Discovering Your Roots: Genealogy at the Library

In addition to the Central Library’s local historical collections, emphasizing Monroe County and the Genesee Valley region, the library supports visitors getting started in genealogy.  Your library card provides free access to premium genealogy databases, while our extensive bibliographies, indexes and abstracted items support the advanced researcher.  Resources include the following:

  • – MCLS libraries subscribe to this premier resource, available on-site at library locations.
  • Heritage Quest – a partner of includes the Federal Censuses, bank and military records, and other local sources. Access is available anywhere with your library card.
  • Life Records Database – birth, death, and marriage indexes from the Democrat and Chronicle.  A fee-based article search and retrieval service from the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County.
  • Local Directories – digitized City of Rochester directories other directories from Monroe County.
  • New York State Vital Records Index – Located at the Local History Division of the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County; provides birth and marriage records from 1881 and death records from 1880.
  • Rochester Newspaper Index – digitized references to articles that appeared in Rochester newspapers from 1818-1897.

The Local History & Genealogy division has prepared a Research Guide to assist those seeking historical and genealogical materials in Rochester and Monroe County. Genealogy indexes, Special Collections finding aids and pathfinders, compiled by volunteers and staff of the Central Library, point to source material located in the Local History & Genealogy Division of the Central Library. Learn more about the Local History & Genealogy Division.

Please check the library calendar for upcoming genealogy programs.