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About The Society

Western New York's strategic location on the Great Lakes has made it both a terminus and a gateway of migration. It was first settled 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 all over Europe. Many remained in the area and have been followed in recent years by immigrants from all over 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. Its focus is on the eight Western New York counties - Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Wyoming, Orleans, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany - which today comprise the area of the original Holland Land Company purchase.

Society Objectives

- To collect and preserve available records of early settlers in the eight Western New York counties.
- To make these records available for research.
- To further genealogical knowledge and research.
- To foster awareness of record preservation by government agencies.

Recent News and Events


  • 08/01/2015: Well-Known Author and International Family History Expert Lisa Alzo To Be Featured Speaker at the 2015 WNYGS Fall Luncheon & Lecture

    WNYGS Alzo Lecture

  • 01/15/2015: Society Announces 2015 Member Meeting Schedule and Topics

  • 01/01/2015: 2014 Society Election Results Announced


  • 12/01/2014: Updated WNYGS Library Catalog Is Now Available

  • 11/01/2014: WNYGS Launches the Veterans Memory Initiative, a month-long local campaign in support of the Library of Congress's Veterans History Project

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