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Our Shared History. Our Shared Purpose.

Western New York’s strategic location on the Great Lakes has made it both a terminus and gateway of migration. First home to Native American communities, the region was later settled primarily by New Englanders following the Revolutionary War. The opening of the Erie Canal provided an easy route west, attracting the first of many waves of immigrants from Europe. Many people remained in the area and have been followed by immigrants from around the world.

The Western New York Genealogical Society was founded in 1974 to help preserve and encourage interest in the area's rich genealogical heritage. Our work focuses on the eight counties of Western New York - Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Wyoming, Orleans, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany - that were originally part of the Holland Land Company Purchase.

Target Counties of Western New York

The Society's Objectives:

  • To collect and preserve all available records relating to early settlers in Western New York.
  • To make these records available for research.
  • To further genealogical knowledge and research.
  • To foster awareness of record preservation by and among government agencies, organizations, and individuals.


    Spotlight on Orleans County Research

    Part I: Understanding the Orleans County Department of History
    with County Historian Matthew Ballard
    Part II: Family Farming in Orleans County
    with Local Genealogist and Author Holly Ricci-Canham

    Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
    Buffalo & Erie County Public Library - Central Branch (Buffalo, NY)

    Recent News and Events

    02/01/2017: WNYGS calls for 2017 Western New York Genealogy Conference presenters

    01/01/2017: Western New York Genealogical Society Announces 2017 Program Schedule.

    11/01/2016: Honor A Veteran: WNYGS encourages the Public to participate in the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project.

    06/01/2016: WNYGS named as a sponsor of the 2016 New York State Family History Conference in Syracuse.

    02/06/2016: The Society and its members' efforts featured in the Buffalo News

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