About Us

Greetings from Buffalo, N.Y. Undated postcard, ca. 1935, from the collection of the webmaster.

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”  –Neil Gaiman

In my day job, I’m a librarian, but BuffaloResearch.com is an entirely independent, volunteer, on-my-own-time, on-my-own-dime hobby. All opinions, errors, and omissions are my own.

What I do here is pretty simple: find stuff that other people put online that supports Buffalo, NY local history, architectural, and genealogical research. Then I organize the links and explain them. I have no old stuff of my own to share: no maps, no city directories, no vital records, etc. Though I did buy the postcard at the top of this page just so I could scan and use it at this site.

My geographic scope is primarily the City of Buffalo and secondarily the County of Erie. I also opinionate every now and then at the blog side of the site.

BuffaloResearch.com started out as Roots at Buffalo Free-Net in December 1993 and has been continuously online ever since. Roots was one of the first genealogy websites in the world. As far as I know, it is second only to Rootsweb, also founded in 1993. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you are looking at Buffalo’s oldest surviving website of any kind.

Back then, if you wanted to start what we now call a website, you had to mail in a paper request. Here’s the original application form for a Special Interest Group (SIG) called Roots, submitted by founder Richard Prem, and the date Jim Gerland approved it. Free-Net itself was only two months old at the time.

Roots application form, 1993
First page of two-page application to Buffalo Freenet to establish Roots, 1993

Back then, I didn’t have a graphical browser or the ability to save screenshots or edit image files. I had to print out the home page to save a copy of it.

Printout of original Roots homepage
Original homepage of Roots at Buffalo Freenet, captured some time after December 1993

At the invitation of Richard Prem, I came on board in 1996 and took over Roots. After one HTML class, I began writing code by hand and have been been a self-taught webmaster ever since, which is probably obvious, given the primitive design of this site.

Screenshot of the first iteration of this website
Roots as it appeared in October 1996, courtesy of the Wayback Machine.
The URL and email address are, of course, defunct.

On October 14, 2001, I bought the BuffaloResearch.com domain name, moved all of the Roots content over, and built it into what you see today. Buffalo Free-Net closed down some time after 2007.