Local History & Genealogy

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Books: Circulating and Reference

Section 929: Basic how-to genealogy books
Section 970: Local history

Local History Room

This collection generally covers the history of Western New York and more specifically covers Orleans County history. It includes local histories written as early as 1874, which have indexes. It also includes gazetteers, directories, atlases, and phone books. In addition are a collection of Albion High School yearbooks from 1903 to present.

The Curtis Civil War Collection

Mr. William J. Curtis, Civil War history collector, donated his extensive collection to the library. The Curtis Civil War collection has a heavy emphasis on Confederate books. Mr. Curtis would vacation in the south and collect works with the southern viewpoint of the war.


Included in this collection are microfilmed newspapers, census records, and some church records. The newspapers included are Albion papers from the 1820s to 2001, and the Holley Standard from 1886 to 1994. If you are searching for an obituary, you must know at least the month and year of death, as the newspapers are not indexed.

Oral Histories

In the 1970s, the Orleans Historical Association conducted audiotape interviews of many Orleans County residents. These tapes have been transcribed and also been transferred to audio discs, which are both available along with an index.


Genealogical resources include basic information on New England families. Some of the genealogical records included are volumes of the Connecticut Nutmegger, Mayflower Families, Compendium of American Genealogy, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Records, and Vital Records for several towns in Massachusetts to name a few.

Local Genealogy

Local Genealogies completed by other researchers are included in this collection and include an index of names.

Orleans County History Sites

Orleans County Historical Association

Orleans County, NY Genweb
Orleans County Almshouse Burials
Sampubco: Indexes, wills, naturalizations, and guardianships
for NY state and several other states. You can order copies.
Heritage Quest Online
The Orleans County Historical Society
The Cobblestone Society Museum


Other General Genealogical Sites

Family Search
Genforum: Forums for surnames, states, counties, etc.
Ancestry Message Boards: Free and similar to Genforum
Cyndi’s List: List of other genealogical sites online


Community Resources

Albion is the county seat of Orleans and offers other resources to researchers.

County Offices

Located on Courthouse Square are the County Courthouse and the County Clerk’s office. In the courthouse, you will find access to the Surrogate’s Office, which houses will and probate papers. At the County Clerk’s Office you have access to deeds, plat and survey maps, original census books, and more. The County Historian’s Office is located at 34 East Park St. and can be reached at 585-589-4174.


New York State has a unique network of appointed village, city, town, county, and borough historians. Besides here, a copy of this list is available at the library’s front desk and on the Orleans County, NY Genweb site.

Orleans County Historian
Matthew R. Ballard
34 East Park Street
Albion, NY 14411
Albion Town Historian
Ian MowattAlbion, NY 14411
Albion Village Historian
Dr. Neil Johnson
18 West Avenue
Albion, NY 14411
Barre Town Historian
Adrienne Danniels*
14295 W. Barre Road
Albion, NY 14411
Carlton Town Historian
Lysbeth Hoffman
926–12 Lakeside Bluff
Waterport, NY 14571
Clarendon Town Historian
Melissa Ierlan
PO Box 145
Clarendon, NY 14429
Gaines Town Historian
Adrienne KirbyAlbion, NY 14411
Holley Village Historian
(See Town of Murray)
Kendall Town Historian
Heather Banker
Lyndonville Village Historian
Teri Woodworth
Medina Village Historian
Todd Bensley
508 Pine Street
Medina, NY 14103
Murray Town Historian
Marsha DeFillips
19 North Main Street
Holley, NY 14470
Ridgeway Town Historian
Catherine Cooper
216 West Center Street
Medina, NY 14103
Ridgeway Deputy Town Historian
Richard Nellist
517 N. Academy Street
Medina, NY 14103
Shelby Town Historian
Alice J. Zacher
108 Eastview Drive
Medina, NY 14103
Yates Town Historian
Dawn Matty

* Denotes member of GAHWNY.

Other Associations and Societies

The Orleans County Historical Society
P.O. Box 1285
Albion, NY 14411

The Cobblestone Society Museum
The museum has a library called the Cobblestone Resource Center located in the Brick House immediately west of the Cobblestone Church.
P.O. Box 363
Albion, NY 14411

Out-of-Town Researchers

You can e-mail both either of our two reference librarians who assist with genealogical and local history questions.

Dee Robinson: drobi@nioga.org

You can also mail questions to the Hoag Library, 134 South Main St., Albion, NY 14411, attention to Dee Robinson.

How-To Resources for Beginners

Copyright Fundamentals for Genealogy
Cyndi’s List Beginners
Cyndi’s Handy Online Starting Points

Cyndi’s List Citations in Genealogy
Genealogy.com Genealogy Learning Center
Genealogy.com Abbreviations, Definitions, and Glossary
Ellis Island Passenger Search
GenCircles – Search the Global Tree