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Local History and Genealogy

Read our blog for the latest news and updates:  

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 your visit.


Be sure to check out Local History & Genealogy's

 informative weekly and monthly programs.

Parking is FREE on Sundays for library patrons in the Court Street Garage.  


Family Detectives Club  

Season 3  

/uploadedImages/MCLS/Local_History_New/FamDetClub_poster.jpgWeekly genealogy workshops every Sunday.      

   1:15-1:45 p.m. October-May in the Local History Division 


January 2015    February 2015    March 2015     April/May 2015




Rochester's Rich History

Monthly Sunday afternoon lectures on a variety of local history topics, May-October, in Rundel Auditorium, 3rd floor, Rundel Memorial Building

View the schedule  


Join us for the final program in the 2014-2015 season of the Rochester's Rich History Series!  

Blanche Stuart Scott: America's First Aviatrix

Presented by Maureen Whalen
2-3 p.m., May 3, 2015


Born in Rochester, Blanche Stuart Scott was a pioneer in the automotive and aviation industries.  In September 1910, only weeks after completing a cross-county drive through the United States, she became the first American woman to fly an airplane. Presenter Maureen Whalen will interpret the courageous aviatrix based on recordings of interviews with Scott, along with excerpts from her unpublished autobiography. Come “meet” this fascinating woman and learn about her flying adventures in her own words!  


Maureen Whalen worked as a librarian with the Rochester Public Library for more than 30 years and was the manager of the Charlotte Branch Library when she retired in 2007. Since then, she has pursued her interest in local history research, co-writing the centennial history of the Rochester Public Library; prepared an exhibit on the War of 1812 for the Greece Historical Society; and given programs on daredevil Sam Patch. Currently, she is researching and writing a history of the Seneca Park Zoo, where she has been an active docent for almost ten years. 






  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 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