Helping others isn’t a chore; it is one of the greatest gifts there is.
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 research into Buffalo, NY local history, architecture, and genealogy. 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 Greetings postcard just so I could 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 believe you are looking at Buffalo’s oldest 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: Dec. 28, 1993. Free-Net itself was only two months old at the time.
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.
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 unsophisticated look and feel of this site.
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.
If you’d like to meet other Buffalo history buffs, you’ll find us at the BuffaloHistory page at Groups.io.