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Genealogy Websites

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:


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.

New York State Adoption Records
Find out how New York State adoptees can obtain their original (pre-adoption) birth certificate.


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.

New York State Public Historians
A list of Western New York county, town, city, and village historians and their contact information.



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, choose the Search menu, select Records, and select a country on the Research by Location map.

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 – 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 Search menu provides 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 for New Yorkers
Select records from New York State institutions which are available for free on for New York State residents. 

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), 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.



Ellis Island
Records of over 65 million immigrants who arrived at the Port of New York between 1820 and 1957. 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. A name index is searchable back to Sept. 11, 1997 and will provide a citation for the obituary/death notice.

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 (and beyond) newspapers. Users should be cautioned that the poor condition of some of the newspapers (due to age and wear), may affect search results. For an alternate search engine for this website, see the FultonSearch website.

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 online New York newspapers by county.


Organizations and Institutions

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.           

Iroquois Genealogy Society
The focus of the Iroquois Genealogy Society is the genealogy of the Iroquois Nations– Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, Tuscarora and associated peoples. Their website includes a collection of digitized historical and genealogical resources.

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

New York State Archives
The genealogy portal for the New York State Archives.

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 - 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.


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.

New York State Death Index: 1957-Fifty Years Ago
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.   

New York State Marriage Index: 1881-1964
Does not include New York City (at all) or the cities of Buffalo, Albany, and Yonkers until 1908.         

New York State Birth Index: 1881-1942
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.

Reclaim the Records
A nonprofit activist group which requests state governments to provide access to public records using Freedom of Information Act laws.  Free access to records won have been put on their website.

Social Security Death Index
A database of over 70 million Americans from all 50 states who died from 1962 to 2014. It usually includes birth and death dates.

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