Western New York Genealogical Society

P.O. Box 338
Hamburg, NY 14075-0338

Jennifer Liber Raines - [email protected]

Western New York Genealogical Society


The Western New York Genealogical Society, Inc. [501(c)(3)] was founded in 1974 to help preserve and encourage interest in the area's rich genealogical heritage. Our work focuses on the eight counties of Western New York - Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Wyoming, Orleans, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany - specifically those areas that were originally part of the Holland Land Company Purchase.
The Society's Objectives:
• To collect and preserve all available records of early settlers in the eight Western New York counties.
• To make these records available for research.
• To further genealogical knowledge and research.
• To foster record preservation by government agencies, organizations, and individuals.
Our Library:
Named for the Society’s founder, the June Partridge Zintz Memorial Library is located in the Grosvenor Room (Special Collections Department) of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library - Central Branch. The Society provides library volunteers to assist with collection maintenance and patron support.
WNYGS maintains a growing reference library that serves as a repository of genealogical information pertaining to Western New York and its early settlers. The primary focus is the eight counties of Western New York. However, the collection also contains information on New York State, New England, as well as other states and foreign countries. The library includes more than 3,000 books and 700 rolls of microfilm in addition to a collection of periodicals, family histories, ancestor charts, bible records, and an early settler index of more than 120,000 cards (compiled from 75 key sources of birth, death, & marriage information).

Western New York Genealogical Society is a member of the Western New York Library Resources Council.


Scene in Buffalo's Little Italy

The City of Buffalo, N.Y. rapidly grew from a small village along Lake Erie to a bourgeoning industrial hub with the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825. The city later became a center for the Steel Industry and other manufacturing. New opportunities for work brought with it an influx of new residents to the city, which incorporated in 1832, starting with migrants from New England who claimed and worked the land after it was purchased from the Seneca by the Holland Land Company with the signing of the treaty of Big Tree in 1797. Waves of immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Poland & Italy arrived and settled in enclaves, first near the center of the city and waterfront, and later branching out as business and industry grew.  A small community of black residents settled in the city before the US Civil War as well, many thought to have escaped enslavement in the South.  As the population increased, churches, businesses, and community organizations developed to support the city’s migrant and immigrant populations, many of whom continued the cultural traditions of their homelands.  This exhibit celebrates the diverse people and cultures of early Buffalo and the legacy of migration and immigration to the area.    

Reminiscent History of North Collins

A handwritten history of the agricultural town of North Collins, New York.