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United States Gotoarrow.png New York Gotoarrow.png Seneca County

This page describes sources of genealogical data about Seneca 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.

Seneca County, New York
Map
Map of New York highlighting Seneca 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 February 16, 1791
County Seat Waterloo
Courthouse
Ny-seneca-ch.jpg
Address 48 West Williams Street
Waterloo, NY 13165
Seneca County Website

Contents

Historical Facts

Parent County

Created 24 March 1804 from part of Cayuga County.[1]

Neighboring Counties

Cayuga · Ontario · Schuyler · Tompkins · Wayne · Yates[2]

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.[3]
  • 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.
State
Source 1825 1835 1845 1855 1865 1875 1892 1905 1915 1925
Family History Library - - - - - - - Yes Yes Yes
FamilySearch Historical Records - - - - - - - Yes - -
New York State Library - - - - - - - - Yes Yes
Ancestry.com - - - - - - - - - -

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.

A variety of local church records and histories for the Baptist, Catholic, Congregationalist, Disciples of Christ, Episcopal, LDS, Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Protestant, Presbyterian, Reformed, and Society of Friends faiths are available online at NYGenWeb.

  • Mac Neal Dutch Reformed Cemetery, Seneca County, N.Y.: Vital Records. 1986. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

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

Additional Church Records

Additional church records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Seneca 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

Ethnic, Political, or Religious Group

Gazetteers

Genealogy

M'Clintock House Waterloo New York2.jpg

History

In 1848, Seneca County New York was the site of the first Women's Rights Convention. Abolitionist and Quaker women of Seneca County met together and called for the convention. Five women organized the First Women's Rights Convention - Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Martha Wright, Mary Ann M'Clintock, and Jane Hunt. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mary Ann M'Clintock met in the M'Clintock home to write the first draft of the Declaration of Sentiments, a document modeled after the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Sentiments declared men and women as created equal and called for women to receive the right to vote. In addition, the M'Clintock family used their home as a stop on the Underground Railroad. [4]

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 Seneca 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 Seneca County, New York land records may be found in the Seneca 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

  • 1850 Gibson Map of Seneca County Shows Towns - May need highspeed internet connection. You must zoom into the image with your browser. (Cayuga County NYGenWeb)

Migration

Early migration routes to and from Seneca County for European settlers included:

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: Fayette · Junius · Lodi · Ovid · Romulus · Seneca Falls · Varick · Waterloo.

Regiments. Service men in Seneca County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county.[6]

- 126th Regiment, New York Infantry
- 148th Regiment, New York Infantry
- 160th Regiment, New York Infantry
- 175th Regiment, New York Infantry
- 189th 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 Seneca County, New York newspaper images:

  • Geneva NY Advertiser 1841-1904
  • Geneva NY Daily Times 1895-1978
  • Geneva NY Expoiter 1806-1809
  • Geneva NY Finger Lake Times 1977-1988
  • Geneva NY Gazette 1809-1823
  • Geneva NY Gazette 1809-1914
  • Geneva NY Palladium 1825-1828

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 Seneca 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. [7] [8]

These petitions are often found in the estate files and can be obtained from the Seneca County Surrogate Court.
The petitions for Seneca County, New York are also available on microfilm at the Family History Library and its centers:

  • 1830–1911 Listed as "Stanley I. Reynolds Collection" (transcript). FHL Film 812847.

Online Probate Indexes and Abstracts


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 - Seneca County: Administrations 1815-1900; Bonds 1890-1903; Decrees, Minutes, Orders 1830-1903; Dower records 1829-1873; General index 1804-1914; Journals 1847-1918; Judicial settlements 1854-1902; Letters of administration, Letters of testamentary 1827-1900; Letters of guardianship 1816-1901; Wills 1804-1923
  • 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 Seneca County, New York probate wills in online catalogs like:

Repositories

Cornell University, Guide to Historical Resources in Seneca County, New York Repositories. ([Ithaca, New York]: New York Historical Resources Center, Olin Library, Cornell University, 1980). At various libraries; FHL Book 974.769 A3g. Includes index. Includes references to some family histories and genealogies.

Archives, Libraries and Museums

Libraries

The Waterloo library is the oldest library building in the state that has had continuous use. The Terwilliger Museum is an annex of the library.

Museums

County Historian's Office

Seneca County Historian
1 DiPronio Drive
Waterloo, New York 13165
Phone: 315-539-1785
Email: wgable@co.seneca.ny.us

Genealogical Resources: The County Historian may provide access to obituaries, vital records, church records, maps, and family files or journals. Some historians provide search services for their office records and others may refer you to local genealogists who research in the area.

Available Records

  • History of the County
  • Detailed information about family names of residents of Seneca County found on about 30,000 index cards.
Courthouses

The Seneca County Clerk's office has divorce, court, and land records. The Surrogate Court has probate records. For further information about where the records for Seneca County are held, see the Seneca County Courthouses 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 Seneca County, New York is the Fayette New York Family History Center. For additional nearby Family History Centers, search online in the FHC directory.

Societies

Central New York Genealogical Society[10]
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.

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.

  • 1822-1869 Finch, Jesse Howell. Vital Records from the Ovid Bee: Published at Ovid Village, Seneca Co., N.Y., 1822-1869. The J. Finch Committee, 1971. Digital version at Ancestry ($).
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 Seneca County clerk starting in 1908 and go until 1935.

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.
  • 1853–1879 Isaac Easterbrook, Account Book of the Reverend Isaac Easterbrook (198-). FHL Book 974.7 K2e and Fiche 6047981. Consists of a record of the marriages and funerals of the Rev. Isaac Easterbrook in southern Seneca County, Schuyler County and nearby areas 1853-1879 with some account of the activities of this minister and fees paid him.

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.
  • 1853–1879 Isaac Easterbrook, Account Book of the Reverend Isaac Easterbrook (198-). FHL Book 974.7 K2e and Fiche 6047981. Consists of a record of the marriages and funerals of the Rev. Isaac Easterbrook in southern Seneca County, Schuyler County and nearby areas 1853-1879 with some account of the activities of this minister and fees paid him.
  • See Town Clerks' Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War in the Civil War section of Military for death information.

Additional Resources

Additional resources for Seneca County births, marriages and deaths may be found in the New York, Seneca– 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

Websites

Places

References

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 491. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Handybook, 478.
  3. 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.
  4. National Park Service: Women's Rights National Historical Park, http://www.nps.gov/wori/historyculture/stories.htm. Accessed 25 February 2012. <\ref>
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Henry B. Hoff, "Navigating New York Probate," American Ancestors 12 (Fall 2011): 57.
  9. About Abstracts of Wills, Admins. and Guardianships in NY State, 1787-1835 at New York Ancestors, accessed 8 December 2011, http://newyorkancestors.org/.
  10. Central New York Genealogical Society at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nycnygs/index.htm (accessed 1 November 2011).

 

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