Welcome! The History Center is requiring that all visitors continue to wear masks inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture. Our visitors include young audiences and others who are unable to be vaccinated. We appreciate your respect and awareness in following our Health & Safety Protocols


Individuals or families with ancestors from Tompkins County are welcome to visit our Research Library to peruse our Genealogy Family Files, cemetery records, death and marriage notices, the rest of our collection of county records, directories, and the HistoryForge database which contains City of Ithaca census records from the 19th and 20th centuries.

In addition to our other genealogy resources family files are available for research in our Local History Research Library.

Individuals interested in researching family histories outside of Tompkins County are encouraged to use the Local History & Genealogy resources compiled by the Tompkins County Public Library.  

Local Genealogical Resources

Individuals pursuing genealogical research or interested in getting started are also invited to attend meetings of the Tompkins County Genealogical Society. A group of passionate individuals pursuing their own family histories and sharing their successes and roadblocks along the way.

Genealogy Resources in our Archival Collections

  • Family Genealogy Files - Over 2,000 Tompkins County Files 
  • Individual Family Genealogies - Bound volumes
  • Obituary Listings - Many newspaper indexes and clippings dating from 1866
  • Cemetery Listings - Some cemeteries in Tompkins County, Tompkins County gravestone inscriptions, Some cemeteries of Between-the-lakes country (Portions of Seneca, Schuyler, & Tompkins Counties) by Jesse Howell Finch, Gravestone inscriptions of individual cemeteries
  • Deeds and other legal papers
  • Death and marriage notices: death and marriage notices 1870-1890 from Tompkins County by Nancy Greene Young; Marriage and Death Notices 1827-1885 from Tompkins County Newspapers by Mary Smith Jackson
  • Census Records: 1790 and 1825 abstract of New York State census, 1850 federal census, 1860 and 1870 indexes to federal census
  • HistoryForge - Digitized census records for 1900-1940 (City of Ithaca only)
  • Ithaca City Directories: 1864-1989 (Ithaca only), 1868, 1872, 1892 (includes other Tompkins County towns)
  • Scrapbooks - Over 400

Access to the archival collections is free to all Tompkins County residents, $10/day fee for out of county researchers. Contact our archivist at with any questions about our holdings. Or schedule an appointment in to visit the Research Library


Beginning on September 10, 2021 all users of The History Center's Research Library will need to show proof of vaccination to be allowed into the space.  Proof of vaccination may include a CDC issued card or a New York State Excelsior Pass.

Physical Address

Located inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture

110 North Tioga Street

(On the Ithaca Commons) 

Ithaca NY, 14850 USA

Gayogo̱hó:nǫ' Territory


Exhibit Hall Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm - CLOSED Sun-Tues

Cornell Local History Research Library & Archives - By appointment only. Please contact


Email: Refer to Contact page for individual emails, General inquiries to

Phone: 607-273-8284


Find us on social media @tompkinshistory

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