The Local History & Genealogy Division is located on the 2nd floor of the Rundel Library Building. This Division holds the largest collection of primary and secondary source materials about the history of Rochester and the Genesee Valley in the region, as well as a vast assemblage of resources to help you research your family history. Materials do not circulate; they must be used in the division.
Expert staff are available to help you by telephone, email, or in person for quick reference questions. Walk-ins are welcome. Appointments are recommended for researchers wishing to use our special collections and those needing assistance with in-depth inquiries. Request an appointment.
Division Supervisor: Michelle Finn
The place to go for interesting stories on local history and genealogy topics, as well as news and fun facts about the department and its collections.
Whether you’re new to family history or an old pro, our genealogy staff and resources can help you track down your long-lost ancestors.
Discover original letters, documents, photographs, works of art, ephemera, and more that shed light on Rochester’s history.
Research, create, and collaborate! We offer free access to modern equipment and technology to help you bring your local history and genealogy projects to life.
A place for K-12 students (and adults, too!) to learn about the past through the stories of Rochesterians who experienced it first-hand. Access primary sources online!
City of Rochester residents with an MCLS library card can now access our Local History & Genealogy databases from home–for free!
The 1950 census records were released by the U.S. National Archives on April 1, 2022. This website provides full access to the 1950 census images, including population schedules, enumeration district maps, and enumeration district descriptions.
Early American genealogical records, searchable genealogical research journals and magazines, and the largest collection of U.S Catholic records online. Full access for free in the library and remotely for “City of Rochester” residents.
The world’s largest online family history resource providing access to billions of historical records, millions of family trees, census records, military records, and more. Full access for free in the library.
Color high resolution images of maps of New York State municipalities and settled areas from 1875 to 1950 from the world’s largest online digital collection of color fire insurance maps, real estate atlases and similar land use maps for North America. Full access for free in the library.
United Kingdom-based genealogy website providing access to more than 4 billion searchable records of census, directory, and historical information from the UK and around the world. Full access for free in the library.
A partner of Ancestry that provides access to genealogical and historical resources for more than 60 countries, with coverage dating back to the 1700s. Access from home with your library card.
Index of birth, marriage and death notices published in Rochester, NY, newspapers ca. 1960- 2016.
This collection of historical newspapers provides genealogists, researchers and scholars with online, easily-searchable first-hand accounts and unparalleled coverage of the politics, society and events of this region. Full access for free in the library. Coverage: 1785 – 2010.**Remote access is available for City of Rochester residents Only.**
This collection of digitized newspapers provides genealogists, researchers and scholars with cover-to-cover access to recent newspaper content. Every page image is full-text searchable. Full access for free in the library. Coverage: 2008 – recent (3 month embargo). **Remote access is available for City of Rochester residents Only.**
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