Erie County is situated on the western border of New York State. It is bounded by Lake Erie to the west and is bordered by Niagara County and Canada to the north, Genesee and Wyoming Counties to the east, and Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties to the south. The county contains three cities, 25 incorporated townships, and 14 villages, including Buffalo, the county seat and the second-largest metropolitan area in New York. The area is heavily influenced by manufacturing and has a population of 919,040 according to the 2010 U.S. federal census.
When searching for records in Erie County, a great countywide resource to visit is the Buffalo History Museum (formerly the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.) Their holdings include local directories, local histories, biographies, census microfilm and indexes, microfilm of church and cemetery records, marriage index, military records, institution records, thousands of microfilms of newspapers, obituary index with over 99,000 names and family files. Online resources include Buffalo address books, Crystal Beach photographs, manuscripts and drawings from the War of 1812, and finding aids. They also have some records for parent county (Niagara) pre-1821-before Erie County was formed. Their website contains a list of finding aids and collection inventories.
If you are searching in Buffalo, NY, you should also check out the Western New York Genealogical Society. They focus on the genealogy and history of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming counties. Their June P. Zintz Memorial Library is located in the Grosvenor Room of the downtown Central Branch of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library and contains atlases and gazetteers; directories (including Buffalo City Directories 1832–present); histories; Bible, birth, baptism, church, marriage, burial, cemetery, and death records; a card file vital record index of early Western New York families; census materials for the eight Western New York counties (federal and state); ancestor charts, biographies, family histories, and genealogies; immigration lists and indexes; and military records. The Society’s projects include a Church and Cemetery Records Microfilming Program, which funds the microfilming of records from Western New York and makes them available to researchers at the Zintz Memorial Library. A complete list of records that have been microfilmed is available on the Society’s website. The website also contains a list of surnames currently being researched by its members, partial indexes for the 1865 state census, and a limited amount of transcribed records. The Society has published the Western New York Genealogical Society Journal since 1974, which includes unpublished records, book reviews, and research advice.
NYG&B members have access to all our original county guides on our website. Each guide was created by experts in the field in order to direct researchers to these local, unique resources. Visit our website to learn more about the benefits of membership.