More Celebrity Lookalikes Found in Buffalo Yearbooks

Occasionally Grosvenor Room staff come across images in our collections that make us do a double-take.  Here are a few Buffalo yearbook photos that we think look like celebrities.  Who do you think they look like?  Scroll down to see if you agree with us.

View past editions here:


Celebrities batch 2a

Image result for arrow

2b 12b 22b 3

Posted in Genealogy

Discover What Your Family Tree Looks Like – Genealogy Lecture Series

Explore your ancestry this summer with the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library!  A series of free classes is being offered in conjunction with the Autumnwood Senior Center. Join us!  Sign-up for one class or all.

Summer 2017 flyer

Posted in Genealogy

Celebrity Look-a-Likes Found in Buffalo Yearbooks

Occasionally Grosvenor Room staff come across images in our collections that make us do a double-take.  Here are a few Buffalo yearbook photos that we think look like celebrities.  Who do you think they look like?  Scroll down to see if you agree with us.

Celebrities batch 1a



Image result for arrow





Posted in Genealogy

Vinyl Records & You!

turntable record dark purple border

Did you know that the Grosvenor Room has a circulating collection of LP vinyl records?  This music and audio collection, housed in a Closed Stacks storage area, includes thousands of albums of ethnic, folk, classical, opera, jazz, rock and popular music, as well as musical anthologies of all genres.  There are also recordings of poetry, speeches, and sound effects.  The records are roughly from 1950 to 1985, although some are reissues of music from earlier eras.

There are two ways to search for vinyl records in the collection:

1.Use the online catalog and search for a musician or musical group and/or an album title as a keyword.

johnny cash search example

After you click search, the results page provides options on the left side to narrow by Format and/or Material Type.  Select “Music LP” and “Phonograph Record” and click “Include” for each.

johnny cash search example4

In the results list, a vinyl record will be noted by the little record icon and “Music LP” as the format:

johnny cash search example2

Click on the title to view more information on the album, and to see if it is currently available.

johnny cash search example3

If you’d like an overall view of the record collection, leave the search box blank and click search.  On the next page you can choose Format and/or Material Type.  Again, select “Music LP” and “Phonograph Record” and click “Include.”  Over 11,000 records will be listed, and now you can choose a Subject to narrow down by music genre (i.e. Big band music).

Record card catalog2. If you are at the Central Library, you can also search the Record Index Card Catalog located in the Grosvenor Room.  While more recent donations to the collection will not be listed in the cards, you can search for older items in the collection by album title, musician/musical group, and genre.

Once you have identified the LPs you’d like to check-out , just ask a Grosvenor Room Librarian for assistance and the records will be retrieved in minutes.  LP records circulate for 7 days, and may be renewed twice.

Posted in Music | Tagged , ,

A New Grosvenor Room Guide

Hear Ye

Attention genealogists and historians!  The Grosvenor Room has a new research guide. It’s called Early Genealogy Sources for Buffalo & Erie County, and covers Grosvenor Room resources from 1880 backwards.  We hope it helps break down some of your brick walls!

Posted in Genealogy, Grosvenor Guides, Local History

Finding Your Irish Ancestors’ Origins with Griffith’s Valuation

Thinking about your Irish roots this St. Patrick’s Day? Wondering about your ancestor’s origins?  Finding a specific Irish place name can sometimes be a difficult task, especially if they came during the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s and 1850s.  Check out the library’s Irish Genealogy Guide and Record Selection Table for research ideas.

Another great resource is called Griffith’s Valuation.  It was a land survey carried out by the Irish government between 1847 and 1864 and it lists the names of property owners, renters, and their places of residence.  Only the landholder or renter will be named, not the entire family, and tenements were not included. If the matriarch and patriarch of your family were married in Ireland and then immigrated to the United States, the valuation could prove useful.  That is because the Irish often married those who lived near them in order to keep their land in the family.  Griffith’s Valuation can be found in Ancestry Library Edition (ALE), a genealogy database available at any Buffalo & Erie County Public Library location.

If you would like to try out the Griffith’s Valuation, follow the search described in this brief case study:

Case Study – Finding the Irish town of origin for the Daniel Feeney and Margaret McDonough family

Background information:

Margaret McDonough who was born about 1832 in Ireland, married Daniel Feeney and he died in Ireland before 1860.  Their children were Patrick (b. 1851) and William (b. 1853).  In about 1860, she married Martin Hynes (b. 1830) in Ireland and their family moved to Buffalo by 1870.  Margaret and Martin’s children were Coleman (b. 1860) and Bartley (b. 1862), and they were both born in Ireland.

A thorough search of U.S. records was performed for all of the immigrants and their children including church records, naturalization records, passenger lists, vital records, census records, cemetery records, gravestones, military records, and obituaries.  Bartley Hynes’s obituary was the only source which listed a smaller than country level of location.  It stated that Bartley was born in Galway County Ireland.

Next, the Surname Cross-Reference database was searched on the SWilson website.  The database is a compilation of the names listed in the Griffith’s Valuation.  It allows you to input two surnames to see what Irish counties and civil parishes include both surnames, as well as how many times the surnames appear in each location. Searches were performed for the following name combinations: McDonough and Feeney, McDonough and Hynes, and Feeney and Hynes.  The first and second searches both produced the same parish locations, Kilcummin and Rahoon in the county of Galway.  The combination of Feeney and Hynes returned numerous results including Rahoon and Kilcummin.

Next, the Griffith’s Valuation was searched using the database Ancestry Library Edition (ALE).  ALE is available for use at any Buffalo & Erie County Library location.  You can use ALE’s card catalog (which is under the Search menu) to find the valuation in ALE.  Since it appeared that Margaret did not marry Martin until about 1860 and the valuation was conducted from 1847-1864, the surname Feeney and the location Rahoon, Galway, Ireland was searched in Griffith’s Valuation.  About 1300 results were found.  To narrow the results, the search was limited to Galway County and about 300 hits were returned.

Unfortunately, limiting to a parish (Rahoon) does not seem to work in ALE, so other search combinations were tried.  A search for the surname Hynes produced over a thousand results and searching with McDonough limited to the county Galway, produced no results (remember, no database is perfect).  To narrow things down, a search for Daniel Feeney, was performed in the hopes that the valuation covered the Feeneys’ residence while Daniel was still alive.  Three Daniel Feeneys resulted at the top of the hits list.  The second entry, which was for the townland of Knock was selected.  That record showed two land areas, one in Knock and one in Maumeen, which included all three surnames, Feeney, Hynes, and McDonough. (photo below)

Griffiths Valuation Feeney Hynes McDonough

Courtesy Ancestry Library Edition

With Knock and Maumeen as promising leads, a search in Irish land records (by a researcher in Ireland) was completed and a transaction was found transferring land from Daniel Feeney to Martin Hynes in the townland of Knock.  Thus, the place of origin of the McDonough, Hynes, and Feeney families was found.

Happy Hunting!

Posted in Genealogy

Buffalo Women’s History: Architect Louise Blanchard Bethune



Louise Blanchard Bethune was born  Jennie Louise Blanchard in Waterloo, NY in 1856.  She lived in Buffalo from 1866 until her death in 1913.  After graduating from Buffalo High School in 1874, she took a position as an apprentice for Waite & Caulkins, an architectural firm in Buffalo.

In 1881, she opened her own firm and became the first professional female architect in the United States. Her husband joined the firm soon afterwards, and in 1890 they added William Fuchs as a partner.  The firm of Bethune, Bethune and Fuchs built numerous buildings throughout Western New lafayette-hotel-copyYork and beyond.  Their most well-known accomplishment was the Lafayette Hotel, for which Louise was the primary architect.

In 1885, Louise helped organize the Buffalo Society of Architects, and in 1888 she became the first woman member of the American Institute of Architects.

Image sources:

[Louise Bethune image]. National Cyclopedia of American Biography, vol. 12, pub. 1904, p. 9.

Postcard. Lafayette Hotel, Buffalo, N.Y. No printer and no date. Postmarked January 2, [no year].

Posted in Local History | Tagged ,