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Guide to Tompkins County New York genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, military, immigration and naturalization records. This page describes sources of genealogical data about Tompkins 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.

link=http://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/New York_Online_Genealogy_Records New York
Online Records


Tompkins County, New York
Map
Map of New York highlighting Tompkins 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 1817
County Seat Ithaca
Courthouse
Tompkins County Courthouse.jpg
Photo courtesy Chad Fust
Address 320 N. Tioga Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Tompkins County Website

Contents

Tompkins County New York Historical Facts

Parent Counties

7 April 1817: Created from parts of Cayuga and Seneca counties.[1]

Neighboring Counties

Cayuga · Chemung · Cortland · Schuyler · Seneca · Tioga[2]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

Tompkins County New York Genealogy 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
Ancestry.com - - - - - Yes Yes - Yes Yes
Family History Library Films Yes Yes - - Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
FamilySearch Images - - - - Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
New York State Library Films Yes  Yes  - - Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes Yes

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.

First Presbyterian Church of Ulysses, East Main Street, Trumansburg (Tompkins County, New York).jpg
  • Gross, Edna May. Unpublished Records of Births, Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, Deaths. Ithaca, N.Y.: unknown, 1986. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

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

Additional Church Records

Additional church records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Tompkins 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, and Religious Groups

Gazetteers

Genealogy

  • Rootsweb message board for Tompkins 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   
Tompkins Co area NY-1796map.jpg

Tompkins County was formed by an act of the legislature, April 17, 1817 - taken from Cayuga and Seneca Counties. Its lineage extends back to Onondaga, Kerkimer, Montgomery, Tryon and Albany counties. It was named in honor of governor Daniel D. Tompkins. The county of Tompkins when formed contained the towns of Hector, Ulysses, and Covert taken from Seneca County, and the town of Dryden and a part of the towns of Locke and Genoa from Cayuga County.

Tompkins County, as originally formed, had within its limits a good portion of Cayuga Lake and extended westward to the Seneca Lake. Tompkins County is bounded on the north by Cayuga and Seneca Counties, on the east by Cortland and Tioga, on the south by Tioga, Schuyler and Chemung, and on the west by Chemung and Schuyler.  Its county seat is Ithaca.

The County of Tompkins consists of nine townships: Caroline, Danby, Dryden, Groton, Enfield, Ithaca, Lansing, New field and Ulysses, along with many villages and hamlets.

Some of the finest farming lands in the state are found in Tompkins County on the eastern and western shores of Cayuga Lake.[4]

Addtional Resources:

For more information and family name details, see the book,"An outline history of Tioga and Bradford counties in Pennsylvania, Chemung, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins and Schuyler in New York : by townships, villages, boro's and cities".

Another excellent history of Tompkins County is found in"Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York : including a History of Cornell University by W.T. Hewitt", and FHL US/CAN Film.

See the Family History Library Catalog for more historical entries for Tompkins County, New York.

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

Nytompkins.jpg

Migration

Early migration routes for European settlers to and from Tompkins County, New York included:[5]

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: Caroline · Danby · Dryden · Enfield · Groton · Ithaca · Newfield · Ulysses.

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

- 15th Regiment, New York Cavalry, Companies G, H and K.
- 21st Regiment, New York Cavalry, Companies B and M.
- 30th Regiment, New York Infantry, Company A.
- 32nd Regiment, New York Infantry, Companies E and I.
- 64th Regiment, New York Infantry, Company E.
- 109th Regiment, New York Infantry, Companies A, B, F and G.
- 137th Regiment, New York Infantry, Companies D, G, I and K.
- 138th Regiment, New York Infantry, Company F.
- 143rd Regiment, New York Infantry, Companies D and I.
- 179th Regiment, New York Infantry, Company I.


Naturalization and Citizenship

Newspapers

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 Tompkins 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 Tompkins County Surrogate Court.
The petitions for Tompkins County, New York are also available on microfilm at the Family History Library and its centers:

Online Probate Abstracts and 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 - Tompkins County: Administration bonds, 1890-1903; Bonds, 1896-1901; Decrees, Minutes, Orders, 1831-1914; Dower records, 1817-1882; Executor records, 1862-1910; Final settlements, 1868-1907; General index, 1818-1951; Guardianship records, 1817-1913; Letters of administration, Letters of testamentary, 1823-1904; Letters of testamentary, 1869-1904; Sales, 1831-1907; Will index, 1910-1936; Wills and Administrations, 1850-1891; Wills, 1817-1903; Wills, Administrations, Petitions, 1818-1900.

Probate Records on Microfilm

The probate records described above also may be among those on microfilm including:

  • 1817–1932 Index 1818–1951, Probate Records: Wills 1817–1903, Index to wills 1818–1936, Minutes 1831–1914, Guardian 1829–1916, Letters of administration and testamentary 1823–1904 FHL Film 853116 (48 films)
  • 1818–1900 Petitions, proofs, estate papers FHL Film 869195 (59 films)

Additional Probate Indexes and Abstracts

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

Repositories

Cornell University, Guide to Historical Resources in Tompkins County, New York Repositories. ([Ithaca, New York]: New York Historical Resources Center, Olin Library, Cornell University, 1983). At various libraries; FHL Book 974.771 A3g. Includes index. Includes references to some family histories and genealogies.

Archives, Libraries and Museums

Tompkins County Public Library
Attention: Nancy Stoehr
101 East Green Street
Ithaca, New York 14850
Phone: 607-272-4556
Fax: 607-272-8111

Genealogical Resources: Local history, newspapers, books

John M. Olin Library
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

Genealogical resources: Website offers a guide to Genealogical Research at Cornell. Resources include compiled genealogies, local histories, biographical dictionaries, maps, censuses, newspapers, city directories, church records, periodicals, heraldry, manuscripts, land records, and alumni records.

The History Center
401 E. State/MLK Jr. St.
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: (607) 273-8284
Fax: (607) 273-6107

Hours:
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 11am-5pm (and by appointment)
Closed: Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays (and on major holidays)

Genealogical Resources: Research and Reference Services
County Timeline, Books, Maps, vital records, family name files, pictures, and much more.

Mary Williams, Research Librarian
Phone: 607-273-8284 x8
E-mail: library@thehistorycenter.net

Donna Eschenbrenner,Archivist
Phone:607-273-8284 x4
Email:archives@TheHistoryCenter.net

Tompkins County Museum
401 East State Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: (607) 273-8284
FAX: (607) 273-6107

County Historian's Office

Carol Kammen,Historian
125 East Court Street
Ithaca, New York 14850
Phone: 607-273-5298
ckk6@cornell.edu

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.

Courthouses

 

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

Societies

Finger Lakes Genealogical Society[10]
PO Box 581
Seneca Falls, New York 13148

Central New York Genealogical Society[11]
Box 104, Calvin Station
Syracuse, New York 13205
E-mail: CNYSG@yahoo.com

Genealogical Resources: :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.

Crooked Lake Review
6877 Van Amburg Road
Hammondsport, NY 14840
E-mail: editors@crookedlakeview.com
Blog

Genealogical Resources: According to the website: "The Crooked Lake Review is a local history magazine for the Conhocton, Canisteo, Tioga, Chemung and Genesee river valleys, and for the Finger Lakes and Lake Ontario regions of New York State.". This website deals with stories, histories and information dealing with people, events, and places in relationship to the area.

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

Tompkins County is considered a consolidated county because birth and death records were collected from the towns, cities and villages and are on file with the Office of Vital Records in Ithaca. See this link for information about obtaining copies of birth and death records for most towns from 1880 to the present. Towns with records beginning later than 1880 are listed on the Office of Vital Records website.

Records may be ordered from the Tompkins County Office of Vital Records and must be requested by mail. Fees apply for both a record search and for a document copy. There is a 50-year restriction for deaths and a 75-year restriction for births. The restriction is waived if the applicant can prove the relationship to direct-line ancestors. Copies are also available at the New York State Department of Health in Albany. See New York Vital Records Wiki page for more information about ordering records from Albany.

Marriage records are usually found at the office of the town, city, or village clerk where the marriage license was issued. See the heading Places on this wiki page for links to local community wiki pages and their available records. Limited consolidated Tompkins County marriage records 1908-1935 are available at the Family History Library. 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.
However, birth records were collected and consolidated from the town records by Tompkins County. See the Tompkins County Health Department for information about ordering records. Most town records begin in 1880.

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 Tompkins County, New York clerk starting in 1908 and go until 1934.[12]

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 groon, 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.
Divorce

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.
However, death records were collected and consolidated from the town records by Tompkins County. See the Tompkins County Health Department for information about ordering records. Most town records begin in 1880.


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 Tompkins County births, marriages and deaths may be found in the New York, Tompkins– 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

Tompkins County New York Genealogy Websites

Tompkins County New York Places

Tompkins County New York Genealogy References

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 492. 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. Sexton, John L. 1885. An outline history of Tioga and Bradford counties in Pennsylvania, Chemung, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins and Schuyler in New York: by townships, villages, boro's and cities. Elmira, N.Y.: Gazette Co.
  5. Handybook, 847-61.
  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. Elizabeth Petty Bentley, Genealogist's Address Book: State and Local Resources, with Special Resources Including Ethnic and Religious Organizations, 6th ed. (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Pub., 2009), 473. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D24ben 2009.
  11. Central New York Genealogical Society at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nycnygs/index.htm (accessed 1 November 2011).
  12. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 488-493. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.


 

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