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 716-372-0200 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.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:
YEARBOOKS · CITY DIRECTORIES · NEWSPAPERS · LOCAL HISTORY · ANCESTRY · RESEARCH
LOCAL CENSUS ON MICROFILMCensus 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.
|Cattaraugus, Allegany||1820-1880, 1900-1930|
|Clinton, Dutchess, Montgomery, Niagara, Orange, Sullivan, Washington||1810|
|Chautauqua, Chenango, Clinton, Cortland, Franklin, Greene, Kings, Orange||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.
Olean High School’s digital collection of Congress covers 1921-Present.
Note: Some years are missingCity Directories provide information such as names of family members living in a household, occupations, addresses and phone numbers
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
The Olean Newspapers currently available Digitally are:
Available on NYS Historic Newspapers:
The Democrat (Olean, Cattaraugus Co. NY) 18??-1883
Olean Daily Herald (Olean, NY) 1881-1882
The Olean Democrat (Olean, Cattaraugus Co. NY) 1883-1909
Olean Herald (Olean Cattaraugus Co. NY) 1883-1905
Sunday Morning Herald (Olean, NY) 1882-1883
Other Local Newspapers
Historical newspapers from New York State
Digital Archives of the Allegany Public Library
Allegany Citizen newspapers 1896-1976
Papers on Microfilm
|Olean Journal||September 1852-May 1856|
|Olean Herald||September 1881-November 1925|
January 1929-December 1931
|Olean Times||October 1860-July 1861|
January 1884-December 1931
|Olean Times Herald||1932-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.
When citing a newspaper article from the NYSHN Project it is recommended that you use standard APA format for a newspaper article, with the addition of the retrieved URL.
The basic format is as follows: Author, A. A. (Year, Month Day). Title of Article. Title of Newspaper. Retrieved from http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/REST-OF-URL.
An example would be: Sackett, H. (2007, December 29-30). Cape Cod-based airline wants to fly here. Adirondack Daily Enterprise. Retrieved from http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn86033360/2007-12-29/ed-1/seq-1/.
Online Grave Search
Find a Grave – a free resource for finding the final resting places of famous people, friends, and family.
Research RequestThe Reference staff will do limited genealogical research for patrons who are unable to visit the library in person by searching the Olean newspapers on microfilm for obituaries. There is no limit to the number of names you may submit to us. We prefer to have an exact date of death; however, month and year are acceptable. We will search the census records on microfilm that the library owns if an exact page number can be given. As our staff time is limited, the library will charge $15.00 for the first hour of research; $9.00 for each hour thereafter. This fee includes photocopying and postage. The minimum fee for any genealogy research will be $15.00. Patrons making genealogy requests must provide the library with a list of requested names (as full as possible) and death dates, a check or money order for the minimum fee ($15.00), a return mailing address and an upwards limit of how much they are willing to spend if the research requested takes more than one hour. Research results will not be made available until payment is made in full. No refunds will be issued should we not be able to locate the information requested. While we cannot guarantee that we can answer your specific question, our search will be thorough, and we will do our best to help you. If you wish us to begin a search for you, please send a check or money order payable to the Olean Public Library. Because we have many other similar research requests, we ask for your patience if our response is not as timely as you would wish. For a research request, please fill out the following RESEARCH REQUEST FORM. and either mail or e-mail it with your check or money order to the following address: Olean Public Library ATTN: REFERENCE 134 N 2ND ST OLEAN, NY 14760-2583 email@example.com
- Buffalo and Erie County Public Library (BECPL) – Links to genealogy resources from the Grosvenor Room, the premiere genealogical destination in Western New York.
- Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet – A directory of genealogical resources.
- Family Search – Online birth, marriage, death, census, church records and other indexes.
- National Archives – Resources for genealogists.
- New York Heritage – Online New York State history resources. Includes some city directories, newspapers, maps, scrapbooks, and yearbooks.
- New York State Archives – Indexes to vital records, war service, land records, court records, and records of some correctional and custodial institutions.
- Painted Hills – Online genealogy society for local counties. Includes cemetery listings, census records, veteran information and local history.
- USGenWeb Project – Includes query boards, listings of local sources for records, county and state histories, online genealogy books, research tips, maps, and links to helpful internet resources.