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About the Local History Collection

The Library owns an ever-growing historical and genealogical collection of the City, the Niagara River and Falls, and the Niagara Peninsula. The wide variety of rare material in these collections - including guidebooks, atlases, local histories, magazines, maps, photographs, art reproductions, newspapers, clippings, government reports and City Council minutes - are used extensively by staff and the public. 

These materials can be viewed at the Victoria Avenue library. Due to the rarity and nature of these materials they are not available for loan and cannot be borrowed through the InterLibrary Loan system.

Immigration Records

Immigration records help the family historian to understand the movements of their ancestry as they relocated to different parts of the world. The Archives of Ontario has acquired 23 volumes of immigration records from the Butler Library at Columbia University with financial assistance from the Friends of the Archives of Ontario. While at Columbia they were known as the Toronto Emigration Office records, or more informally as the Hawke Papers. 

Niagara Falls Public Library has acquired microfilm copies of these records using funds from the Casino Niagara Cares Collection grant. They can be viewed on our microfilm readers at the Victoria Avenue Library.

They have been designated RG 11-1 to RG 11-7. A.B. Hawke (1793-1867) was Chief Emigrant Agent for Upper Canada / Canada West 1833-1864 and was instrumental in establishing services to assist immigrants in Upper Canada. These official government records, which include Hawke's letterbooks, date from 1831 - 1892. Other highlights include assistance registers, an inspection record of British Home Children, and an emigrant hospital register from the Irish immigration following the Great Potato Famine. The letterbooks in particular fill a gap in the historical record of early 19th century immigration to Ontario.