The Town of Niagara Historian's Office is available as a resource for local history. New York State law requires each town supervisor and village mayor to appoint a historian to promote the history and heritage of the community; maintain and preserve the archives; and to advise local officials, boards and residents on issues related to the history of the community.
The Town Historian's Office is open by appointment and a date and time can be scheduled via email or phone.
What's in the Archives
The Town of Niagara Historian's Office is currently preparing detailed listings of items in the archives. The inventory will be added as a link to this page once it becomes available.
Contents of the Town of Niagara Historian’s Office include:
• Subject files - with files related to businesses, civic clubs, organizations, etc.
• Obituary files – 1,000s of obits of former residents since the 1980s have been printed out and filed in binders alphabetically by surname and then given name. Digital copies have been archived since April 2016 and can be emailed.
• Birth, Marriage, and Death records – Town Clerks office retains those
• Cemetery records – The original records for Witmer Cemetery are gone. Headstone reading, maps, and information gathered over the years are available. Currently working on a database to catalog information as it becomes available. Some other cemeteries in the area have been digitized, and the historian can help with those.
• General historical reference books - State, County and Local, People and Military.
• Scrapbooks – 2016-current that contain Town of Niagara news and events
• Town of Niagara board meeting minutes – ledgers from 1812 to 1939
• U.S. Census - data from 1810 to 1910 printed out and stored in binders. Both federal and state censuses are available. Some are indexed, some are not.
• Family group files - files on 100s of Town of Niagara residents.
• Photographs – very few photos in the collection.
• School pictures – Student/Classroom pictures-some identified, some not.
• Tax Assessment records – from 1819 up through 1960
• Maps - Periodic development maps, and atlases. Town and Niagara County.
• Computer resources - There is an ongoing effort to index and digitize many of the Historian's Office records. The system can be used to assist in information searches.
A Note About Genealogical Research: The research library, including cemetery listings, obituaries and family files, is available for visitors to conduct their own genealogical research. We are happy to assist you conduct your research and locate files, however due to limited resources and personnel we are unable to conduct extensive genealogical research for you beyond looking up a name or two. We appreciate your understanding.
Town Historian Pete Ames
The Town Historian's Office maintains a vast collection of significant historical information and documents related to the Town of Niagara which was formed in 1812.
Town of Niagara Community Center
7000 Lockport Road
West Entrance (far end of the building towards Military Road)
Niagara Falls, New York 14304
Historian's Office Open for Research
By appointment: Email firstname.lastname@example.org. or call (716) 297-4429. Requests for info may be sent to the Town Historian's attention at 7105 Lockport Road, or via e-mail.
Pete Ames was appointed as Town of Niagara historian in April of 2016. He has lived in the area all of his life, and has been involved in preserving local history over the last 20 years. He served as chairperson of several organizations such as the Niagara County Genealogical Society, Friends of the Local History Department at the Niagara Falls Public Library, and as the secretary on the board of the Oakwood Cemetery for 9 years.
Since his appointment, he sorted the contents of the vast collection of Town of Niagara ephemera that had been in storage.
Supervisor Lee Wallace gave him permission to move the items in to the conference room at the Town community center. Once sorted, Pete inventoried the materials and put them in assorted files, cabinets, and shelving units. He incorporated his own collection of books, and other resource materials in to the mix. He hopes that people from the Town of Niagara and from elsewhere will utilize the collection to learn more about this area, and the people who have lived here over the last 200 some years. The local history room is located next to Pete's office that he shares with Senior Program Director, Joe Proietti. Pete is happy to meet with anyone by appointment. He is usually there in the mornings, but can be available just about any day or time to show people what is available. He has the capabilities of making photo copies or to scan documents. Please email him at the above address or give him a call and he will be glad to meet with you.