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Genealogy & Local History

Olean Public Library welcomes researchers of all skill levels to use its local history and genealogy collections. Most materials are readily accessible in the local history reference section (non-circulating); other items, including yearbooks and unique local publications, can be requested from the archives.

For patrons visiting in person, library staff are available to answer questions, instruct in microfilm machine use, and assist with Ancestry Library Edition, which is available free to all library visitors. Printing and photocopies are $.15 per page. For patrons unable to visit in person, we look forward to assisting you by phone at 372-0200 or by email at genealogy@oleanlibrary.org. Browse through the categories below to learn more about our in-house collections and to find links to digitized collections.

CLICK A TITLE BELOW TO GO TO EACH SECTION:

CENSUS · YEARBOOKS · CITY DIRECTORIES · NEWSPAPERS · OLEAN HISTORICAL PUBLICATIONS · LOCAL · ANCESTRY RESEARCH

LOCAL CENSUS ON MICROFILM

Census records provide information such as names of family members, ages, occupations and place of birth.
The Federal census is taken every 10 years since 1790. Censuses are only released every 72 years due to privacy issues. Most of the 1890 census was destroyed in a fire.
The NY State Census was taken every 10 years from 1825 to 1875, one in 1892 and then every 10 years from 1905-1925.
Census records are also available on Ancestry Library Edition and FamilySearch.org. (link)
County Year(s)
Albany 1830
Allegany 1810-1890, 1900-1930
Broome 1830
Cattaraugus 1820-1880, 1900-1930
Chautauqua 1820

Olean High School Yearbooks

Note: Some years are missing

Yearbooks can provide pictures and give clues to a person’s personallity through clubs, activities, quotes and comments.  Relatives and friends may also be found.
The library holds most Olean High School yearbooks from 1922-present

You can help us complete our collections by donating unwanted Congress yearbooks to the library

Year(s) Year(s)
1922 1977-1996
1925-1969 1998-2016
1971 2018-2020
1973-1975

The Library is currently missing years: 1970, 1972, 1976, 1997, 2017, 2021, 2022

City Directories

Note: Some years are missing

City Directories provide information such as names of family members living in a household, occupations, addresses and phone numbers
Year(s)
1874-1875
1882
1884-1885
1886-1887
1887-1892

Olean City Directories Online

Searchable PDFs contain the full text to eighteen Jamestown, NY, city directories from 1875 to 1916 and eighteen Olean, NY, city directories from 1882 to 1916.

*This project was funded through a member project grant from the regional Bibliographic Data Bases and Interlibrary Resources Sharing Program (RBDB) awarded to the Western New York Library Resources Council by the New York State Education Department

Olean Newspapers (Available on Microfilm)

Newspapers are good sources of information for births, deaths, marriages, and historical articles

Papers on Microfilm

PapersYears
Olean JournalSeptember 1852-May 1856
Olean HeraldSeptember 1881-November 1925
January 1929-December 1931
Olean TimesOctober 1860-July 1861
January 1884-December 1931
Olean Times Herald1932-Present

The NYS Historic Newspapers project provides free online access to a wide range of newspapers chosen to reflect New York’s unique history.  The earliest newspapers in the library’s collection have been digitized and uploaded to the NYS Historic Newspaper website as a result of funding from  the Regional Bibliographic Data Bases and Interlibrary Resources Sharing Program (RBDB) awarded to the Western New York Library Resources Council by the New York State Education Department.  Digitizing and providing online access to these newspapers allows patrons from all over the world to freely access this information.