What newspapers do you have?
We have the Buffalo [Evening] News (1881-present), the Courier Express (1926-1982), and many other local newspapers back to the 1840s. Most of the newspaper collection is on microfilm. See the newspaper guides for specific titles and online newspaper resources.
Can you send me a copy of an article? For obituaries/death notices, request using this form. To find other articles on microfilm, we will need an exact date (month/day/year). If you don’t know an exact date, there are no guarantees, but we will check our Local History card (article index) and other quick reference sources. To request an article, please fill out our form and see the related fees.
Do you have city directories? We have Buffalo City Directories from 1828 through the present day. Directories were published every year except 1829-1831, 1833/34, 1843, 1845, 1846, 1943-1945, 1947, 1949, 1954, 1973, 1979, 1981,1983, 1994, and 1995. Suburban towns in Erie County were published separately, and most began in the 1950s. Our collection includes directories from other cities and states; see this list. Buffalo directories, 1832-1913, are also online in our digital collections. To request a city directory search, please fill out our form and see the related fees.
Do you have records or photographs of a family-owned business? Information on historic small businesses, such as restaurants and stores, is often scarce. Sometimes you can find a newspaper article about the owner, a business anniversary, or a fire or crime that occurred. Photographs of small businesses are also rarely found in library collections.
Listings in the Buffalo city directories throughout the years could give you an idea of how long the business was in operation and will also provide the address. If this is the type of information you are looking for, we can search our microfilm and send you copies of the listings. To request this service, please fill out our form and see the related fees.
Do you have yearbooks? Yes! We have hundreds of Buffalo and Erie County high school and college yearbooks, from the 1880s to the present. Newly donated yearbooks are always being added; check the yearbook guide for a list of schools and years.
Photographs? While we do not have an extensive collection of original photographs, some late 19th century and early 20th century scenes of streets, houses, and other buildings are often found in books, journals, scrapbooks, and postcards. The most significant photos of Buffalo in our collection are featured in our digital collections.
A good resource for original photographs of houses is the Buffalo History Museum Research Library. https://buffalohistory.org/library-collections/
Maps? We have several Buffalo and Erie County atlases, sheet maps, and Sanborn fire insurance atlases that show properties and land owners. For years covered, please see the map guides. An online database of Sanborn maps in also available.
Vital records? We have some select Erie County marriage records, Buffalo Justice of Peace records, City of Buffalo birth records, and City of Buffalo delayed births. We also have the New York State Vital Records Index. Our Vital and Related Records guide has all the details. To learn where to find records not held by the Library see the Government Sources of Vital Records guide.
What is my ancestor’s death date? Here’s a list of places to look.
Does library staff do lookups? We offer a few lookup services which are detailed here.
What genealogy resources do you have? Our Genealogy Resources in the Grosvenor Room guide is a great introduction. For detailed information about the resources we carry, see our online guides, which are organized by category.
Surrogate’s Court records? We have a microfilmed index of Erie County Surrogate’s Court records through the year 1929. Some Surrogate’s Court files are online at FamilySearch.org. The Library serves as a storage facility for historic Erie County Surrogate’s Court files. The Library does not own these records and cannot provide access to them. Contact Surrogate’s Court Records Office for access.
Do you accept donations? Thank you for considering a donation to our collection. Please see the guidelines to insure we are the best fit for your material.
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