Genealogy Websites

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PLEASE NOTE:The B&ECPL cannot guarantee the validity or accuracy of information found on the Internet. This list is included as a tool intended to help users find relevant information. The Library does not endorse information provided by third parties.

Click on a category below to view a list of genealogy websites:

Adoption Buffalo and Erie County Census Ethnic Genealogy
General Genealogy Sites Immigration Maps, Atlases, Geography Military
Newspapers Organizations Research Help Vital Records


Cyndi's List – Adoption
Links to adoption-related websites, publications, research services, and other resources.

New York State Department of Health Adoption Information Registry

Learn about the New York State Department of Health Adoption Information Registry.


Buffalo and Erie County

Buffalo News Death Notices
Recent death notices are online for free, then they are transferred into a fee-based archive. The archive is searchable back to Sept. 11, 1997.
Designed for family history research in Buffalo, Erie County, and Western NY, with hundreds of useful links. The links include topics such as online city directories, maps, books, and many more.

City of Buffalo Inactive Records Center
Learn about the Center’s resources and availability.

Dates of First Vital Statistics Records in Erie County
Gives the date in which a town or village was formed and the first dates for which birth, marriage, and death records exist.

Erie County Directory of Public Officials
Includes the names, addresses, and phone numbers of town and village clerks in Erie County. Clerks often have vital records.



Family Search Census Records
This site gives free access to numerous, U.S. Federal Census records, state census records (including New York), and foreign census records. To view a list of available records, use the Browse by Location section on the main web page.

Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses from 1790-2000
This book provides sample questionnaires, enumerator instructions, and background to the U.S. Federal Census year by year. Reading enumerator instructions is essential to understanding the information found about your ancestor in the census.

NARA - 1940 Census
Get ready for the 1940 census by reviewing NARA’s website.

NARA – Census Record
This site details census records available at NARA and gives tips on using them for genealogy research.

One Step Web Pages by Stephen Morse
A useful site to help determine enumeration districts for large cities.

Western New York Genealogical Society Online Resources
Includes an index for the 1850 Black Rock Census and the New York State 1865 Census for Erie County.


Ethnic Genealogy

Cyndi’s List
A directory to websites by subject including specific localities, ethnic groups, immigration, unique peoples/cultures, and more.

Family Search
Searching on the main page gives you access to numerous foreign records. The Learn menu takes you to a page where you can access online tutorials for various ethnic groups. It also give you access to the Research Wiki, where you can find information on researching different countries, states, cities, and ethnic groups.

NARA - Ethnic Heritage Resources
A list of ethnic genealogy websites compiled by NARA.

A worldwide volunteer genealogy project that gives access to various foreign records.


General Genealogy Sites

Brigham Young University’s Family History Collection
Access thousands of full-text family history books.

Cyndi’s List
If it has genealogical relevance and it’s online, you’ll find it at Cyndi’s List.

Family Search
This is the Family History Library’s website. It includes free access millions of online genealogy records (including New York State records), free online genealogy classes through the Learn menu, research help guides in the Research Wiki, and the Family History Library’s online catalog.

Family Tree Kids
A genealogy site created for children. It includes genealogy games, projects, forms, book suggestions, and a parents and teachers resource section.

Internet Archive
Over a million books have been added to this site including local history and genealogy titles.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Learn detailed information about genealogical records at NARA as well as tips and articles related to genealogy research. The Access to Archival Databases (AAD) link gives access to hundreds of historical databases.

This is largest free genealogy website and offers resources such as databases, family trees, message boards, and more.

A nationwide volunteer genealogy project related to census records, cemeteries, vital records, and others.



Castle Garden
Records relating to 10 million individuals who came through this immigration center 1830-1892.

Ellis Island Records
Records of over 22 million immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924. Includes images of original passenger manifests.

NARA Immigration Records
View NARA’s holdings of passenger lists and land border records. Many of these lists are available in Ancestry Library Edition, a database available at all B&ECPL locations.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Learn about USCIS genealogy research services.


Maps, Atlases, Geography

Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
Interactive historical maps that show state and county boundary changes. - Maps
View historic Buffalo, Erie County, and Western New York maps.

David Rumsey Map Collection
Over 20,000 historic domestic and international maps.

Geographic Names Information System
Find the locations of modern and historic U.S. places and features including cities/towns, bridges, cemeteries, canals, parks, schools, and more.

GeoNet Names Server
A searchable database of international place names excluding the United States and Antarctica.

JewishGen Town Search
Search for Central and Eastern European place names. This database gives a town’s modern name, country, previous names, alternate name spellings, and its political location for various time periods.

Library of Congress Maps
A collection of 4.5 million maps including U.S. cities and towns, cultural landscapes, military battles and campaigns, as well as other topics.

The Bureau of Land Management
Online Federal land conveyance records for the Public Land States, including land title records from 1820 and the present, as well as other resources.

U.S. County Maps
A US Census Bureau resource which includes state maps that detail county, city, and town boundaries.



Civil War Documents - Making of America
A digital project by Cornell University which includes the full text of The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies and The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System
Find information on Civil War veterans, battles, regiments, cemetery records and other information.

Military Records in the New York State Archives
Learn about the records and research services available at the archives.

Nationwide Gravesite Locator
Search for the burial locations of veterans.

New York State Military Museum and Research Center
This site has many useful features including a unit history project, Adjutant General reports, and a Civil War units newspaper file.

Research in Military Records at the National Archives
Includes information on NARA’s military record holdings, military research tips, access to NARA’s online military databases, and links to other useful military research sites.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial
A key feature of this site is its database. It gives basic military service details about U.S. soldiers who died in the war as well as important genealogical information such as birth date, marital status, and death date.



Buffalo News Death Notices
Recent death notices are online for free, then they are transferred into a fee-based archive. The archive is searchable back to Sept. 11, 1997.

Chronicling America
This site gives full-text access to hundreds of historic newspapers. It also includes a newspaper directory that gives background information on thousands of titles. The directory can be searched by location, date, language, as well as ethnicity and labor press categories. It is important to call ahead to a repository to be sure that they carry a newspaper found in the database, and to be sure there are no special conditions or restrictions on the newspaper’s use.

Fulton History
Includes numerous historic New York State newspapers. Users should be cautioned that the poor condition of some of the newspapers (due to age and wear), may affect search results. Erie County newspapers include (as of 6/1/2011): Buffalo Daily Courier, 1847-1888; Buffalo Evening Courier and Republic, 1862-1884; Buffalo Morning Express, 1880-1924; Hamburg Erie County Independent, 1875-1944; Hamburg Sun, 1945-1988; Hamburg Front Page, 1964-1979; Hamburg Photo News, 1969-1976; Blasdell, Frontier Herald 1950-1966.

New York State Newspaper Project
Find out where to access New York State newspapers by city, county, or title.

New York State Historic Newspapers
A wide range of newspapers from various counties in New York State.  Papers from Erie County include the Buffalo Criterion, Buffalo Express, Buffalo Irish Times, and several Grand Island and Lackawanna newspapers.



Buffalo History Museum
Be sure to visit the Research Library link which gives access to the Society’s genealogy finding aids.                                                          

Buffalo Irish Genealogical Society
A longstanding active local society.                                                                                                                                                                  

Cyndi’s List Societies & Groups
Links to the web pages of organizations alphabetically and by category.                                                                                                        

Jewish Genealogical Society of Buffalo
Be sure to read about the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project.                                                                                                                              

Polish Genealogical Society of New York State
The Databases and Historical Information links detail some of the society’s unique resources.                                                                     

Western New York Genealogical Society
Learn about the society and its resources.


Research Help

Cyndi’s List - Tutorials and Guides
Links to genealogy “How-to” resources.

Family Search - Free Genealogy Research Classes Online
The Family History Library offers free online classes covering United States and foreign genealogy topics.

Family Search - Research Wiki
A wiki devoted to broad and how-to genealogy topics such as researching countries and beginning genealogy research.

A calendar of genealogy webinars. Many are free.

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness
Find volunteers to help you with your research.

Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
The Red Book is a core genealogy research guide. It gives overviews of genealogy research for each U.S. State. This is the wiki version of the book.

The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy
This popular genealogy research guide has been put online in wiki format. It is a good starter’s guide on a wide range of genealogy topics.

Webinars by
An archive of genealogy webinars given by The focus is on resources available in Ancestry, but general concepts and ideas can be learned as well.


Vital Records

Buffalo Vital Records
Learn how to access Buffalo birth, marriage, and death records.                                                                                                                    

Buffalo Death Index
A free browsable index to Buffalo, NY deaths for the years 1852-1944.
Almost 100,000 select deaths from 1872-2011 are listed at the website. The data is obtained from local newspapers.

New York State Vital Records
Find out how to obtain copies of New York State vital records and what records are available to genealogists.                                                   

Genealogical Research Death Index: Beginning 1957
The NY State death index for 1957 and through years that fall within defined genealogy years (Current year minus 50 years).                      

New York State Death Index 1880-1956
Does not include New York City (at all) or the cities of Buffalo, Albany, and Yonkers until 1914.                                                                       

Online Searchable Death Indexes and Records
Links to online death resources by state.

Social Security Death Index
A database of over 70 million Americans from all 50 states who died from 1962 to the present. It usually includes birth and death dates. [Choose USA, scroll to and select U.S. Social Security Death Index.]

Find out where to obtain copies of U.S. vital records.