Genealogy 101 Class This Sunday

Genealogy 101

January 5th, 2014 2 PM

Forest Lawn is one of the largest repositories of individual and family heritage in Western New York. We invite you to join Forest Lawn and speaker Rhonda Konig, Grosvenor Room Librarian at Buffalo & Erie County’s Central Library, in the historic Forest Lawn chapel for an introduction to genealogy research, including basic concepts, types of records used, and an overview of genealogy resources available through the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System. Seating is limited; reservations are required. Tickets for this Sunday In The Cemetery® Concert & Lecture Series event are $15.

Order tickets at the following link:

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Wizard of Oz Genealogy

From now through April 2014, the Rare Book Room is displaying their collection of Wizard of Oz books as part of  “The Wonderful Wizardry of Baum” exhibit.  Wizard of Oz memorabilia, quotes and imagery can be found throughout the Central Library.

The Central Library is also hosting a number of Wizard of Oz related programs.  See the Calendar of Events on the Library’s home page for more information.

Check out the links below to see if you are related to the following Wizard of Oz associated people.

L. Frank Baum – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz author.

Judy Garland – Played Dorothy in the 1939 Wizard of Oz film.

Bert Lahr – Played the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 Wizard of Oz film.

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Retro Buffalo Bills

These Buffalo Bills caricatures were found in the Sports in Buffalo scrapbook at the Central Library’s Grosvenor Room.   The Courier Express featured the drawings during the 1965 season, a year that the Bills won the AFL Championship, upsetting the favorite, San Diego, 23-0.  Ranked third in team offense and first in defense, many ’65 Bills team members went on to play in the Pro Bowl and were ranked as first team All-Pro players.  Click the images to view them full-sized.

Scrapbook, Sports in Buffalo, Volume 2. Buffalo *GV584.5 B9 B9 V.2

Image   Image 

Stratton and Edgerson (p430)   Butch Byrd (p421) 

 Daryle Lamonica (p423)   Elbert Dubemon (p431)

Ernie Warlick (p418)   George Saimes (p433)

Jack Kemp (p409)   Tom Sestak (p410)

Lou Saban (p442)   Ralph Wilson (p443)


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A Soldier’s Scrapbook

A Soldier's Scrapbook

Selections from a scrapbook compiled in Buffalo by Thelma Hildebrand for her husband, Private Nelson Fischer, 1941-1942. The book documents Nelson’s travels as a soldier, and includes napkins, matchbooks, telegrams, greeting cards, and even bars of soap.

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Donate your old yearbooks to the Library!


Looking for a home for your unwanted yearbooks?  Consider donating them to the Library!  Once beloved mementos for young students, old high school and college yearbooks are now treasured by genealogists, local historians, and even school reunion planners.

The Grosvenor Room has a large collection of Buffalo area yearbooks, but it does not include all schools or years.  Due to cost, we rely on kind donations to add to this collection.

We would love to add yearbooks that are…

  • From a high school or college in Erie County, from any year.
  • In good condition; no mold or water damage, please.
  • From schools we do not have, namely private and parochial, and more recent schools such as City Honors and Performing Arts.

Donated yearbooks can be dropped off in the Grosvenor Room at the Central Library. 

To learn which yearbooks we currently have, check this guide.

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Fun find in a D.A.R. Scrapbook

Here’s a unique item from one of our scrapbooks: a beautiful table place card from a dinner held in 1931 at the Town Club on Delaware Ave.  This scrapbook was compiled from 1926 to 1931 by Mrs. Belle Morgan, who was a member of the Abigail Fillmore Chapter, a local DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) organization.


[Daughters of the American Revolution, Abigail Fillmore Chapter Scrapbooks]. [Buffalo, N.Y.: Abigail Fillmore Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution], 1926. Vol.1. Grosvenor Room E202.5.N53 B825

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Women of Library History: Grosvenor Room Leading Ladies of Yesterday

The original Grosvenor Library (1871-1974, Franklin and Edward Streets)  established a magnificent reference collection that remains the core of our current genealogy, local history, music, and rare book collections.  For Women’s History Month, we honor and remember two librarians who began their careers at the “Old Grosvenor.”  We owe much to their dedication and hard work in creating these collections.


Jane Van Arsdale, librarian 1940-1972

Jane Van Arsdale was the first Curator of Rare Books for the Grosvenor Library, and later for the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.  Prior to 1940, few books were protected as treasures, but after a thief made off with over 200 valuable books, Miss Van Arsdale began to identify items for a growing rare book collection.  For the next 30 years, she combed through the stacks and selected titles for purchase, building the foundations of rich collection. The Grosvenor Rare Book Room was one of the first rare book collections in a public library in the country and remains one of about 20 such public library collections today.

Margaret Mott

Margaret Mott, librarian 1923-

Formerly a professional singer, Margaret Mott began her librarian career in the Music Department at the Grosvenor Library, which she headed from 1923 to 1954.  During her time at the Grosvenor, she oversaw the acquisition of an impressive collection of sheet music, historical manuscripts, and recordings, and organized a successful musical concert series.  In 1957, Mrs. Mott was named “Woman of the Year” by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Society, just one of her many honors and awards.  Her 40 year career took her briefly to Paris, France to head the Reference Department of the American Library, and ultimately to the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library as deputy library director.

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