Local History Room Resources

The Local History collection includes mainly information on Niagara County and Lockport; the Erie Canal; famous persons, industries, schools, events, and historic buildings.

Limited staff time does not allow us to do in-depth research. We will look in standard indexed sources (this does not include the Census) in the Library's collection, as well as in the newspapers listed below to locate obituaries if you provide us with a date of death. Monetary donations are always appreciated. Photocopy charges are $0.15 per page. If you wish to send us a local history or genealogy related reference question, please go to our Ask a Librarian form.


Some of our resources may be useful for genealogical research, such as:

RESOURCE DATES OF COVERAGE FORMAT
Lockport Daily Advertiser & Democrat 8/2/1858 - 12/31/1859 * microfilm
Lockport Daily Union/Sun 7/11/1866 - 12/30/1899 * microfilm
Lockport Union Sun & Journal 10/1899 - present * microfilm
Niagara Democrat 1/6/1883 - 12/27/1884 * microfilm
Lockport City Directories 1856 - present microfilm and print
Lockport High School Yearbooks 1897 - present print
DeSales Catholic High School Yearbooks 1950 - 1989 print
United States Niagara County Census 1820 - 1930, with the exception of 1890 microfilm
United States Census 1940 online
United States Census 1950 online
New York State Niagara County Census 1855, 1865, 1875. There is a printed index for the State census. microfilm

* There are gaps in the newspaper collection. The newspapers have no index; therefore, knowing the dates of the events you are researching will expedite your search. We  have an obituary index for the Union Sun & Journal covering the years 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011: Microsoft Excel file.

We have a detailed list of dates for our local newspapers on microfilm.  Note:
Sunday editions exist for April 2, 2000 through May 3, 2020.
Monday editions available through May 4, 2020.
Tuesday editions did not exist May 2013 through May 5, 2020.

Access to Ancestry Library Edition database is available from the library's public-access computers and from your own device when using the library's wi-fi connection.

Proquest Ancestry Library Edition 

Photograph Collections
We have two photograph collections in the Local History Room--the Polster Photo Collection PDF and the Sand Photo Collection PDF. Photocopies of the items in each collection may be viewed during library hours.

The Polster photograph collection is available online as part of the New York Heritage Digital Collections. Mr. Edwin Polster (1910-1996) was for many years the chief photographer at Harrison Radiator Division (later known as Delphi Harrison Radiator Division, then Delphi Thermal Systems), Lockport, NY, and it was his hobby to record the architectural history of Lockport. This collection contains over 500 photographs of Lockport, NY, with concentrations on downtown and the businesses there during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s; shots of the Erie Canal from various vantage points and at differing times of the year; and pictures of most of Lockport's schools, churches, civil buildings, and industries.

The Oral Histories of Lockport, NY, collection is available online as part of the New York Heritage Digital Collections. In conjunction with the Niagara County Historical Society, the oral histories were recorded between 1999 and 2006 by Dave Marmon, Bob Wills, John Hall, Dave Dickenson, Pat Tracy, and Ken Boyd. The 56 individuals interviewed were born between 1899 and 1960, and they reminisce about daily life during the 20th century in and around Lockport, NY, discussing such topics as education, occupations, and local businesses.

New York Heritage Digital Collections



Visiting Us

If you are planning to visit us, note that the Local History Room on Floor 3 can be accessed any time the library is open. We have 2 microfilm scanners (purchased through the Verizon Media Community Benefit Fund for Lockport at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo) for public use. Printouts are $0.15 each. Text and images from microfilm and microfiche can also be saved to a USB drive or sent as an email attachment. Availability is on a first come, first served basis. Time is limited to 30 minutes if others are waiting to use the readers. Your library card is needed to log in to the microfilm machines. Guest passes are available for out-of-towners. 

Other Local Resources
We are not a specialized historical library, although the local history collection is important to us. We recommend that you also consider consulting other resources such as:

The History Center of Niagara County
215 Niagara Street
Lockport, New York 14094
(716) 434-7433

Niagara County Historian's Office
139 Niagara Street
Lockport, New York 14094
(716) 439-7324

Niagara County Genealogical Society
215 Niagara Street
Lockport, New York 14094
(716) 433-1033

Lockport City Clerk's Office
(for birth and death certificates)
One Locks Plaza
Lockport, New York 14094
(716) 439-6676

History of the City of Lockport, NY

History of the Town of Lockport, NY

Niagara County Historical Society's Bicentennial Moments: Articles on Niagara County's Rich History

The following books about the history of Niagara County, which are available onlline, may be of interest:

Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Niagara County, New York. (1892)

History of Niagara County, N.Y. (1878)

Landmarks of Niagara County, New York. (1897)


The following architectural survey of Lockport may be of interest:

City of Lockport, Niagara County, NY - 2011 Reconnaissance Level Historic Resources Survey


NYS Historic Newspapers:   Niagara County newspapers

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