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. IMLS logo
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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) 664-6256
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