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. IMLS logo
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The Fenton History Center’s research center, located at 73 Forest Avenue in Jamestown, New York, supports local history and genealogical research. The 5000 volume reference library concentrates on Jamestown and southern Chautauqua County, but also includes a number of texts that pertain to the northeastern United States. Some of these materials focus on Cattaraugus County, New York and Warren County, Pennsylvania  and include New England migration records  and other passage records of  Swedish and Italian immigrants.

The library collection is arranged by the Dewey Decimal System and is considered to be “an open stack library”.  Its dictionary catalog allows the public and our members to search the texts unassisted. The collection also includes various 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 research  volunteers regularly assist its visitors. We suggest calling ahead to determine the availability of  our volunteers for assistance with detailed studies.  Scheduling a visit to the research center will ensure your study will be a top priority.  Please call the Fenton History Center and request its research center to schedule a visit.

Highlights of the Collection

A complete collection of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register is available, 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

Archives

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.

Photographs

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.  Please contact the Fenton History Center in regard to the availability of specific subjects.  Non-watermarked copies are available for sale for a fee of $10.

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.

Gift Shop

Discover various texts that can be utilized as references available for sale in-house and through our online gift shop.

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