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Local History & Genealogy Division
Check out our blog for the latest news, updates,  
and more!    


 Local History ROCs!   


DID YOU KNOW that volunteers are available on Saturdays to assist with your family history research? No appointments are necessary, but please call our Reference Desk at (585)428-8370 to be sure we have a docent for the day and time you plan to visit. 

Join us for Local History & Genealogy’s  

informative monthly programs! 

Parking is FREE for library patrons on Saturdays in the  

Washington Square Garage. 


October 24, 10am-4pm 


 T. G. I. S./uploadedImages/MCLS/Local_History_New/TGIS_Fall_Top_S1.jpg   Think Genealogy It’s Saturday (the all NEW Family Detectives Club)

Monthly Genealogy Programs, the fourth Saturday, September through June 

10:15-11:00 a.m. in the Local History & Genealogy Division 

Featuring demonstrations using our new 55-inch Collaboration Station from the Walter F. Becker Digital History Center.

Schedule: Fall 2015

Rochester's Rich History

2015-2016 Season     

Third Saturdays    

Rundel Memorial Building, 3rd floor   

Join us in the Rundel Auditorium for a brand-new season of monthly Saturday afternoon lectures!     

 View the 2015-2016 schedule 
RRH logo
Coming up next...  

October 17, 2015  

1:00-2:30 pm    

October is German-American Heritage Month!   

Searching for the Dossenbachs at the Turn of the Twentieth Century  

Presented by Lisa Kleman     

 dossenbach 1 

The Dossenbachs, a poor German immigrant family, came to the city of Rochester in 1872. Their movements throughout the city in the ensuing decades mirror the story of German immigration in Rochester. The four Dossenbach brothers were involved in all things musical: Otto and Adolf were child violin prodigies; Theodore founded and directed the Rochester Park Band; and Hermann founded and conducted the Rochester Orchestra (which would later become the RPO), and established the music school that became the world-famous Eastman School of Music. Hermann and Theodore were also part of the quintet that served as George Eastman’s “house band” from 1905 to 1919. The story of the Dossenbachs is the story of the glorious city of Rochester in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.    

Lisa Kleman  Lisa Kleman, a longtime English teacher who is now researching and writing about her Rochester relatives, the Dossenbachs, has recently been published in the Historic Brighton newsletter and in Elizabeth Brayer’s booklet, Transformative Technologies of Nineteenth Century Rochester. Last March, Lisa gave a Focus 45 talk at the George Eastman House and recently facilitated a writing workshop, Writing Our Stories, at the Central Library.  


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


image map thumbnail - local history
The 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