New York County Resources

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This entry was originally written by Roger D. Joslyn, CG, FUGA, FGBS, FASG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the New York Family History Research series.
History of New York
New York Vital Records
Census Records for New York
Background Sources for New York
New York Maps
New York Land Records
New York Probate Records
New York Court Records
New York Tax Records
New York Cemetery Records
New York Church Records
New York Military Records
New York Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
New York Archives, Libraries, and Societies
New York Immigration
New York Naturalization
Ethnic Groups of New York
New York County Resources
Map of New York


Since 1919 New York has had a system of local historians who are appointed to collect and preserve old records. While each county, town, and village should have a historian, not all vacancies are always filled, and of those that are, the knowledge and helpfulness in answering inquiries varies. In most cases it is best to start with the county historian, whose office may contain original or transcribed county, church, cemetery, newspaper, and other material, and in some cases, specialized indexes to these and other types of records. See Directory of New York State County and Municipal Historians (n.p., 1991), available for $20 from Directory, RFD #2, Box 228, Bath, NY 14810. A list of county historians can be found at www.tier.net/~aphnys/cohistorians.html.

Publication of town records is not widespread, with the exception of those for Queens (including Nassau), Suffolk, and Westchester counties. Various items from town records have been presented in Tree Talks (see Periodicals). See also Harold R. Nestler, A Bibliography of New York State Communities: Counties, Towns, Villages (Port Washington, N.Y.: Ira J. Friedman, 1968).

Some New York counties have set up record centers or archives such as are found in Broome, Cayuga, Montgomery, Ontario, Rockland, Ulster, Warren, Washington, Westchester, and other counties. While most initial inquiries about records should be made with the county clerk and county Surrogate’s clerk, the information sought might actually now be housed in a county records center/archives. This practice will doubtless continue in New York, especially for older records.

All the counties in New York, past and present, are listed below. The first column indicates the map coordinates. The name of the county and the mailing address of the county clerk, who is in charge of deeds, mortgages, copies of marriage records (1908–ca. 1935), divorces, court records, state censuses, and other records, is in the second column. The year the county was created follows and, where applicable, the parent county or counties from which it was formed. The date the earliest deed was recorded is in the fourth column. County deeds and mortgages not found with the county clerk are also indicated here. The last column shows the date of the earliest county Surrogate Court record, followed by the mailing address of the county Surrogate’s clerk, if not the same as that of the county clerk. Some counties have copies or abstracts of earlier deeds and wills from parent counties.

It should be kept in mind that the names of the parent county or counties are those from which the new county was first formed in the year indicated. Many changes took place later, at which times whole towns or parts of them were annexed to or from the newer county. For example, Yates County was created in 1823 from part of Ontario County; the following year, two towns were added to Yates from Steuben County. For the specifics of other changes, consult gazetteers, county directories, and county histories.


Map County County Address Date Formed Parent County(ies) Deeds Surrogate's Court
Q15 Albany 16 Eagle St., Rm. 128, Albany 12207-1019 1683 original16561787, 16 Eagle St., Albany 12207-1019
C4 Allegany 7 Court St., Belmont 14813-1039 1806 Genesee18071807
H2 Bronx 851 Grand Concourse , Rm. 118, Bronx 10451-2937 1914 New York (Westchester)1914*1914, 851 Grand Concourse, Rm. 317
* At the City Register’s Office, 1932 Arthur Ave., Rm 301, Bronx 10457
S11 Broome 44 Hawley St./P.O. Box 2062, Binghamton 13902-2062 1806 Tioga18061806, P.O. Box 1766, Binghamton 13901-1766
C3 Cattaraugus 303 Court St., Little Valley 14755-1028 1808 Genesee18171817
Cattaraugus had no county government until 1817. Its records were first kept in Buffalo, but they were destroyed in 1813 when the British burned the courthouse. In 1812 Cattaraugus was annexed to Allegany County, and from 1814—17 county records for the eastern towns of Olean and Ischua were kept in Belmont and for the western town of Perry, in Buffalo.
Q10 Cayuga 160 Genesee St., Auburn 13021 1799 Onondaga17991799, 153 Genesee St., Auburn 13021-3471
Charlotte (see Washington)
C1 Chautauqua 1 N. Erie St./P.O. Box 170, Mayville 14757-0170 1808 Genesee18111811, 3 N. Erie St., Mayville 14757
Chautauqua was attached to Niagara County until 1811, but records kept in Buffalo were burned by the British in 1813.
S10 Chemung 210 Lake St. , P.O. Box 588, Elmira 14902-0588 1836 Tioga18361836, 224 Lake St. , P.O. Box 588, Elmira 14902-0588
R12 Chenango 5 Court St., Norwich 13815 1798 Herkimer/Tioga17981798
L16 Clinton 137 Margaret St., Plattsburgh 12901-2933 1788 Washington17881790
R16 Columbia 560 Warren St., Hudson 12534 1786 Albany17861787, 401 Union St., Hudson 12534
Cornwall 1683 original
Located in Maine, this county was transferred to Massachusetts in 1686, but no longer exists in name. See Collections of the Maine Historical Society, first series, vol. 5 (1857).
Q11 Cortland 46 Greenbush St., Ste. 101, Cortland 13045-3702 1808 Onondaga18081808, 46 Greenbush St., Ste. 301, Cortland 13045-2725
Cumberland 1766 Albany
Disallowed the year after it was formed, Cumberland was re-established in 1768 and ceased to exist 1777—78 when Vermont declared itself a republic.
S13 Delaware P.O. Box 426, Delhi 13753-0426 1797 Ulster/Otsego17971797, 3 Court St., Delhi 13753
Dukes 1683 original
Dukes County was annexed to Massachusetts in 1692 (see Massachusetts).
T15 Dutchess 22 Market St., Poughkeepsie 12601 1683 original17181752, 10 Market St., Poughkeepsie 12601
Almost uninhabited until 1701, Dutchess was administered by Ulster County from that time until at least 1713. Some older records, including marriages, 1908—35; state and federal censuses; tax records, 1854—1954; and the “Ancient Documents” series are at the County Records Center and Archives, 27 High St., Poughkeepsie 12601.
B3 Erie 25 Delaware Ave., Buffalo 14202 1821 Niagara18081800, 92 Franklin St., Buffalo 14202
In 1813 the British burned the courthouse in Buffalo, then the seat of Niagara County, destroying records that also included Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties.
M15 Essex 7559 Court St. , P.O. Box 247, Elizabethtown 12932-0247 1799 Clinton17991803, 100 Court St., P.O. Box 505, Elizabethtown 12932-0505
L14 Franklin 355 W. Main St./P.O. Box 70, Malone 12953-0070 1808 Clinton18081809, 355 W. Main St., Malone 12953
P14 Fulton 223 W. Main St., P.O. Box 485, Johnstown 12095-0485 1838 Montgomery18381838, 223 W. Main St., Johnstown 12095
A4 Genesee P.O. Box 379, Batavia 14021-0379 1802 Ontario18031805, 1 W. Main St., P.O. Box 462, Batavia 14020-0462
Gloucester 1770 Cumberland
This county ceased to exist when Vermont declared itself a republic 1777—78.
R15 Greene P.O. Box 446, Catskill 12414-0446 1800 Ulster/Albany18001803, 320 Main St., P.O. Box 469, Catskill 12414-0469
O14 Hamilton Rt. 8, Box 204, Lake Pleasant 12108 1816 Montgomery17971861, White Birch Lane, P.O. Box 780, Indian Lake 12842-0780
Hamilton remained attached to Montgomery County until 1838 and then briefly to Fulton County. Earlier surrogates’ records are evidently in Montgomery, Fulton, and St. Lawrence counties. See Tree Talks 20 (1980): 166.
P13 Herkimer County Office Bldg., 109 Mary St., Ste. 111, Herkimer 13350-2923 1791 Montgomery1804, 1791–98*1792, 301 N. Washington St., P.O. Box 5550, Herkimer 13350-5550
*Deeds 1791—98 for what became Oneida County are in Utica.
M11 Jefferson 175 Arsenal St., Watertown 13601-2522 1805 Oneida18051805
J2 Kings 360 Adams St., Rm. 189, Brooklyn 11201-3712 1683 original1683*1787, 2 Johnson St., Rm. 109, Brooklyn 11201
* At the City Register’s Office, 210 Joralemon St., Rm 2, Brooklyn 11201. Many Surrogate’s files before about 1870 are now at the NYC Archives and on microfilm at the Family History Library.
N12 Lewis 7660 State St., P.O. Box 232, Lowville 13367-0232 1805 Oneida18051805, 7660 State St., Lowville 13367
B5 Livingston 6 Court St., Geneseo 14454-1048 1821 Genesee/Ontario18211821, 2 Court St., Geneseo 14454
B5 Livingston 6 Court St., Geneseo 14454-1048 1821 Genesee/Ontario18211821, 2 Court St., Geneseo 14454
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