Local History & Genealogy


The Genealogy Room is open to the public during all hours of Library operations. Access to the Local History Room is by appointment only. The backfiles of the Poughkeepsie Journal are available at the Reference Desk during normal operating hours.

Local History

The Local History Collection consists of materials documenting the history of Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County and adjoining areas within the Mid-Hudson Valley. The collection contains both published secondary and valuable primary source materials dating from the late 1700’s to date. This diverse collection includes maps, postcards and photographs, correspondence, records of local civic, social and fraternal organizations, histories of towns and villages, local government information, as well as information on local public and private schools (current and defunct).

Many materials in this collection can be searched via the OPAC, others through the use of a separate card catalog and several specialized finding aids.

Because many Local History items are unique, fragile, and/or valuable, physical access to this collection is restricted, generally requiring an appointment. Also, because this Room is not always staffed during regular library hours of operation it is strongly recommended that you call prior to making a visit especially if you require specialized assistance. Local History materials do not circulate or leave the Local History Room.

Note on Newspapers: The Library District owns a complete run, on microfilm, of the Poughkeepsie Journal (and antecedent titles) going back to 1785. The Library District also owns microfilm copy of a number of other local newspapers, published in the past but now defunct. All are available during regular library hours and their use does not require a Local History appointment. None of this material is indexed. In the past, Local History staff noted and collected articles of local interest, categorizing them under various subject headings. This practice, no longer continued, generally covered the time span 1940-1993. This effort was by no means exhaustive or comprehensive and should not be viewed as a substitute index. What remains of this collection can be accessed and viewed in the Local History Room.


Items that can be found within the Genealogy Collection include the following:

  • Federal Census (Print) Indexes for New York State. The census, on microfilm, can be viewed in the Library’s Periodicals Room. You can now search the Federal Census using our database HeritageQuest.
  • Obituary Indexes (names placed in local newspapers)
  • Bound family histories/genealogies
  • County & Town Histories & Biographical & Genealogical Records
  • Some Military & immigration records
  • Church Records
  • Periodicals including the “New England Historical & Genealogical Register”, “New York Genealogical & Biographical Record” and “The Dutchess”
  • Palatine & Huguenot Information

Many items available in the Genealogy Room are linked to the online catalog. Particular collection emphasis is placed on surnames/genealogies of families who settled in Dutchess County but a considerable amount of information can be found regarding families from other areas of the Mid-Hudson region as well as from greater New York State.

City and Town of Poughkeepsie residents may use our Ancestry.com subscription from home with their library cards. Others may come to one of our branches to search it using our ‘guest card’. We also have a very selective list of Internet resources compiled on our site as well.
Materials within the Genealogy Room do not circulate and are not loaned via interlibrary loan. Additionally, many items, due to their fragile nature, are subject to photocopying restrictions.

About Us

The Local History/Genealogy staff does entertain queries via telephone, mail and e-mail, regarding information contained within these collections. Due to staff limitations, however, involved research cannot be undertaken. If you wish to pose a question, please make it as specific as possible and include all pertinent background information. If requesting obituaries, please limit the number to three per request. If requiring an article(s) photocopied from one of the local newspapers, please provide the exact date the article(s) appeared. If this date is unknown, be aware that we will search a specified two-week/14 day period maximum. With all correspondence, even via e-mail, please remember to include your mailing address in the event that material relevant to your query is found and photocopied.