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Buffalo African-American

Funeral Program and Obituary Collection

Volume 1


This volume contains more than 3,000 funeral programs and newspaper obituaries.  The alphabetized funeral programs are filmed first.  The alphabetized index to the names appears on pages 5-32. The newspaper obituaries are filmed following the funeral programs.  The obituaries are from the Buffalo Challenger (1998, and Jan.-April 1999), the Buffalo Criterion (1998, and Jan.-April 1999), and the Buffalo News (1998 and 1999).  The obituaries are filmed in chronological order, by year, for each particular newspaper. 

*A list of collection titles in the “Buffalo Afro-American Collection” is on pages 34-35 of this introduction and index*


The Buffalo Genealogical Society of the African Diaspora (BGSAD) was founded in Buffalo, NY in 1997 by Sonia L. Walker and Robert N. Davis, Jr.  It was incorporated in the state of New York under New York Education Law in 1999. The focus of the organization has been that of an educational entity, encouraging and promoting the use of genealogy/family history as a tool for understanding the socio-historical context of people of African descent in the U.S.A.

The purpose of the collection is to preserve the biographical and historical information that is found in printed funeral programs from the African-American community.  The project evolved from a discussion about the photographic and biographical information that is generally found in the program that is distributed during funeral proceedings. The information holds great research potential for those involved in investigating and preserving family history and genealogical connections locally and nationwide. Discussion with representatives from other genealogical organizations (from numerous ethnic groups and religious denominations) revealed that preserving individual and family history in this form is a tradition that is unique among American ethnic groups. We concluded that the evidence of this tradition should be preserved. The insights that were gained from assembling Volume 1 will guide us as we move forward. The project is open-ended with future plans being developed that include placing the original materials on permanent loan at a public institution and developing a web-based searchable index. The main sources of material for Volume I of the project were individual contributions, with special thanks to Mr. Winfred Williams of Fast Press for the donation of his time and materials.  Contributions were made by various members of the organization in the form of time and effort in the solicitation, sorting, packaging, review and storage of the materials. This also included donated materials from their own collections.   Without the on going effort of the membership, the successful continuation of this project would not be possible.

Robert Davis, Jr. - 2002

Click here for an index of the names, and funeral programs that are held at the centre.


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