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Western New York Historian Project

About the Project

What is the Western New York Historian Project?

In the summer of 2020, we reached out to the village, town, city, and county historians of the eight counties of WNY and asked them to participate in the society's Western New York Historian Project. We did this by emailing or mailing a questionnaire to each of the historians for whom we had an email or address listed. We hoped they would share with us their response to our questions.

What is the purpose of this Project?

 

We wanted to learn from the historians, in their own words, about

  • their job and role as the guardians of their municipality's history

  • the historic records and collections within their village, town, city or county

  • the means they use to provide this information to the community at large

  • their goals, as historian, for the next four years, and

  • how, and in what ways, WNYGS could help them in achieving these goals.

image of Genesee County History Department's Research Library in Batavia New York

Image: Genesee County History Department Research Library (Batavia, NY)

WNY Historian Project Chair:

 

Marie-Cecile Tidwell, PhD 

historianproject@wnygs.org

What have we learned so far?

 

The WNY historians are very dedicated and loyal keepers of history. Some are new to the task, while others have been in their role for as many as 45 years. They often fulfill their duties with little or no pay; even office and storage space can be limited, if any. Some historians work in conjunction with the county and town historical museums and societies, as well as with local government officials. Municipality websites may have sections devoted to local history and often include material presented by their local historians.

What is our goal as a result of the Historian Project?

 

Our goal is to share with our membership what we have learned through this project in order to help them with their family research of their WNY ancestors. It is our hope that in addition to learning more about the history of the eight counties of WNY, our membership, as well as others in the community, will volunteer with these local historians and societies in the preservation of these important and often irreplaceable pieces of family and local history.

The mission of the Western New York Genealogical Society is to preserve public and historical records, and to encourage interest, knowledge, and research in the WNY region's rich genealogical heritage. This is a mission we share with all local historians across WNY.

image of map showing Western New York and county founding dates

 

Events of Interest In Western New York

 

Genesee County:

Exhibit: "98 Years Since the Sun Went Out"

Location: Holland Land Company Office, 131 West Main Street
Batavia, NY 14020

Run Dates: November 2023 to April 2024

Description:

  • "Come to the Holland Land Office Museum and see a snapshot of what living in Genesee County in 1920s was like and the commotion around January 24, 1925, the last time we witnessed the total solar eclipse in our area. Go back in time and see what people wore, what our community looked like, where people shopped and worked, their home lives, and how they saw and reacted to the eclipse."

  • "A revamp of the exhibit will occur in January which will open on February 9th, 2024, which will include even more artifacts and a greater experience of what 1920s’ Genesee County and Batavia looked and felt like."

Click here for full exhibit information

 

Society-Published Historian Profiles 

Click title to download and view the PDF.

The Role of a Town Historian: "In Her Own Words"

WNYGS JOURNAL - Vol. 47, No. 4, p. 145-150

By Marie-Cecile O. Tidwell, PhD and

Jeanne Mest, Town of Sheldon Historian

Historic "Gems" of Genesee County

WNYGS JOURNAL - Vol. 48, No. 1, p. 7-12

By Marie-Cecile O. Tidwell, PhD

The Historians of Erie County

WNYGS JOURNAL - Vol. 48, No. 2, p. 52-56

By Marie-Cecile O. Tidwell, PhD

The Historians & Treasures of Cattaraugus County

WNYGS JOURNAL - Vol. 48, No. 3, p. 76-81

By Marie-Cecile O. Tidwell, PhD

Orleans County: Its Historians and Treasures

Western New York Genealogist, Vol. 49, No. 1, p. 13-16

by Marie-Cecile O. Tidwell, PhD 

Wyoming County: Its Historians and Treasures

Western New York Genealogist, Vol. 49, No. 2, p. 35-42

by Marie-Cecile O. Tidwell, PhD 

Allegany County: Its Historians and Treasures 

Western New York Genealogist, Vol. 49, No. 3, p. 52-56

by Marie-Cecile O. Tidwell, PhD

Niagara County: Its Historians and Treasures 

Western New York Genealogist, Vol. 50, No. 1, p. 13-20

by Marie-Cecile O. Tidwell, PhD

Chautauqua County: Its Historians and Treasures 

Western New York Genealogist, Vol. 50, No. 2, p. 32-40

by Marie-Cecile O. Tidwell, PhD

When you become a member, you'll receive this and other helpful content in The Western New York Genealogist.

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