Tracing your ancestry is a popular and rewarding hobby. It can be both fun and challenging to fit the pieces of your genealogy jigsaw puzzle together!  Whether you are a new or experienced researcher, the Genealogy and Local History Center at WPL is designed to assist you in discovering your family history.

Located within our center you will find:

  •  2 dedicated computers with untimed access to links below
  •  Our collection of local history and genealogy books and reference material
  •  Resource books with links to genealogy websites and family tree software
  •  Forms to document and organize your family search information
  •  Family Tree Magazine
  •  Fliers and information about local upcoming events relating to history and genealogy


The Library Edition of Ancestry.com is free to use at WPL!  Search for census, voter, immigration, marriage and birth records ….and much more. This database is not available outside the library.

Family Search

This free site has the world’s largest collection of genealogical materials.  This database is available in the library and remotely.


This source provides access to U.S. census records, books, periodicals, Revolutionary War service records, and Freedman’s Bank depositor records.  This database is also available remotely with your library card.

MCLS Local History Resources

The Local History Division of the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County owns the region’s largest single collection of materials dealing with the history of Rochester and the Genesee Valley.

Rochester Genealogical Society

From this site you will be able to access links to digitized church and cemetery records, neighboring genealogical societies, and local publications.

NYS Historic Newspapers

Get free online access to a wide range of newspapers chosen to reflect New York’s unique history.

Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet

A comprehensive, categorized and cross-referenced list of links that point to genealogical research sites online.

Gale Custom Newspapers (New York State Newspapers)

Eight full-text newspapers for New York State (from Buffalo, New York City and Syracuse)

InfoTrac Newstand

More than 1,000 newspapers worldwide from 1980 to the present. Search fields by title, headline, date, newspaper section or other assigned fields.

Rochester History

A journal that covers the history of Rochester and western New York, all articles are available online – from 1939 to the present.

Rochester Images

Contains over 22,000 historical and contemporary images from Rochester and Monroe County.