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, 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
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