Genealogy Collection

Request for Local Yearbooks

The Steele Memorial Library has been collecting yearbooks from the five area high schools since 1909. They have been very popular with genealogists and others ever since. Unfortunately there are several years that we do not have. Since they can no longer be purchased, we have to rely on donations of existing copies. Below you will find a list of the years we do not have. If you have a copy of any of these years that you are willing to donate, we would be very grateful. Please contact Sherry or Maggie at 733-8603.

To view digitized yearbooks online click here:  NYHeritage Digital yearbook Collections

We need:

Elmira Free Academy: 1910, 1982, 1994. 

Southside High School: 1960,1963, 1986, 1987,1991-1994.  

Thomas A. Edison: 1979, 2015.

Horseheads High School: 1920-1946,1948-1955,1963,1976,1979,1981,1992.           

Notre Dame:  2005

Catholic High 1940, 1942-1947,1949-1956.

Any elementary or junior high school yearbooks from the area.

[UPDATED August 6, 2018]

The Microfilm Collection 

These resources are located in the Microforms Department. After use, place film in the designated box (please do not return the films to the drawers, the Staff will do so.)

  • New York State County Histories
  • Elmira City Directories: 1860, 1868, 1876-1877, 1886-1975
  • NYS Poorhouse Records
  • Local Newspapers: 1835 to present
  • New York Times: 1851 to present
  • U.S. Federal Census:
    • 1790 thru 1880 for all states 1890 (special census only)
    • 1900 – 1930 New York and Pennsylvania only
    • New York State Census: Chemung County: 1855, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925 (the 1825 and 1835 Chemung County NYS Census are in book format)
  • Mortality Schedules:
    • 1850 thru 1880 New York
    • 1850 thru 1880 Pennsylvania
  • Corbin Collection: New England Research
  • Cemeteries of Bradford County, PA
  • Early Catholic Church Records
    • 1848 to 1910 Includes most Chemung County churches and some from Addison, Waverly, Trumansburg and Watkins Glen.

The Microfiche Collection 

  • Upstate New York Vital Statistics Index. Births, 1880-1936, Marriages 1880-1961, Deaths 1880-1961.
  • Periodicals: ask Library Staff for assistance
  • Cemetery Records of Steuben County, New York
  • US Federal Census Index 1870: New York and Pennsylvania (partial)

Card Catalog:

We have some unique indexes available in our printed card catalog:

  • Local History File
  • Chemung County Census: 1855 New York State Census
  • Obituary file: 1982 – August 1996
  • Surname file: Name Index and queries of individuals researching

Genealogy Books

Some of the subjects that our books cover: Immigrants and Emigrants, Pension Rolls, American Quakers, Huguenots, Palatine families, Mayflower families, New England Colonies, Heraldry and Crests, American Revolution, Civil War, Passenger Lists, … and numerous other subjects.

Some of the States that are covered in our collection: (various information given) New England States, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and more. We also have some Canadian information.

Books in the Genealogical reference section of the library are open to the public (all of the materials are for reference use in the DEPARTMENT ONLY and DO NOT CIRCULATE).

General Genealogy Texts 

  • Numerous “how-to” genealogy books
  • Local Marriage & Death records (taken from local newspaper)
  • Local Histories
  • Cemeteries of Chemung County, NY (most)
  • Chemung County Historical Society Journals with Index
  • Family Histories
  • State Histories (various states)
  • Military Histories (Indian Wars, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, World War I & II)
  • War of the Rebellion, Series I, II, III, IV, & Index
  • Elmira City Directories:1857 to present (some early editions missing)
  • Corning City Directories: 1905 to present (some editions missing)
  • Local High School Yearbooks (not a complete collection)
  • New England Historical & Genealogical Register with Index
  • New York Genealogical & Biographical Record with Index
  • DAR Lineage Books with Index (not complete)
  • New York Times Index: 1851 to present
  • U.S. Federal Census Indexes: 1790 – 1850 for all states (some may vary)  1860 & 1870 – New York and Pennsylvania only

Local Cookbooks

Here is a link to all the local cookbooks in our collection. We focus on Elmira, Chemung County, the Southern Tier, and the Northern Tier of PA. We accept donations of local cookbooks that we do not yet have. Local Cookbooks



Finding Aids to the Genealogy & Local History Collection

For Finding Aids, Lib Guides, and more research advice, go to:


UNDER CONSTRUCTION:Elmira and Chemung County History Calendar





Page Updated 201700612. MY.