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This page describes sources of genealogical data about Livingston County, New York families, including links to smaller localities in the county. New York-related pages show useful statewide sources. United States pages explain the terminology and contents of genealogical records.

Livingston County, New York
Map
Map of New York highlighting Livingston County
Location in the state of New York
Map of the U.S. highlighting New York
Location of New York in the U.S.
Facts
Founded March 28, 1805
County Seat Geneseo
Courthouse
Ny-livingston-ch.jpg
Address Livingston County Government Center
6 Court St, Rm 201
Geneseo, NY 14454
Livingston County Website

Contents

Historical Facts

Parent Counties

23 February 1821: Created from Genesee and Ontario counties.[1]

Neighboring Counties

Allegany · Genesee · Monroe · Ontario · Steuben · Wyoming

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

Resources

Bible Records

  • 1581–1917 New York, Family Bible Records at Ancestry– ($); Index. Database is a collection of genealogically important records taken from the Bibles of colony and state residents. Reveals the Bible's original owner, brief record of descendants,and a particular event such as birth or marriage as recorded in Bible.

Biography

Business Records and Commerce

Cemeteries

Cemetery records often reveal birth, death, relationship, military, and religious information.

Online Grave Transcripts Published Grave Transcripts County Cemetery Directories
Findagrave.com* Family History Library* Findagrave.com*
Interment.net* WorldCat* Tombstone Transcription Project*
Cemetery Site*   NYGenWeb Cemeteries*
New York Gravestones*   epodunk*
NYGenWeb Cemeteries*   Billion Graves*
Billion Graves*   Names in Stone*
Names in Stone*    
Linkpendium*    
Ancestry*    
   *See the New York Cemeteries page for details about each site.

Census

For information and tips on using and accessing online census records, see New York Census.

Federal

U.S. Census Mortality Schedules for New York, 1850-1880:

  • Available online at Ancestry ($).
  • Deaths are included for the 12 months prior to the census, 1849-50, 1859-60, 1869-70, and 1879-80 beginning 1 June and ending 31 May of the census year.[2]
  • Basic contents of the records include: Name, sex, age, color, marital status, place of birth, month of death, occupation, and cause of death. 1870 also has parents' birthplace. 1880 lists how long a resident of the county.
  • Also on FHL Films 1415128–42 which can be ordered through any Family History Center.
  • The 1890 Census is lost. For a substitute, see directories.
State
Source 1825 1835 1845 1855 1865 1875 1892 1905 1915 1925
Family History Library - - - Yes Yes Yes - - Yes Yes
FamilySearch Historical Records - - - - Yes Yes - - - -
New York State Library - - - Yes Yes Yes - - Yes Yes
Ancestry.com - - - - - - - - - -

New York State 1865 and 1875 Census Marriage, Mortality; and 1865 Soldier Mortality records:

  • Images available online at New York State Census, 1865 and New York State Census, 1875. Click on the link to go to the page, then click on the ‘Browse through images’ link and select your county, then select an ancestor's town and browse to the end of the population schedule until you find the Marriage, Mortality, and 1865 soldier mortality schedules.
  • Includes marriages and deaths for the 12 months prior to the census, ending 1 June of the census year.
  • Marriage entry content: Husband's name, wife's name, ages and previous marital status, month and day and place of marriage, and church or civil ceremony.
  • Death entry content: Name, age, sex, color, marital status, month and day of death, native state or country, occupation and cause of death.
  • 1865 deaths of officers and enlisted men entry content: Name, age, marital status, citizenship status, enlistment date, original regiment, original rank, regiment at death, rank at death, promotions, death date and place, manner of death, surviving associates, and burial place.
  • Also on microfilm. See the Family History Library line in the above State Census Chart. These can be ordered through any Family History Center.

Church Records

Church records are good substitutes for birth, marriage, and death information and are most often found on a local city/town or county level.  Published and manuscript church records can be found at public, university, and private libraries.

For a brief general history of denominations and a guide to finding various New York denomination's records, see New York Church Records Wiki page.

Cornell University's Study Center for Early Religious Life in Western New York has an online guide to Livingston County church records in their library.

Additional Church Records

Additional church records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Livingston County, New York Church Records  in online catalogs like:

Court Records

Ancestors may have also been involved in municipal, state, or federal court cases. See also New York Court Records and United States Court Records.

Crime and Criminals

Directories

1868 - Stetson, G. Emmet, comp., New Gazetteer and Business Directory for Livingston County, N. Y., for 1868, (Geneva, NY: R.L. Adams and son, 1868)

1880-1881 - Western New York Gazetteer Business Directory, Nineteen Counties, 1880-81, (A. N. Marquis and Co., 1880). The nineteen counties included are Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Erie, Genesse,  Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates.

1917 - American Agriculturist Farm Directory and Reference Book, Monroe and Livingston Counties New York 1917, (New York: Orange Judd Co., 1917)

Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups

Gazetteers

Genealogy

  • Rootsweb message board for Livingston County, New York has many information threads about families that resided in that county. There is a search engine that allows you to search by surname and topic.

History

  • Was the early home of Millard Fillmore and Chester A. Arthur
  • First chapter of American Red Cross was organized by Clara Barton in 1881.
  • Home of Francis Bellamy, author of Pledge of Allegiance (written 1892.)
  • Smith, James H., History of Livingston County, New York, (D. Mason and Co.: Syracuse, N.Y., 1881)

Land and Property

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See New York Land and Property for more details, especially about the papers generated in New York State by large speculative land companies.

Original land records in Livingston County, New York began in [?dateyear?]. These records are housed at the [?repository?] in [?town?].

Online

Microforms

Books

Additional land records can sometimes be found using these catalogs:

Additional resources

Additional resources for Livingston County, New York land records may be found in the Livingston County, New York – Land Records topic page of the FamilySearch Catalog . Copies of records on FHL microfilm and microfiche can be ordered for viewing at Family History Centers. Copies of books found in the FamilySearch Catalog may be found in WorldCat catalog and ordered from your local library through interlibrary loan. Explore how to search the FamilySearch Catalog and the Worldcat Online Catalog.

Maps

Migration

Early migration routes for European settlers to and from Livingston County, New York included:[3]

Military

Civil War

Town registers. The New York town clerks kept a bound register of all soldiers from their town serving in the Civil War 1861-1865. Registers are arranged by county, and town. Some town registers are missing. The registers include an index at the start of each town.

Content. Many register entries include full name, residence, date and place of birth, parents names, marital status, date of enlistment and muster and rank, discharges, death, or promotion.

Access. The original registers are at the New York State Archives in Albany, New York. Microfilm copies are found at the Family History Library (FHL Film 1993401-37) and can be ordered for viewing at your local Family History Center. They are also indexed and available at Ancestry.com ($).

Available towns. Registers are available for: Caledonia · Conesus · Leicester · Lima · Livonia · North Dansville · Nunda · Ossian · Portage · Sparta · Springwater · West Sparta · York.

Regiments. Service men in Livingston County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county.[5]

- 104th Regiment, New York Infantry
- 129th Regiment, New York Infantry
- 130th Regiment, New York Infantry
- 136th Regiment, New York Infantry
- 141st Regiment, New York Infantry

Naturalization and Citizenship

Newspapers

Old Fulton NY Post Cards has the largest online collection of 400 New York 1795-2007 newspapers. The instructions for this quirky site are needed to get the most out of it.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards has the following Livingston County, New York newspaper images:

  • Avon NY Herald News 1939-1987
  • Avon NY News 1907-1921
  • Caledonia NY Advertiser 1878-1988
  • Dansville NY Breeze 1924-1971
  • Dansville NY Genesee County Express 1932-1982
  • Geneseo NY Democrat 1835-1857
  • Geneseo NY Livingston County Leader 1934-1988
  • Geneseo NY Livingston Journal 1823-1833
  • Geneseo NY Livingston Progress 1888
  • Geneseo NY Livingston Register 1824-1840
  • Geneseo NY Livingston Republican 1837-1979
  • Geneseo NY Union Citizen 1879-1882
  • Lima NY Recorder 1855-1989
  • Livonia NY Gazette 1916-1987
  • Mt. Morris Spectator 1834-1837
  • Mt. Morris NY Picket Line Post 1903-1959
  • Mt. Morris NY Enterprise 1875-1982
  • Nunda NY News 1859-1982
  • Springwater NY Enterprise 1879-1922
  • Springwater NY Valley News 1951-1971

Obituaries

Periodicals

Poorhouses, Poor law, etc.

Probate Records

Probate records including original estates and wills for New York are held in the office of the Livingston County, New York County Surrogate Court beginning in 1787, or when the county was formed. Prior to 1787, most are housed at the New York State Archives. See New York Probate Records for more information about using probate records.
Content:  Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.
Record types:  Wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distribution.

Probate Petitions

In 1830, state law required the Surrogate Court clerk to issue a probate petition for a deceased individual with property. This petition, unique to New York, usually lists the deceased's death date. It also lists the heirs, their relationship to the deceased, and their residence. [6] [7]

These petitions are often found in the estate files and can be obtained from the Livingston County Surrogate Court.

Online Indexes


Online Probate Records

Original county-by-county New York, Probate Records, 1629-1971 are available free online at FamilySearch. To access these records, click Historical Records below, then click "Browse through 1,630,900 images". Then select the county name, and then the probate records and time of interest.

  • Historical Records - Livingston County: Decrees, Orders, 1824-1959; Estate records, 1822-1905; Letters of administration, 1857-1904; Letters of administration, Letters of testamentary, 1830-1857; Letters of guardianship, 1876-1915; Letters of testamentary, 1861-1904; Surrogate record index, 1821-1931; Wills, 1821-1905

Probate Records on Microfilm

Probate records found at Historical Records and described in Online Probate Records above are also found on microfilm as follows:

Additional Probate Indexes and Abstracts

Additional probate indexes or abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Livingston County, New York probate wills in online catalogs like:

Repositories

Cornell University, Guide to Historical Resources in Livingston County, New York Repositories. ([Ithaca, New York]: New York Historical Resources Center, Olin Library, Cornell University, 1983). At various libraries; FHL Book 974.785 A3g. Includes index. Includes references to some family histories and genealogies.

Archives, Libraries and Museums

Pioneer Library System for Livingston, Ontario, Wayne, and Wyoming counties.
:Lists the communities in each county in the Pioneer Library System with links to each library.

Livingston County Public Libraries gives many of the names and addresses of the public libraries in Livingston County by town.

Livingston County Historical Society and Museum
30 Center Street
Geneseo, NY 14454
Phone: 585-243-9147
Contact Society online form

County Clerk

Livingston County Clerk
6 Court St - Room 201
Geneseo NY 14454
Phone: (585) 243-7010
Phone: (585) 335-1712

County Historian's Office

Amie Alden, Historian
5 Murray Hill Drive
Mt Morris 14510
Phone: (585)243-7955 or (585) 335-1730
Fax - 243-7956
E-mail: Historian@co.livingston.ny.us

Hours: Monday - Friday, 1:00 - 4:30 pm


Genealogical Resources: Books on local history, newspapers on microfilm (1824 - present), census and naturalization records, veteran's files, photographs, maps, genealogy files, cemetery surveys, and various other archival materials pertaining to the history of Livingston County.

Courthouse

The Livingston County Clerk's office has divorce, court and land records. The Surrogate court has probate records. For further information about where the records for Livingston County are held, see the Livingston County Courthouse page.

Family History Centers

Family History Centers (FHCs) are branches of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and are located all over the world. Their goal is to provide resources for family history research.

The main FHC for Livingston County, New York is the Warsaw New York Family History Center. For additional nearby Family History Centers, search online in the FHC directory.


Societies

Central New York Genealogical Society[9]
Box 104, Calvin Station
Syracuse, New York 13205
E-mail: CNYSG@yahoo.com

Member queries; surname research list; online resources; six meetings/year; publishes Tree Talks (At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 974.7 B2t) quarterly with annual index.
Counties served: Albany, Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Erie, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orange, Oreleans, Oswego, Otsego, Rensselaer, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Washington, Wayne, Warren, Wyoming, and Yates.


Livingston County Historical Society
30 Center Street
Geneseo, NY 14454
Phone: 585-243-9147
Contact Society online form

The society has a museum. On its site are links to the historical societies in each town in the county.

Social Groups Online

Taxation

Town Records

Town records in New York may include early births, marriages, deaths, divorces, local histories, selected military records, and town meeting minutes. For further details, try the links to individual town Wiki pages found in Places. See also:

  • Gordon L. Remington, New York Towns, Villages, and Cities: A Guide to Genealogical Sources (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2002). NEHGS online edition; At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 974.7 D27r. Alphabetical list including date founded, if a town history exists, church and cemetery sources, and if a Civil War register (TCR) exists.


Vital Records

Vital records of birth, marriage or death were first recorded at the local level in the village clerk, town clerk, or city clerk’s ledger book. If you know where a birth, marriage or death took place, a copy of the certificate or record may be obtained by writing to the town, village or city clerk. See also How to order New York Vital Records or order electronically online.

See the heading Places on this wiki page for links to local community wiki pages and their available records. See New York Vital Records for a discussion about beginning dates and availability of vital records in New York.

Use substitute records for birth, marriage, and death information. These substitute records include Bible Records, Cemeteries, Church Records, Newspapers, and Probate Records.

Birth

Early births were recorded on the town level and the years vary by town. (List of towns) The New York State Department of Health (state level) began recording births in 1881. Births were not recorded on the county level.

Birth Substitutes

  • See Town Clerks' Registers of Men who Served in the Civil War in the Civil War section of Military for birth information.
Marriage

Early marriages were sometimes recorded on the town level and the years vary by town. (List of towns) In 1880, town clerks were to record the marriage and a copy was sent to the New York State Department of Health (state level). Town clerks continue to record marriages. Marriages were recorded by the Livingston County clerk starting in 1908 and go until 1935.

  • 1848–1880 Miscellaneous marriage records from County Courthouse FHL film 989259 Item 2. Dates are mixed. Contains loose documents

Marriage Substitutes

  • 1800–1855 New York Marriage Notices at Ancestry– ($); Index. This database is a collection of marriage notices published in newspapers around the state. Contains name of bride and groom, marriage date, marriage location, residence, and newspaper found in.
  • 1864-5, 1874-5 See Marriage Schedule information in the State Census section of Census for marriage information for 1864-5, and 1874-5.

Pre–1787

All divorces were granted by the governor or legislature and were very rare.

1787–1847

All divorces were granted by the court of chancery. These records are found in the New York State Archives or for the New York City area at the New York County Clerk's office.These divorces were granted only on the grounds of adultery.

1847–present

All divorces are handled by the county Supreme Court where the divorce was granted. Divorce files in New York are sealed for 100 years. Contact the County Clerk for information about divorce records.

Divorce judgment papers often include date and place of the marriage and the names and birthdates of any children. Local newspapers may publish notices of divorce actions.

Death

Early deaths were recorded on the town level and the years vary by town. (List of towns) The New York State Department of Health (state level) began recording deaths in 1881. Deaths were not recorded on the county level.

Death Substitutes

  • 1849-50, 1859-60, 1869-70, 1879-80 See Mortality Schedule information in the Federal Census section of Census for death information.
  • See Town Clerks' Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War in the Civil War section of Military for death information.
  • 1864-5, 1874-5 See Mortality Schedule information in the State Census section of Census for death information for 1864-5, and 1874-5.

Additional Resources

Additional resources for Livingston County births, marriages and deaths may be found in the New York, Livingston– Vital Records topic page of the FamilySearch Catalog . Copies of records on FHL microfilm and microfiche can be ordered for viewing at Family History Centers. Copies of books found in the FamilySearch Catalog may be found in WorldCat catalog and ordered from your local library through interlibrary loan. Explore how to search the FamilySearch Catalog and the Worldcat Online Catalog.

Voting Registers

Places

Websites

References

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 490. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Arlene Eakle, and Johni Cerni, The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1984), 103. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27ts.
  3. Handybook, 847-61.
  4. Compare the more northerly route in Handybook, 849, with the more southerly route described in Wikipedia contributors, "New York State Route 5" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_State_Route_5 (accessed 28 June 2011).
  5. Frederick Phisterer, New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. (Albany, N.Y.: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912). Internet Archive digital copy; At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Film 1486494-96; Fiche 6083559-64; Book 974.7 M2p.
  6. Alice Eichholz, Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Pub., 2004), 479. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 2004.
  7. Henry B. Hoff, "Navigating New York Probate," American Ancestors 12 (Fall 2011): 57.
  8. About Abstracts of Wills, Admins. and Guardianships in NY State, 1787-1835 at New York Ancestors, accessed 8 December 2011, http://newyorkancestors.org/.
  9. Central New York Genealogical Society at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nycnygs/index.htm (accessed 1 November 2011).


 

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