel at 717-843-7043.