• April 26

    Family History Online
    Join us in Dunkirk for a full day seminar. Cost: $25 includes buffet lunch. More info
  • May 8

    Arbor Day
    The City of Jamestown will be co-hosting an Arbor Day celebration at the Fenton Mansion at 1:30 PM. All are welcome to attend!
  • May 14

    Brown Bag Lecture Series
    Topic: Lawson Boating Heritage Center.
    Come hear about an important part of Jamestown's history during the lunch hour. Noon to 1 PM. Donations encouraged. Meets the 2nd Wednesday of the month April through October at the Fenton Mansion.
  • May 22

    Happy Birthday to the Fenton!
    It's our 50th year and we are ready to celebrate. All are invited to a gala dinner with music, dancing and an engaging speaker. More details to follow.
  • Starting May 31

    Walking tours of Jamestown
    Beginning the last Saturday in May through the last Saturday in September the Fenton will lead a series of four rotating tours. Tours include Jamestown's Lake View Ave, the Old Northside(our current Downtown area), Jamestown's Hidden Alleys and Jamestown Early Industry. The Industry, Northside and Hidden Alleys tours meet at the Fenton History Center at 12:45 PM on the Saturday of the tour. The Lake View Ave. tour meets at the corner of Buffalo St. and Lake View Ave. by the cemetery office.Tours begin at 1 PM. Cost: $10 for potential members, $5 for members
  • June 7

    Archaeology at the Fenton Mansion
    This summer's exhibit reveals the discoveries of the past two summers of excavation work on the Fenton's Walnut Grove property. Many artifacts, many stories. The exhibit will teach about historical archaeology, the Fenton's lifestyle and what has been found so far. Through September 27, 2014
  • July 14-18

    Camp Brown - A Call to Arms...Life as a Civil War recruit
    Students in grades 4-8 will experience the life of a Civil War private preparing to march into history. Limited space, 1-4 pm each afternoon, please register early, $50 fee.
  • July 28-August 1

    Jr. History Detectives Camp
    Connecting our City's past to today. Subject to be announced. For grades 1-3. Limited space, 9-noon, please register early, $50 fee.
  • August 9

    Fenton's Old Fashion Day
    10 am to 5 pm – Free admission to the festival and the museum. Experience our hometown's living history to life. Many crafts & games for kids, a variety of food vendors, modern crafters, and much more!
  • August 11-15

    History Detectives Camp
    Connecting to our City's past and how it affects us now. Subject to be announced. For grades 4-7. Limited space, 1-4 pm each afternoon, please register early, $50 fee.
  • September 20-21

    Blue and Gray 2014
    Members of the 9th Cavalry NY volunteers and the 155th NY Volunteers will be encamped at the Fenton Mansion and welcoming the community to learn about the life and times of the Union soldier. Sat. 10-4, Sun 10-3.
  • October 4 & 11

    9th Annual "Saints and Sinners" Lake View Cemetery Tours
    From 3 pm until 8 pm stepping off throughout the day and evening. At historic Lake View Cemetery, corner of Buffalo St. and Lakeview Ave., Jamestown. Horse drawn carriage and walking tours available. The tour will uncover some of the more than 43,000 personal stories at Jamestown's beautiful Lake View Cemetery. Be ready to learn some interesting information about Jamestown and Lake View Cemetery. Presale: $10 for adults, $2 for children & youth; half price for Fenton History Center members. Carriage rides: $18 all seats, Reservations are required; please call 664-6256 to reserve your tickets and time slot. Call early as the later tours fill up fast!
  • October 12

    Mausoleum Tours and More at Lake View Cemetery
    A guided behind-the-scenes tour of a number of the elegant mausoleums and gravesites in Jamestown's 1859 cemetery. Costumed actors tell the family stories. Light refreshments follow the tour. 8 PM. The cost is $20 for potential members, $15 for members. Youth and children are $5. Reservations are requested; please call 664-6256 to reserve your tickets.
  • November 25

    35th Annual Holiday exhibit - Members Only Sneak Preview
    4-7 PM. New members welcome, join and see the exhibit for FREE.
  • November 28

    35th Annual Holiday exhibit opens to the public. through January 19, 2015


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Research Resources

Research Center Hours
Monday through Friday
10 am to 4 pm
Saturday by appointment only
Phone (716) 664-6256
With the support of a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Fenton History Center Library is making its 7000+ volume card catalog available to the world via the Internet. The digitized catalog is being expanded every week. If you do not find what you are searching for, email or call us for information or check back next week for more entries.
Search Library Catalog

The Library at the Fenton History Center supports local history and genealogical research. The 5000 volume reference library concentrates on Jamestown and southern Chautauqua County, but covers all the County. Some materials for research in Cattaraugus County, NY and Warren County, PA are available. The collection also supports some research in areas from which Chautauqua County families migrated such as New England, Sweden and Italy. It is growing to support members' research in other areas of the country. See Genealogy.

The Library Collection is arranged by the Dewey Decimal System. It is an open stack library with a dictionary catalog so it can be used when a staff member is not on duty. The collection includes printed family genealogies, many of the standard reference sources for genealogy and many local history books. The library collection is a non-circulating collection. Our volunteer genealogy staff will be happy to assist researchers and guide them through the collection. The Library is open more hours than the volunteers are on duty. You may call ahead to determine if a volunteer will be available for the time of your visit. It may be possible to schedule an appointment with a volunteer if the researcher is planning a visit during a limited time. Please contact the Fenton History Center in advance if you need to arrange such a visit.

Highlights of the Collection

There is a full run of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, microfilm of the federal censuses for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties, NY, and Warren County, PA, New York State censuses for Chautauqua County, cemetery inscriptions for most Chautauqua County cemeteries, a card file of marriages and deaths extracted from 19th century newspapers and Jamestown City Directories from 1888 to the present.

Family files, filed by surname, include items sent to the library, letters of inquiry, and other information that has been collected. A card index to surnames included in each file is available.

Special Collections


This collection includes original documents, scrapbooks, account books, diaries, letters, school records and similar items pertaining to Jamestown, NY and the surrounding area, to local families, local businesses and local events. Appointments for using these items are recommended but researchers may be assisted if staff is available at the time of the visit.

For appointments or further information contact the Fenton History Center.


The photograph collection includes local scenes-businesses, residences, transportation, etc.- and local people. Appointments are recommended so that the staff can search for specific subjects before the researcher's arrival. Contact the Fenton History Center for further information on services and fees and availability of specific subjects.

Postal Cards

This collection includes postal cards of local scenes from Jamestown and Chautauqua County covering the past 100 years. Appointments or inquiries are recommended so research can be done before the researcher's arrival to determine if a specific subject is available.


The Fenton Mansion, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a landmark, lending distinction and elegance to the passing scene. In its continuing mission as the center for education and preservation of a unique local heritage, it is a valuable cultural institution of the city of Jamestown, New York.

Fenton History Center
Karen E. Livsey, Archivist
67 Washington Street
Jamestown, NY 14701
Phone (716) 484-4170
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