Monroe County Library System NY
Monroe County Library System image

Library Applications

See Our Online Sponsors


Central Library on Facebook

MCLS on Twitter

MCLS on Twitter

Local History and Genealogy



Local History and Genealogy Blog  


Family Detectives Club - Season 3     Family Detectives Poster  

Weekly genealogy workshops every Sunday    

from 1:15-1:45 p.m. October through May in the Division.  


  October 2014  November 2014December 2014 



Join us for a new season of  

Rochester's Rich History   

Monthly talks on a variety of local history topics.   

2-3 p.m. one Sunday a month  

in the Rundel Auditorium, 3rd floor, Rundel Memorial Building  

View the schedule  



 Join us for the next program in the Rochester's Rich History series!

January 18, 2015  

 2:00-3:00 pm  


Rundel Auditorium, 3rd floor, Rundel Memorial Building
Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County
115 South Ave., Rochester, NY


Reconstructing Claude Bragdon's Architectural Masterpiece  

Presented by Joan Shelley Rubin   
 NYC station  

In 1909, the architect Claude Bragdon received a commission to design Rochester’s New York Central Railroad station. The resulting structure, which opened four years later, has long been considered Bragdon’s masterpiece. Yet, beginning in 1963, it was demolished. Now a team of scholars at the University of Rochester is taking advantage of digital technology to rebuild Bragdon’s train station online. This presentation will explore the history of Bragdon’s career in Rochester and the sources of his vision for the station. It will also provide a look at some of the materials and techniques the Bragdon project team is using to recreate the experience of being inside Bragdon’s magnificent structure. There will be time for participants to share their memories of the station.

Joan Shelley Rubin is the Dexter Perkins Professor in History at the University of Rochester, specializing in American cultural history since 1865. She received an AB magna cum laude in American History and Literature from Harvard in 1969 and a Ph.D. from Yale in 1974. A Guggenheim Fellow, she is the author of four books: Constance Rourke and American Culture (University of North Carolina, 1980), The Making of Middlebrow Culture (University of North Carolina, 1992), Songs of Ourselves: The Uses of Poetry in America (Harvard, 2007), and Cultural Considerations: Essays on Readers, Writers, and Musicians in Postwar America (2013). The Bragdon project is her first venture into the digital humanities.


Sponsored by the Local History & Genealogy Division, 585-428-8370.

Free parking on Sundays for library patrons in the Court Street garage.

Joan SRubin
Joan Shelley Rubin  



 The map below gives an overview of the Local History and Genealogy web site click on it for a full size view   


image map thumbnail - local historyThe Local History and Genealogy Division offers expert in-person reference service, as well as telephone and email service for quick reference questions. All materials in the Local History and Genealogy Division are restricted to use within the department, but a significant and growing portion of the collection is available online. Also, as many materials are old and fragile, photocopying is restricted, but patrons may bring in equipment to photograph items.

The Local History and Genealogy Division and its partners have digitized photographs, books, manuscripts, maps, directories, postcards, and other items for easy access and for the preservation of original print material held within selected local collections in Monroe County. The thousands of items found here represent the rich history of the Rochester region. They are of interest to anyone researching local history and genealogy. Collections throughout the county can now be searched at one online location, thanks to the cooperation of many partner institutions.

The Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County boasts one of the premier collections of local historical and genealogical materials in western New York, while smaller municipal libraries have built collections of materials relevant to their particular towns.

The sections listed below are links to extensive materials held by the Central Library's Local History and Retrieval Divisions and by various town libraries.

The information provided by these various resources will help researchers find answers to questions about the history of Rochester and Monroe County, and will aid genealogy researchers looking for family information. What is provided online, however, is only a very small part of all the collections held at the libraries in Rochester and Monroe County. The information here will help you get started, but visiting our libraries will speed you on your way.

Genealogy Resources - a variety of helpful tools and guides for researching family history and finding information on past residents of Rochester and Monroe County

Local History Resources - various resources covering the history of Rochester and western New York

Rochester Images - historic and contemporary photographs, maps, postcards and other memorabilia from Rochester and Monroe County

Digitized Collections  - historic books, newspapers and magazines of local interest that can be viewed online or downloaded and printed

Pathfinders - guides to special topics

News - includes information on new items available online

  Monroe County WebsiteCity of Rochester Website