Finding Local Histories

Local history books often contain a wealth of biographical information on pioneer families, professionals, business owners, and prominent citizens.  Find out what local histories exist for the areas where your ancestors lived by using the following resources.

  • Books

Gro CS47 .Y3 1996. Hoffman, Marian.  Genealogical & Local History Books in Print.   Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1996.  Includes U.S. and world sources. 

Gro Ref CS47 .N39 1998. New England Historic Genealogical Society. Circulating Library Catalog, Volume II, Research Aids.  Boston, MA: NEHGS, 1998.  

Gro Ref CS47 .U56 1990, 3 volumes. UMI Guide to Family and Local Histories. Ann Arbor, Michigan:  UMI, 1990. 

GRO Ref F119.N4 1990. Harold Nestler.  A Bibliography of New York State Communities.  Bowie, Md. : Heritage Books, 1990.  

Buffalo Collection – The Buffalo Collection in the Grosvenor Room, includes thousands of books related to Buffalo and Erie County. 

Grosvenor Genealogy Collection – Our Grosvenor Genealogy Collection includes local history books for areas outside Erie County, NY.  They are arranged by state, and by county and city within the state’s section. 

  • Databases 

HeritageQuest Online – HQ includes over 28,000 full-text books which mainly consist of family and local histories.  PERSI is a genealogy and local history periodicals index.  It will help you find local history articles. 

The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library’s online catalog – Search our collection online by using the following subject heading search method: 

Nameoftownorcity StateAbbreviationwithspaces History


Nameof County  StateAbbreviationwithspaces History


Buffalo N Y History

Dunkirk N Y History

Providence R I History 

Erie County N Y History

Cattaraugus County N Y History

  • Specialty Files 

Grosvenor Genealogy File – This is the card catalog of the old Grosvenor Library.  It includes listings of local history books.  Search alphabetically by town, county, or state.

  • Websites – This is the Brigham Young University Family History Archive site, which includes thousands of full-text books. – The Internet Archive provides access to almost three million full-text books including local histories. – WorldCat is a union library catalog which contains library holdings information for all over the United States and some foreign holdings as well.  You can find out what local histories are available and at what libraries they are available.

Read more about local histories and how they can help your research here.

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