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Subject Guides

Subject Guides

Click on any topic listed below to find a guide containing websites, databases and books chosen by librarians.

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Local History

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Ancestry Library
A genealogical and historical research tool that provides access to city directories, U.S. Federal Census records between 1790 and 1930, immigration, vital, military, court, church and ethnic records. It includes resources for Buffalo & Erie County historical records.  For use at any library.  Virtual Tour

HeritageQuest Online
U.S. Federal census records from 1790-1940, family genealogies, local histories, tax lists, city directories, land and probate records, birth, marriage and death records, and genealogical and local history serials from the Periodical Source Index (PERSI).  It includes resources for Buffalo & Erie County historical information.   Virtual Tour

Sanborn Maps of New York 1867-1970
Sanborn fire insurance maps are detailed property and land-use records. These maps can be used to trace the development of an area or the change in a neighborhood over time. The database includes maps of Buffalo, 1889-1951.  


Community and Local Links

The Buffalo History Museum
Formerly named the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, the museum is one of the oldest regional historical societies in the country. The research library webpage features sources for frequently researched subjects, including the War of 1812, Frank Lloyd Wright, the Holland Land Company, the Pan-American Exposition, and Presidents McKinley and Cleveland.

Buffalo History & Architecture
A virtual encyclopedia with a wealth of information on the architects, architecture, landmarks, and neighborhoods of Buffalo. This vast, award-winning website also includes pictures and articles on notable WNY people.

Buffalo Presidential Center
This site explores the legacies of Presidents Millard Fillmore and Grover Cleveland and Western New York's contribution to national affairs. 

A comprehensive site that includes tips for finding house and building information, histories of local businesses, online maps, and family records.

City of Buffalo Art Collection Online
This site is an on-going project that provides photos of past Buffalo mayors, sculptures, and decorative objects located in Buffalo, NY.

Uncrowned Community Builders
For more than a decade, local researchers have built an online biographical database that originally began in 1999 as a way to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of African and African-American women during the Pan-American Exposition (held in Buffalo, NY in 1901) and in the 100 years following the event. Since its creation, the project has expanded to included African-American men. The database relies upon user contributions to build its collection.

Western New York Heritage Press Photographs
Hundreds of vintage images of Western New York streets, buildings, businesses, and landmarks, often accompanied by historical information.

Western New York Legacy: a Digital Library of Historical Treasures
A central access point to digital collections that celebrate the rich cultural heritage of New York. Digital exhibits currently include Buffalo City Directories, the Buffalo Criterion, Crystal Beach Photographs, Darwin D. Martin Photograph Collection, George Nathan Newman Collection of Photographs of Vanishing Buffalo, Love Canal Images, the New York to Paris Race, and Pan-American Exposition Scrapbooks.


Library Materials

Click on the following topics for a quick search in the Library's Catalog.

Buffalo Central Terminal
Buffalo History
Erie Canal
Pan-American Exposition