Rochester (NY) Public Library’s Local History & Genealogy Division holds the largest single collection of materials about the history of Rochester and surrounding areas. Our 500+ cubic feet of special collections includes more than 10,000 photographs and postcards, 3,000 maps, 2,000 school yearbooks, 350 scrapbooks, a trade catalog collection representing more than 200 local businesses, a variety of ephemera and pamphlet collections, a curated newspaper clippings collection, microfilm of local newspapers dating back to the early 1800s, and city and suburban directories from 1827 to the present, as well as a wealth of genealogy books, indexes, journals, databases, and other family history resources. Highlights include original issues of Frederick Douglass’ anti-slavery newspaper, The North Star, records of the Rochester Women’s Educational and Industrial Union, and personal papers of luminaries such as Susan B. Anthony and Nathaniel Rochester. Many of these materials have been digitized and are available through the library’s website.
Rochester is a city on the southern shore of Lake Ontario in the western portion of the U.S. state of New York, and the seat of Monroe County.
The city’s population (210,565) was the state’s third largest — after New York City and Buffalo — at the time of the 2010 census. Rochester is the center of a larger metropolitan area that encompasses and extends beyond Monroe County, and comprises Genesee County, Livingston County, Ontario County, Orleans County and Wayne County. This area, which is part of the Western New York region, had a population of 1,079,671 at the time of the 2010 Census. A Census estimate of July 1, 2012, raised that number to 1,082,284.
Rochester was one of America’s first boomtowns, and rose to prominence as the site of many flour mills along the Genesee River, and then as a major hub of manufacturing. Several of the region’s universities (notably the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology) have renowned research programs. In addition, Rochester is the site of many important inventions and innovations in consumer products. The Rochester area has been the birthplace to such corporations as Kodak, Bausch & Lomb, Gleason and Xerox that conduct extensive research and manufacturing in the fields of industrial and consumer products. Until 2010, the Rochester metropolitan area was the second-largest regional economy in New York State, according to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, after the New York City metropolitan area. Rochester’s GMP has since ranked just below that of Buffalo, New York, while still exceeding it in per-capita income.
Kodak is headquartered in Rochester N.Y.
The 25th edition of the Places Rated Almanac rated Rochester as the “most livable city” in 2007, among 379 U.S. metropolitan areas. In 2010 Forbes rated Rochester as the third-best place to raise a family. In 2012 Kiplinger rated Rochester as the fifth-best city for families, citing low cost of living, top public schools, and a low jobless rate.
Of the 19 places in the United States named Rochester at least eight were named directly after Rochester, New York, having been founded or settled by former residents. These include Rochester, Indiana; Rochester, Texas; Rochester, Iowa; Rochester, Kentucky; Rochester, Michigan; Rochester, Minnesota; Rochester, Nevada; and Rochester, Ohio.