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Local History Resources
  • Rochester History is a long-running journal that covers the history of Rochester and western New York.
  • Local Historians is a list of contact information of the historians for local municipalities.
  • Local History Links contains a list of web sites about the Rochester and Monroe County area. 
  • Genealogy Resources are closely related to local history, focusing on the people of the Rochester and Monroe County area. Researchers can find valuable information in this section as well as Local History.

Information on the resources of the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County and various town libraries is below:

Rochester Public Library Local History Resources

Erie CanalThe Local History Division of the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County owns the largest single collection of materials dealing with the history of Rochester and the Genesee Valley in this region. The collection includes over 40,000 books, thousands of pamphlets and ephemera, subscriptions to over a hundred magazines, 3,000 maps, 20,000 photographs, and numerous other items. Many of these items may be accessed through the library catalog, while others just have cards to describe them (but no detailed inventory).

The Division has a large collection of city directories starting in 1827; suburban directories starting in 1930; an index to local 19th century newspapers, consisting of 500,000 items; a newspaper clipping file of 5 million pieces, searchable by 7,500 subject headings; a large collection of microfilmed census records; access to commercial genealogical census databases; a local authors index; and nearly 1,000 manuscript collection items, many of which are fragile, require special handling, and may have copying restrictions.


Rochester Trade Catalogue Collection List


The Local History and Genealogy Department of Rochester Public Library holds a  collection of trade catalogs  from over two hundred various businesses in Rochester and the Genesee Valley region. 

This list includes the company name, products, and holding dates for catalogues, and the numbered boxes they are stored in.  The  catalogues  are filed under company name, in chronological order when a date can be determined, and those not dated at the end of the file.  Many items were stamped with the date the item came into the collection.

Users searching for  company trade catalogues  should also check the Monroe County Public Library System catalogue.  Many company house publications and catalogues have been individually catalogued.  Any trade catalogues that were formerly filed in the pamphlet file (RVF-2) have been integrated with the  Trade Catalogue Collection .

Yearbook Collection

The School Heritage Collection features dozens of local high school yearbooks which can be viewed online.

Feel like taking a walk down Memory Lane? Visit the Local History Division of the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County and spend some time browsing through their extensive collection of Monroe County and City of Rochester High School yearbooks. The collection contains more than 2000 yearbooks from area schools dating back into the early 20th century.

However, there are gaps in the collection that the Local History Division would like to fill. If you have old yearbooks from Monroe County or City of Rochester High Schools that you would like to donate, please call us at (585) 428-8370. Please be aware that the books should be in good to excellent condition. We cannot accept moldy or mildewed books since the mold and mildew can contaminate the rest of the collection. Autographs in the books are fine and are often part of history themselves. We cannot guarantee that your book will be the one on our public shelves. We do keep duplicates, but surplus copies are given to the Foundation Office Booksale.

Yearbooks are widely used for memory books, genealogical research, school histories, and biographical information. If you would like to share your old school memories by donating your yearbooks, contact us today.

Town Libraries

Many of the town libraries in Monroe County have local history collections specific to their areas. Some of our town libraries have been in existence for more than 175 years and so are deeply rooted in the history of their communities. What is listed here is only a short description of materials available at town libraries, so it is best to call the specific library before you go to make sure they have what you need.

Brighton Memorial Library, 2300 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester NY, 14618, (585) 784-5300

The Brighton Memorial Library primarily collects Brighton documents and information with limited Monroe County, City of Rochester, and Genesee Valley information. Special Collections include:

  • Brighton Local Government Documents collection.
  • Local History Microfilm collection (Includes Town Historian Biographies 1900-1986, Books of Records 1814-40 and 1828-71, Record of the Roads and Highways 1840-1917, Brighton School District 1918-44, Plat Book of Brighton 1931, 1963, etc.)
  • Brighton Local History photograph collection.
  • Brighton Local History slide collection.
  • Brighton Local History 16 mm microfilm collection.
  • Organizations of the Town of Brighton -- annual publication compiled and produced by the Brighton Memorial Library. (This publication is available on Brighton Memorial Library web site.)
  • Video and paper collection of Town of Brighton Board meetings.
  • Brighton-Pittsford Post newspaper (microfilm) 1932-present.


Chili Public Library, 3333 Chili Avenue, Rochester NY, 14624, (585) 889-2200

The Chili Public Library collects material related to the Town of Chili, as well as some material related to Rochester, Monroe County, and the Genesee Valley. Special Collections include:

  • Rochester Transmission Project.
  • Seneca Park Zoo Development Program.
  • Black Creek Environmental Studies.
  • Genesee River Basin Study.
  • Depository library for Bausch and Lomb.
  • Golden Road Environmental Studies.
  • Plat books.
  • Henry Clune publications.
  • Gates Chili and Churchville Chili High School yearbooks (some).
  • Chili Town Meeting Minutes (kept for one year).
  • Gates Chili and Churchville Chili Board of Education minutes (kept for one year).
  • Books from Chili's sister cities.
  • Videos from the Gates Chili Local History Project, including the Metcalf House interview, Gates Chili Fire Department, and an interview with architect Carl Schmidt.
  • Cassette tapes made in 1982 recording interviews with local people.
  • Carousel slide collections of Gates and Chili.


Fairport Public Library, 1 Village Landing, Fairport NY, 14450, (585) 223-9091

The Fairport Public Library owns the following historical newspapers on microfilm:

  • Monroe County Mail, 1885-1925.
  • Fairport Herald Mail, 1873-1992.
  • Perinton Fairport Post, 1989-present.


Henrietta Public Library, 455 Calkins Road, Rochester NY, 14623, (585) 359-7092

This collection contains grave records, obituaries, tax rolls, military records, an index of local news, maps and more. Most of the material is in print form and must be used in the library. The library maintains a website that provides online access to a local news index, a catalog of their local history materials, cemetery records, maps and obituaries. Go to for more information.


Ogden Farmers' Library, 269 Ogden Center Road, Spencerport NY, 14559, (585) 352-2141

The Ogden Farmers' Library has developed an extensive collection of genealogy and local history materials for use by the public. This collection includes maps, diaries, family histories, books, microfilm and online databases. The library also hosts an active group of genealogy volunteers from the Western Monroe County Genealogical Society. More specific information on collections available at Ogden can be found on their website at


Penfield Public Library, 1985 Baird Road, Penfield NY, 14526, (585) 340-8720

The Penfield Public Library is home to the Town's Local History Room, which is staffed by the Town Historian. Materials available include cemetery records, genealogical information, clippings and files related to Penfield's history, as well as some artifacts. The library's Local History collection contains Penfield High School yearbooks from 1937 to the present, books on the history of Penfield, and the local Penfield newspapers -- Penfield Press, Penfield Republican, and the Penfield Post Republican - from 1951 to the present.


Scottsville Free Library, 28 Main Street, Scottsville NY, 14546, (585) 889-2023

The Local History Room at the Scottsville Free Library collects information about Wheatland and Scottsville and its residents. The collection includes cemetery records, obituaries, plat maps, photographs, newspaper clippings, journals, and diaries. There is a limited genealogy collection. Special collections include:

  • Wheatland Family Index
  • R.T. Miller Family diaries and papers
  • Wheatland cemetery lists
  • Franklin Hanford papers
  • Cultural survey of Wheatland historical sites by the Landmark Society of Western New York
  • An obituary file for the Town of Wheatland, 1850-2005 (3 volumes, indexed)

The Scottsville Library building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Displays in the Local History Room include the Garbutt Family historic dulcimer and the Burrell Family arrowhead collection.


SUNY College at Brockport - Institute of Local Studies, Department of History

ILS Church Records Index
Several microfilms of church records and assorted historical information are held in the Institute of Local Studies, Department of History, SUNY College at Brockport. Users are welcome to read the list and find records of various kinds for the Methodist Episcopal Church of Corn Hill, the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Rochester, the First German (and Emmanuel or Briefly Second) Methodist Episcopal Church, and Asbury First United Methodist Church, all in Rochester, New York, reports of the Genesee Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, as well as the Orleans County places of Hulberton, Albion, Kendall, Holley, Waterport, Kenyonville and Kuckville. Contact information and holdings are described in the document.



  Monroe County WebsiteCity of Rochester Website