GUIDE TO ALBANY AREA GENEALOGICAL RESOURCES

 

Clifford W. Lamere     Jul 1999

This Revision:  17 May 2012

 

This is a guide to 46 facilities which possess genealogical and historical records in Albany and nearby counties.  It should be useful to genealogists who can visit the sites, but also to those who must do their genealogy using the internet, email, US mail, and telephone.  Some of the information below is based on my personal experiences, but most of it is based on what employees or volunteers told me before 2004.  Changes have occurred since I wrote this.  Beginning in 2009, at the end of a write-up I have added the date of revision for that venue.  A revision date does not mean that every part of a venue was checked for accuracy.

 

The New York counties covered in this guide are Albany, Schenectady, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Columbia, and Greene, plus a library site in nearby Massachusetts and a musum library in Vermont.  At one time Albany County included all New York counties listed on this webpage (except the southern part of Greene County).  As Albany County broke up, the new counties that were formed maintained their own records, but they did not take possession of the earlier records for the geographic each new county represented.  Albany County still has those records.  It is very helpful to know the year each county formed, so you will know in which modern county to look for the record you seek.  Although older records were not turned over to the newly formed county, some documents may have been donated to the NYS Archives.

 

The facilities below are arranged alphabetically by New York county.  Those are followed by two venues in other states. 

 

Caution:  Winter storm conditions can close local facilities, especially those using volunteers.  Even in summer, a temporary shortage of personnel or a power failure can result in an unexpected closing.  It is best to phone ahead, especially to confirm the hours and days of operation.

 

If you find something that is out of date, please email me using the Email icon at the bottom of this page.  I need your help to keep this webpage accurate.  

 

______________________________________________________________

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS  (alphabetical by county, but not by venue)

 

          ALBANY COUNTY

 

     NEW YORK STATE FACILITIES    (state offices located in Albany)

New York State Archives

New York State Library

New York State Library - Manuscripts & Special Collections

New York State Department of Health - Vital Records

 

     ALBANY CITY FACILITIES

Albany Bureau of Vital Statistics (city)    

Albany City Clerk's Office  

Albany Public Library (city)

 

     ALBANY COUNTY FACILITIES

Albany County Clerk's Office (Records Room)  (in Albany)

Albany County Hall of Records   (in Albany)

Albany County Surrogate's Court    (in Albany; a state office despite its name)

Albany Roman Catholic Diocese - Archives Office  (in Albany)

Albany Roman Catholic Diocese - Menands Cemetery Office  (has records for 10 cemeteries in 2 counties)

     Our Lady of Angels Cemetery - Albany

     St. Agnes Cemetery - Cohoes

     Calvary Cemetery - Glenmont

     Our Lady Help of Christians Cemetery - Glenmont

     St. Agnes Cemetery - Menands

     Immaculate Conception Cemetery - Watervliet

     St. Patrick's Cemetery - Watervliet

Albany Rural Cemetery    (in Menands)
Bethlehem Public Library    (in Delmar)

Latter Day Saints - Family History Center  (in Loudonville)  

Rensselaerville Historical Society  (in Rensselaerville)

Westerlo (Town of) Public Library  (in Westerlo)

 

          COLUMBIA COUNTY

 

Columbia County Clerk's Office     (Hudson)

Columbia County Historical Society     (Kinderhook)

Columbia County Surrogate's Court    (Hudson)

Hendrick Hudson Chapter of the D.A.R.    (Hudson)

 

          GREENE COUNTY

 

Coxsackie Town Clerk's Office

Coxsackie Village Clerk's Office

Greene County Clerk's Office     

Greene County Surrogate's Court  

Greene County Historical Society (Vedder Memorial Research Library)

 

          MONTGOMERY COUNTY

 

Montgomery County Department of History and Archives

 

          RENSSELAER COUNTY

 

Brunswick Historical Society   

Castleton Village Clerk's Office & Genealogy Room

Albany Roman Catholic Diocese - Menands Cemetery Office  (in Menands, Albany Co.)  Has records for 10 cemeteries in 2 counties including:

     St. Jean de Baptiste Cemetery - Troy

     St. John's Cemetery - North Troy

     St. Mary's Cemetery - Troy

Nassau Free Library  

Oakwood Cemetery, Troy

Rensselaer County Clerk's Office

Rensselaer County Historical Society  

Rensselaer County Surrogate's Court

Troy City Hall, Vital Statistics Department

Troy Public Library (main branch) 

 

          SCHENECTADY COUNTY

 

Efner History Center & Archives for the City of Schenectady  

Schenectady City Clerk's Office - Bureau of Vital Records

Schenectady County Clerk's Office

Schenectady County Historical Society

Schenectady County Surrogate's Court

Albany Roman Catholic Diocese - Schenectady Cemetery Office   Has records for 5 cemeteries including:

     St. Anthony's Cemetery - Glenville

     Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery - Niskayuna

     St. Mary's Cemetery - Schenectady

     Holy Cross Cemetery - Rotterdam

     Sts. Cyril & Method Cemetery - Rotterdam

Vale Cemetery 

 

          MASSACHUSETTS (BERKSHIRE COUNTY)

 

Berkshire Athenaeum (Pittsfield Public Library).  It is in possession of 71,000 microfilms and other materials donated by the nearby National Archive when it closed in 2011.)

 

XX   National Archives and Records Administration  (closed October 1, 2011, but all of their "microfilm and related research material" was transferred to the nearby Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield's Public Library.)

 

          VERMONT (BENNINGTON)

 

Bennington Museum's Genealogy/History Library    

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

ALBANY COUNTY  

 

 

- one of the original counties of New York State which formed in 1683.  

It was much larger than at present, at one time including all of the counties listed below, and even claimed most of Vermont.  

NEW YORK STATE ARCHIVES    [revised 16 July 2011]

(518-474-8955)  [Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230]  (Located on Madison Ave. at the Empire State Plaza)  Hours:  M-F 9-4:30, Sat 9:30-4:30.  

 

The NYS Archives is located on the 11th floor of the same building as the NY State Library. 

 

On microfiche they have indexes to birth, death, and marriage records for the whole state except for New York City.  The non-Soundex early microfiches contain a name, date, place and state certificate number (this number only applies at the state level).  No spouse is mentioned, but later Soundex marriage fiches list the first few letters of the spouse's surname.  The Soundex death fiches also include the age at death.  When in use, the Soundex system lasted only a decade or so.

 

Once you have the name, date, and place, you can fill out an application right there, staple a check to it, put it in an envelope (no postage needed) and drop it in a box.  A money order would probably be acceptable as well, but cash is not.  You should receive a copy of the handwritten original certificate in about 2-3 weeks.  If, instead, you apply for the typed certificate in the locality where the  event occurred, it takes about the same amount of time.  However, if you should decide to mail your application to the New York State Health Department Vital Records (see that write-up) it will normally take 6-12 months depending on the year.

 

Because of a state law passed in 1880, vital records began to be submitted to the state in 1881 (there are just a very few death records for 1880).  Albany (1870), Yonkers (1875), and Buffalo (1878) had begun their record keeping earlier and were not required to submit records to the state until 1908 for marriages (covered today under Domestic Relations laws) and 1914 for births and deaths (covered today under Public Health laws).  You would have to contact those three cities for vital records before 1881 (or 1880 for deaths), because they are not on the microfiches mentioned.  The Vital Records webpage of the Archives (see below) has this statement.  "Some upstate cities began recording some vital events a few years prior to 1880: Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Elmira, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, and Yonkers.  For further information contact the city clerk's office.  Some county clerks hold marriage records for the period ca. 1908-35."  I mentioned 3 of the 10 cities above.  The other 7 also did not turn their earlier records over to the state.  They may issue certificates for those earlier records, or they may be only available to onsite researchers.

 

For privacy reasons, many recent years of state vital records are not available to the public.  Here is the part of the index which can be viewed as of 2016:

 

Births - 1881-1936 (75 years hidden, but a 1937 law preventing adoption information from being made public has stopped the release of 1937 and later years until funding can be found to remove births of adopted children.)  Read special note above for Albany, Buffalo and Yonkers

Marriages - 1881-1966 (50 years hidden)        Read special note above for Albany, Buffalo and Yonkers

Deaths - 1880-1966 (50 years hidden)              Read special note above for Albany, Buffalo and Yonkers

 

Complete Sets of the vital records microfiche indexes are presently available at eight locations.  :

1)  New York State Archives, Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230.  Phone: (518-474-8955)

         Location: Madison Ave. at the Empire State Plaza

         Website:  http://www.archives.nysed.gov/  

2)  National Archives--Northeast Region, 201 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014.  Phone: (212-337-1300)

         Website:    Link

3)  Rochester Public Library, 115 South Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604.  Phone:  (585-428-7300)

         Website:  Home page. 

         NYS Vital Records:  Link to general information

         Phone for Local History and Genealogy department:  585-428-8370

         Phone for Vital Records department:  585-428-8371

4)  Onondaga County Public Library at The Galleries of Syracuse,  447 S. Salina Street, Syracuse, NY 13202-2494.

          Website:  Local History & Genealogy Department FAQs.  Includes directions and map.

          Posted evening hours not reliable.  Call ahead.

5)  Central Library, headquarters of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System, Buffalo, NY.  

          Location & Phone:  1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, NY 14203.  (716-858-8900)

          Website:  http://www.buffalolib.org/

          Link to view PDF file:  http://www.buffalolib.org/sites/default/files/pdf/genealogy/subject-guides/VitalRecordsGro.pdf

6)  Steele Memorial Library, 101 East Church Street, Elmira, NY 14901.  Phone:  607-733-8602

          Microfiche can be used anytime library is open.
          Website:  http://www.ccld.lib.ny.us/downtown.htm

7)  Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library, 229 Washington Street, Watertown, NY 13601. 

          Phones -  Genealogy: 315-785-7711        Main Library: 315-785-7705

          Microfiche can be used anytime library is open; Genealogy dept. is open Mon-Sat 12-4.

          Website: https://www.flowermemoriallibrary.org/
8)  Crandall Public Library, 251 Glen St, Glens Falls, NY 12801.  Phone: (518-792-6508, ext. 239).  

          Microfiches available M-F 10-12 & 1-4.  Tuesdays they are also available 5-8.  

          Website:  http://www.crandalllibrary.org/

 

The NYS Archives also has military records.  Most of the Revolutionary War records were lost in a fire.  Civil War records are on microfilm.  World War I service records are on cards and have extensive information.  

 

For any documents or records that must be retrieved from storage, you should phone ahead a day or so earlier in order to have the records immediately available when you arrive.

 

Searches: none 

Photocopies: $.10 per microfilm frame, $.25 per page of other references

 

Website:    http://www.archives.nysed.gov/a/research/index.shtml

Email:        archref@mail.nysed.gov  

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NEW YORK STATE LIBRARY

(Genealogy desk 518-474-5161.  Reference desk phone is 518-474-5355.)  [Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230]  (Located on Madison Ave. at the Empire State Plaza)  Hours: M-F 9-5:00 (free parking 2-5), Sat 9:30-5 (free parking all day Saturday).

 

The library is on the 7th floor of the Cultural Education Center.  This building has unique architecture.  The NYS Archives and NYS Museum are located in the same building.  The library has a huge genealogy area, including resources for all counties of NY State.  However, for some counties such as Columbia and Montgomery, the local county facilities have much more complete records.  

 

This library is the most complete single genealogical resource available in the Albany area.  It has an impressive number of books including genealogies of various surnames, books of church and cemetery records, county histories, a complete collection of DAR books for New York State, the New York Times Obituaries Index (1858-1978), and U.S. census book indexes for 1800-1870.  There is an important separate county section to their card catalog which contains references to county cemeteries, etc. that you will not find in the remainder of their card or digital catalog.  It lists many articles that are only a portion of a book and would not appear in the catalog otherwise.  Most of the Kinship books of Eastern NY church records transcribed by Arthur C.M. Kelly and Lawrence V. Rickard are present in the Library.  There is also a computer equipped with LDS CDs (Ancestral Files, Social Security data, etc.).  Internet access is available.

 

On microfilm, the library has all of the NY and US censuses for the state.  It has over 20 microfilm readers, and some printers.  It has a huge microfilm collection of NY newspapers, and a large collection of city directories on microfilm.  

 

Searches: none

Photocopies: $.10 per page or microfilm frame. There is a $1 and $5 bill changer.

 

Website:      Catalog

                     Home page

                     Genealogy

 

Email Reference Requests:    http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/refserv.htm

 

For a MAP of the location of the NYS LIBRARY and NYS ARCHIVES and nearby parking areas check out:

 

http://www.ogs.state.ny.us/parking/parkingmap.asp


The Library has two lots, one on each side of the front of the building, but the Cathedral Parking Lot on the eastern (downhill) side (on the left as you face the front of the building) is more likely to have available spaces.  Parking weekdays beside the building costs $7.00? for a full day (until 2:00 when it becomes free).  Saturday parking is free all day.  Other weekday options are to park several blocks away and walk a long distance, or park nearby underground (not easy to get to, and is often full).  The library is in a government complex of buildings (the Empire State Plaza), so street parking is very limited.  If you aren't familiar with the streets, some of which are one-way, you would be better off paying to park.  Unfortunately, sometimes both lots are full.  Check the parking map for other options which can be difficult to access if you are not familiar with the streets.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NEW YORK STATE LIBRARY - MANUSCRIPTS & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

(518-474-6282)  [Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230]  (Located on Madison Ave. at the Empire State Plaza - on 11th floor, in same room as the NYS Archives)  Hours:  M-F 9-4:30, Sat 9:30-4:30.

 

They retrieve records from a different floor and will only do it twice a day, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

 

Holdings:  maps, selected church records, private papers of families, donated genealogies, rare books (NY history & culture), etc.  In the office, they have a catalog of their holdings.

 

Searches:  none

Photocopies:  $.25 per page

 

Website:    http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/mssdesc.htm

Email:        mscolls@mail.nysed.gov

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH - VITAL RECORDS

(518-474-2005)  [800 N. Pearl St., Albany, NY 12204]  Hours: M-F 8:30-4:30.

 

Copies of birth, marriage and death certificates cost $22 each and an application mailed to this office will mean a wait of about 6-8 months before receiving the certificates (see NYS Archives above for the years for which these records are available to genealogists, even if you are not related to the person, and to see the option of personally filling out a certificate application there).  When an application is filled out at the NYS Archives, the records will be received in about 2-3 weeks.  Local municipalities also issue certificates and they mail them out in 1-4 weeks.  

 

Certificates are available from this office for the entire state outside of New York City.

 

Searches: For genealogical copies of certificates they charge as follows for a single name search (which includes the certificate if the person is found): 1-3y = $22,   4-10y = $42,  11-20y = $62.  Add $20 for each additional 10 years you want them to search.  They do not return your money if the search fails, but if they find the person early in a 20 year search, for example, they return some money.  They only charge for the work that they actually do.

 

I would recommend that you avoid mailing requests to the NYS Dept. of Health, but if you should decide that the Dept. of Health is your best option, a genealogy request form can be downloaded from their website.  Before doing so, read my Final Notes at the end of this webpage.


Website (genealogy application form):         http://www.health.state.NY.US/nysdoh/vr/forms/genealogy.htm

Website (main):                                              http://www.health.state.NY.US/nysdoh/consumer/vr.htm  

Email:                                                              vr@health.state.ny.us      

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ALBANY BUREAU OF VITAL STATISTICS (city)

(518-434-5045)  [Room 254M, City Hall, Albany, NY 12207]  [Located at the corner of State and Eagle Streets, diagonally across from the State Capitol building]  Hours: M-F 9-5.

 

The Albany Bureau of Vital Statistics has BIRTH and DEATH records for the city of Albany for 1870 to the present.  They hold no genealogical marriage records.  City of Albany marriage records for 1870 - 1957 are stored at the Albany Co. Hall of Records.  The Albany City Clerk's Office keeps the marriage records for 1958 to the present (these can only be obtained by a very close relative). 

 

Albany's birth and death records for Sep 1870-1913 are not available from the NYS Dept. of Health and are not indexed at the NYS Archives (nor are Albany's marriage records for 1870-1907).  After you give the Albany Bureau of Vital Statistics a full name (you should include spelling variations for best results) and an approximate date, or a reasonable range of dates, they look up the birth or death on a microfilm index.  But from 1870 to about 1910, there is only a surname and page number recorded.  So then they have to go to another microfilm, put it on a printer-reader and look at every entry for that surname until they find the person you are researching.  These microfilms are not available to the public.  A copy costs $22.  A failed search costs the same.

 

You can no longer get a copy of the original record.  You get a typed transcription.  The Bureau is trying to get a State grant to microfilm the originals so they can avoid the errors which come with interpretations of old handwriting.

 

Ignore parking signs in the city of Albany at your own peril.  Parking is very difficult in this area.  Check right in front of City Hall for one hour free parking for a few cars.  There are two expensive parking garages nearby (about $12.50 per day) east of City Hall.  A little further away (south of State St.), there is one that charges $8.50 per day.  Expensive short term meter parking is available ($.25 per 12 minutes in 2003), especially north of the building (on the street that goes up and down the hill).  Temporary free parking on the street is sometimes possible alongside the capitol building on Washington Ave.  **Abide by the time limits in all of these areas.  They check often.  The fines are high.

 

Website:  http://www.albanyny.org

Email:      None

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ALBANY CITY CLERK'S OFFICE     [revised 25 May 2010]

(518-434-5090)  [Office of the City Clerk, Room 202, City Hall, Albany, NY 12207]  Hours: M-F 9-5.

 

They have MARRIAGE certificates for the city of Albany for the past 50 years, but they are confidential as required by New York law.  While either the bride or groom is alive, copies can only be obtained by them or someone with a power of attorney.  If both are proved to be deceased, a copy of the certificate can be obtained only by a blood relative such as their parent, child, grandchild, brother or sister.  

 

Searches:  $15 for 3 certified copies

 

Website:    http://www.albanyny.org

Email:        None

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ALBANY PUBLIC LIBRARY (city)

(518-449-3380)  [161 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12210]  Hours: M-Th 9-9, F 9-6, Sat 9-5.  Sundays they are open 1-5 from Oct-May plus part of Jun and Sep.


The library has a new genealogy room as of 1999.  Ellen Gamache is Local History/Genealogy Librarian (518-427-4327 for her desk, 518-427-4303 for the Reference Desk).  The library has no church or cemetery records.  Here are some of the resources to be found in the library.

 

Albany City Directories (1813-present)

Troy City Directories (1829-1901)

Albany County censuses - NY censuses (1855-1875 & 1905-1925) and US censuses (1790-1920, except 1890) on microfilm

Rensselaer County US censuses - 1790-1920, except 1890

US census NAME INDEX to New York State for 1790-1860

Albany newspapers (1813-present) - most are on microfilm

Computer terminals with internet access are available .

 

Searches:  No research is done for a fee, although they will do the normal sort of quick lookup that the average library reference section does.  But, if you have an actual date of death, they will look for the obituary if it is likely to have been published in an Albany newspaper.  At this revision (2002), there is a large backlog of letters to be answered.  You should get a quick response to your email, but any research may be months away.

 

Photocopies:  $.10 per page or microfilm frame

 

Website:    http://www.albanypubliclibrary.org/gendocs.html

Email:        gamachee@uhls.lib.ny.us    (genealogy questions)

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 ALBANY COUNTY CLERK'S OFFICE (Records Room)

(518-487-5120; FAX for County Clerk: 518-487-5099)  [Moved in 2005 to 32 North Russell Rd., Albany, NY 12206-1324 (off of Central Avenue, next to Westgate Plaza) ]  Hours: M-F 9-4:45.

 

They have deeds and mortgages back to 1600's, powers of attorney, Certificates of Partnership, DBAs, divorce proceedings (sealed forever), and liens.  They also have NYS Supreme Court and Albany County Court case files.

 

Parking and parking fees are no longer a problem.  To view a map of their new location go to the website below and click on County Clerk, then on Map.

 

Searches: "Each name and each category searched for each two year period $5.00"

Photocopies: $.65 per page with a $1.30 minimum per item to be copied.

 

Website:    http://www.albanycounty.com

Email:        None

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ALBANY COUNTY HALL OF RECORDS
(518-436-3663)  [95 Tivoli St., Albany, NY 12207]  Hours: M-F 8:30-4:30

Their holdings include Albany City Directories (1830-1994), NY census records conducted by the state (1855-1925, including an alphabetical index to 1892 on index cards), Declarations of Intention 1821-1906 (an index of over 7,000 names was completed May 2003.  Sep 2003 it was being put online), Naturalizations (index of 61,000 naturalizations which occurred in Albany Co. 1827-1991 is online), Indexes to Deeds (1630-1940), full Marriage Records for the City of Albany (1870-Sep 1954 as of Dec 2007, they include names of parents, etc.), vital records for a few churches in Albany Co. (and some outside the county), and many kinds of Historical Records (a list is on their website).  Records of Slave Manumissions (releases from slavery) for 1800-1828 have been prepared for posting online (May 2003).  They have original Albany Co. wills 1691-1765, plus microfilms of the same.  They have a microfilm index of Albany Co. wills 1691-1893, and a book index to wills 1780-1895 which can be found at the Albany Co. Surrogate's Court.  Unless things have changed from 2001, don't believe everything in their brochure, on their website, or on any list of items you might see while you are there.  All of those contained errors which they did not change in a year even though I alerted them to the problems (I did so because an introductory form said that they wanted to know about errors.).  


The microfilms of the City of Albany marriage records cover about 7 years each.  In 1999, I could not read the one that I looked at.  It was a "negative" copy (black background with white handwriting) and was so faint that even a single, complete record would be impossible to decipher on many of the pages.  I have been told that some original books have faded handwriting, but the book that the unreadable microfilm was made from was quite readable.  The first 44 years of marriages from 1870-1913 are not available for viewing anywhere else.  The NYS Archives, NYS Department of Health, and even the City of Albany don't have them for those years.

Searches: $20.00 per hour, a minimum of a one-hour search.  Search includes uncertified copies, transcribed copies, or notification of no record. 

Photocopies: $.50 per page or microfilm frame  (some microfilms are at NYS Library at $.10 per page)

Website:    http://www.albanycounty.com/achor    

Email:        mwallen@albanycounty.com

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ALBANY COUNTY SURROGATE'S COURT   [Revised: 4 Mar 2009]

(518-285-8585)  [Temporary address for 2009 and 2010 is: 30 Clinton Ave., Albany, NY 12207]  Hours: M-F 8:30-4:30.  Photo & Directions to temporary location.

 

They have probated wills, letters of administration (when there is no will), and guardianship papers.  The early wills date back to 1787, possibly earlier, and are handwritten in large will books.  They cannot be photocopied from the will books, but can be photographed (someone from the court has to be called to take you from the security area which otherwise will not allow the camera through).  The wills and will books have not been microfilmed.  Some of the original wills still exist.  Those can be photocopied.

 

There is a book index which gives the name of the testator and the file number.  Their website says, "We have recently scanned our index books onto a public access computer in our office and you may search for a file yourself, or have our office do it for you for a fee."  (Also, see Albany Co. Hall of Records for original wills 1691-1765, and indexes to wills 1691-1895).  

 

Parking:  At the temporary location at 30 Clinton Ave, you may park in the lot which is usually full.  Nearby street parking is free if available, or there are meters in front of the building.  Bring plenty of quarters.

 

Searches:  The statewide fee is $90 for the search by a Surrogate's Court for any document over 25 years old, and $30 for a document 25 years old or less.  A failed search costs the same.  The photocopy fee is extra.  Certified photocopies of wills ($6 per page) can only be made from an original will, not from a copy in a book.  

 

Photocopies:  $.25 per page for items allowed to be copied.  There is no public copier.

 

Website:     http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/3jd/surrogates/index.shtml   (general information)

Email:      None

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ALBANY ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESAN - ARCHIVES OFFICE     [ 3/1/2017]

 

(518-453-6669)  [Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, Sister Mary Doehla, Archivist, 40 North Main Ave., Albany, NY 12203] 

Hours:  M-Th 8:00-1:30 by appointment only.

 

Holdings:  Records of the baptisms at Brady Hospital, which opened 1915 and closed 1966.  82,000 births occurred there, but not everyone was baptized there.  The present diocesan offices (about 300 employees) and the archives are in that old Albany building.  The archives also has lists of orphans in all closed Catholic orphanages in the cities of Albany, Troy and Rensselaer.  They also have deeds to church properties and lists of priests and other officials.  Local parishes, not the archives, have the baptism and marriage records performed by them.  When a parish closes, the records usually go to another nearby parish.

 

An appointment is needed before going to the archives office for information.  The records cannot be viewed by visitors because they contain information about adoptions and illegitimate births; that information is never given out.  Mail-in requests for information are accepted.  Information about baptisms, marriages and confirmations is available directly from the individual parishes in the 14-county diocese.  The archivist can tell you who to contact in each parish, or you can use the address and phone number in the list of parishes in the diocese.  Click on a parish name to see a photo of the church plus other information.

 

Fees:  none

 

Webpage for the Archivist:    http://www.rcda.org/Offices/archives/index.html

Website for the Diocese:  http://www.rcda.org/offices.html

Email:    mary.doehla@rcda.org

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ALBANY ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESAN - MENANDS CEMETERY OFFICE    [revised 26 Jan 2012]

(518-463-0134)  [Albany Diocesan Cemetery Office, 48 Cemetery Avenue, Menands, NY 12204]  Hours of Office:  M-F 8:30-4, Sat 8:30-12.  Closed on certain church and civil holidays.  Hours of Gates: 7:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.  This office is located at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands.  

 

The Albany Roman Catholic Diocese services 14 counties in upstate New York.  The cemeteries in those counties are either managed by this cemetery office (15 cemeteries in 3 counties) or by the local parish (87 cemeteries).  In the following list of counties, the number in parentheses is the number of parish run cemeteries in each:  Albany (7), Columbia (8), Delaware (4), Fulton (4), Greene (4), Herkimer (7), Montgomery (11), Otsego (4), Rensselaer (9), Saratoga (9), Schenectady (4), Schoharie (1), Warren (5), and Washington (10).  Information about who to contact for a particular Catholic cemetery in any of these counties can be obtained from the Albany Diocesan Cemetery Office.  All parish run Catholic cemeteries should have lot cards and interment cards located either at the cemetery or at the parish.

 

Holdings:  Interment cards for individuals, and also lot cards.  These will not be photocopied, but the information will be provided verbally.  As of August 1, 2003 the cards can no longer be examined by visitors to the Albany Diocesan Cemetery Office located at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands.  It has records for the following ten cemeteries in Albany Co. and Rensselaer Co.  Records for the three cemeteries in Rensselaer Co. were maintained by St. Mary's Cemetery (in Troy) until 2 Jan 2004.  

 

ALBANY COUNTY

     Our Lady of Angels Cemetery - Albany

     St. Agnes Cemetery - Cohoes

     Calvary Cemetery - Glenmont

     Our Lady Help of Christians Cemetery - Glenmont

     St. Agnes Cemetery - Menands

     Immaculate Conception Cemetery - Watervliet

     St. Patrick's Cemetery - Watervliet

RENSSELAER COUNTY

     St. Jean de Baptiste Cemetery - Troy

     St. John's Cemetery - North Troy

     St. Mary's Cemetery - Troy

 

Fees:  There is no fee for directions to a gravestone in any of the ten cemeteries for which this office has records (see list above).  For genealogy requests there may be a fee.  

     Written requests (use Genealogy Research Assistance form):  $5 per name & $30 /hour

     Walk-in requests for genealogical information:  It is a very busy office which operates ten cemeteries, so you may not get the information you seek at that time.  Interment cards give things like date of death and burial, address at death, perhaps age at death, perhaps birth date.  Interment cards are not photocopied, but the information may be given to you without a charge.  There is a $5 fee for a photocopy of a lot card which gives the names of all persons buried in the lot.  

     Appointment with staff researcher:  $30 per hour

 

Website:    http://www.rcdacemeteries.org             

Website:  http://www.rcdacemeteries.org/albany_catholic_cemeteries.html  (for map & information on 15 diocesan cemeteries in Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady Counties)

 

Email:        rick.touchette@rcda.org                        (Richard N. Touchette, Director)

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ALBANY RURAL CEMETERY

(518-463-7017)  [Cemetery Avenue, Menands, NY 12204]  Office hours:  M-Th 8:30-4:30, Fri  8:30-4, Sat 8:30-12.  Cemetery gate hours:  Summer: 7:30-7 p.m.  After the clock moves back in October, 7:30-4:30.

 

The main cemetery entrance is located on Broadway (Route 32) in Menands, just north of the city of Albany.  Earliest recorded burial was 1845, but many other cemeteries had their occupants transferred to Albany Rural as the cemetery property was put to other use.  Some of those people died earlier.  On individual file cards, the office has records for about 101,000 graves.   You will be allowed to look at the cards.  There are also plot cards that list everyone buried in the plot (valuable for finding relatives with an unexpected surname) and also plot diagrams.  As the city of Albany grew, many of its cemeteries in the business district were evicted.  A great number of the remains were removed to Albany Rural Cemetery, even Catholic cemetery remains.

 

Fees (by mail):  $2 for photocopy of a single card, front and back.  $1 per individual thereafter.

Photocopies (in person):  $1 for 1-4 cards photocopied both sides.

 

Website:  none (but webpages have been made about the cemetery)

                 http://home.flash.net/%7Eleimer/albany.html

                 http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Dunes/6663/    many photos of tombstones

Email:      none

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BETHLEHEM PUBLIC LIBRARY
(518-439-9314)  [451 Delaware Ave., Delmar, NY 12054]  Hours: M-F 9-9, Sat 10-5.  Sun 1-5, but closed Sundays from Father's Day to Labor Day.

 

Has a very nice collection of genealogical materials for Albany Co. including censuses of the Town of Bethlehem.  Also has indexes to: census, land, immigration and military records.  If you visit the site, be sure to look at both sides of the free-standing shelves.

 

Photocopies: $.10 per page

 

Website:    http://www.bethlehempubliclibrary.org  

Email:        watsona@uhls.lib.ny.us

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

.

LATTER DAY SAINTS -  FAMILY HISTORY CENTER

(518-463-2566)  [411 Loudonville Road (Route 9), Loudonville, NY 12211]  (About a mile north of Albany.  It is located on the east (right) side of route 9 between the first and second traffic lights north of Memorial Hospital, which is very near the northern border of Albany.  The church is barely visible from the road if leaves are on the trees.  Turn at the low, red-brick framed sign on the lawn, but not at the road's edge.  The facility is about four miles from the NY State Library.  Coming from Latham, it is about 3 miles south on the left side of route 9, about 50 yards or so past the traffic light at Osborne Rd.)  

Hours: Tue & Thu 10-8.  Wed & Fri 10-2 (no longer open on Sat).  History Center is closed every year from about the last week of June through the first week of July.  Not open when winter weather conditions are hazardous.  Closed unexpectedly at other times.  Staffed by volunteers.  Always call ahead, although if they are closed, you won't get a message saying so (Nov 2002).  Alternate phone numbers listed for other offices in the church:  434-6931 and 463-4581.

 

On CD: The LDS Ancestral Files (wonderful collection of data), a catalog of microfilms available for rental from the headquarters in Utah, Social Security records, some passenger lists, a few Family Tree Maker CDs (including NY marriages, Ontario census index for 1871, British Isles marriages and births)

On microfiche: records for many foreign countries.

 

They have reasonably priced forms used by genealogists, research guidelines for beginners, research outlines for various states, and more.  Their book collection is small, made up mainly of donated books.

 

Photocopies: $.25 per page from books or microfilm; $.10 per computer page

 

Website (national): http://www.familysearch.org

Email (local)            none

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 RENSSELAERVILLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

(518-797-3194 to contact Janet Haseley / 518-797-3724 to contact Edith Kuhar)  [P.O. Box 8, Rensselaerville, NY 12147.]  (Location:  in the Rensselaerville Grist Mill at the bridge in the hamlet of Rensselaerville, 27 miles southwest of Albany at the end of Rt. 85.  Turn right and grist mill is on the left just before the bridge.)  Hours: Wednesdays 10-3 (mid-May through mid-October).  Saturdays 2-4 (Memorial Day through Labor Day)

Research Collection (click on name for more details):  They have about 50 looseleaf notebooks of handwritten genealogy information and many miscellaneous notes on present and former residents of the Town of Rensselaerville.  There are twelve handwritten looseleaf notebooks containing information on people buried in local cemeteries.  Seven "Deeds and Leases" notebooks have information on property transfers and "Great Lot" numbers with dates and names of owners.  These latter are not complete for all owners or all years, however.

The collection also includes many boxes of clippings, programs, ledgers and much miscellaneous information on the present and past history and culture of this rural Hilltown area which was settled in 1787.

Mill Tours:  available for individuals and groups. 

 

The Grist Mill is the only remaining water-powered mill of many that once served this area.  It was built in 1880 on the site of the first mill built in 1789.  There a scenic 100-foot Rensselaerville Falls nearby on the E.N. Huyck Preserve.  The entire hamlet of Rensselaerville is on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.  

Searches:  There is no specific charge for research done on your behalf.  It is, however, customary to make a donation.  There is no daily use fee for visitors.

 

Photocopies:  $.15 per page (next door at the Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve office, open weekdays only)


Related Websites:  http://www.uhls.org/NICHE/RvRsrchColl.htm

                                 http://www.uhls.org/NICHE/RvOnline.htm

Email:      Edhase@aol.com (to contact Janet Haseley)

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WESTERLO (TOWN OF) PUBLIC LIBRARY

(518-797-3415)  [P.O. Box 267, Westerlo, NY 12193]  (See website for directions to library.)  Hours:  Mon 2-6, Tue 2-8, Wed 9-2, Thu 3-6, Sat 9-2.  

 

Holdings:  Binders of nearly complete cemetery records transcribed from existing tombstones by Thurman Bishop, Jr. (earlier cemetery records were lost in a fire).   There are family folders and incomplete birth and marriage records.  There are school records (trustee and commissioner reports, etc.) which contain names of teachers and other adults, but apparently not of students.  There are some records put together for the period around 1892 when NY did a skimpy census that missed most rural communities like Westerlo.  There are some earlier census information as well (no microfilms).  There is information from a 1916 farm directory.

 

Robert M. Duchow (pronounced Duco) is the current Town Historian (518-797-3624, P.O. Box 215, Westerlo, NY 12193).  He has his own collection of records which he is willing to share with researchers who would like to meet him at the library.  Special hours can sometimes be arranged.

 

Research Fees:  Requests for information are turned over to the Town Historian.

Photocopies:  $.20  

 

Website:  http://www.uhls.org/uhls/wstr.html

Email     :  none

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

COLUMBIA COUNTY - formed in 1786 from Albany Co.

COLUMBIA COUNTY CLERK'S OFFICE  

(518-828-3339)  [560 Warren St., Hudson, NY 12534]  Hours: M-F 9-5


Holdings:  Censuses (1790-1925), old atlases containing names of property owners, deeds and mortgages, some immigration records, veterans' discharges, five books of mg. records 1908-1934, DBAs, incorporations, judgements, liens, county court proceedings.  Birth, marriage and death information is kept at the Town, city or village level.

 

Searches: none

Photocopies: $.25 per page

 

Website:  None

Email:      lewicki@govt.co.columbia.ny.us

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

COLUMBIA COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY    [revised:  5 Aug 2009]

(518-758-9265)  [5 Albany Ave., P.O. Box 311, Kinderhook, NY 12106]  (It is about 22 miles from Albany, located in the same building as the Columbia Co. Museum.)  Hours: Monday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 10-4.  Sunday 12-4.  Closed Tuesday & Wednesday.  May close for January as they did in 2009, and they may close at other times if they are unexpectedly short-staffed.  On any day, it is best to call ahead if you want to be sure that they are open.  

 

They have excellent resources for the county, but they have no census records.  They provide no microfilm readers or computers.  They do have wireless internet service if you bring a laptop computer that can connect to wireless service.  

 

They have about 70 books of church baptism and marriage records (some for adjoining counties), and many books of an historical nature.  

 

They have about 50 books of cemetery records.  Lawrence V. Rickard made indexes for the 33 books that had no index of their own, then combined them into a single Master Index.  Fred R. Saar created a master index for the remaining cemetery books.  The indexes list the book and page number for each person included.  They are real time-savers when used at the Society.  With permission, I put the Rickard Index online in 2000, and the Saar Index will be online in late 2010 or 2011.  

 

There are file cabinets of vital records on 3x5 cards.  Some of this material is from newspaper marriage announcements or obituaries from long ago and can't be found in any book (they are sometimes difficult to interpret).  Especially valuable are the 1600+ surname folders which contain correspondence from interested researchers and sometimes even family trees that have been submitted by the researchers or constructed by CCHS volunteer genealogists of the past.  I will post an index to the surname folders when I put the Saar Index online.

 

Searches:  As of 1 Feb 2010,  there is a flat fee of $25 for research that takes more than a few minutes.  Up to 10 free photocopies are included.  There is an additional minimum fee of $5 for shipping.

 

Admission fee:  $5 per day except for members of the Society and students.

 

Photocopies: $.25 per page for non-members, $.15 per page for members.

 

Website:    http://www.cchsny.org/   (look for Research)

                   http://www.cchsny.org/coll_links_genealogy.html  (from past site, but useful; fees not updated May '10)

Email:        cchs@cchsyn.org

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

COLUMBIA COUNTY SURROGATE'S COURT

(518-828-0414)  [401 Union St., Hudson, NY 12534]  Hours: M-F 9-5


They have wills, letters of administration, letters testamentary, and guardianship papers.

 

Searches:  The statewide fee is $90 for the search by a Surrogate's Court for any document over 25 years old, and $30 for a document 25 years old or less.  A failed search costs the same.  The photocopy fee is extra.  Original wills and large books of handwritten copies of wills can be viewed at the Surrogate Court, but there is no public photocopier.

 

Photocopies: $1 per page for uncertified copies of any document.  There is no public copier.

 

Website:  http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/3jd/Surrogates/Index.htm      (general information)

Email:      None

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

HENDRICK HUDSON CHAPTER OF THE D.A.R.

(518-828-9764)  [113 Warren St., Hudson, NY 12534]  Hours: Sun-Mon 1-3 in July & August, and by appointment (other times and months).  [For more information contact Dorothy Avery at 518-851-9049)]

 

This chapter of the DAR has records that are open to the public.  They can be viewed in the Robert Jenkins House Museum and Library.  There is no fee for the use of the library (donations are accepted).  View the website to see the beauty of this building's interior.

 

Resources:  Marriages and obituaries have been retyped from Hudson newspapers (1842-1872) and indexed (to surname only).  All cemeteries in Columbia Co. have been recently transcribed, thus adding much information to what was already known from the cemetery transcriptions of the first half of the 20th century.  A surname index has been prepared.  They have family genealogies and a library of books including transcribed church records for the county, histories of Columbia and nearby counties, and Roberts' "New York in the Revolution".

 

Searches:  no charge, but donations accepted

Photocopies: $.25 per page

 

email:  dottiea@mhonline.net

website:  http://www.mhonline.net/~mhmjm/HENHUD1.html

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

GREENE COUNTY - formed in 1800 from Albany; received part of Ulster counties in 1812

COXSACKIE TOWN CLERK'S OFFICE

(518-731-2727)  [16 Reed St., Coxsackie, NY 12051]  Hours: M-F 9-4.


They have birth and death records for the Town of Coxsackie, but not for the Village of Coxsackie.  They have marriage records for the whole Town, if a license was obtained at the Town level (the Village does not issue marriage licenses).  Their birth, death and marriage records begin in 1884.  For church marriages, they will have no record unless a marriage license was first obtained from the Town.

 

Searches: $10 per record (genealogy)   [30 Oct 2003]

Photocopies: no extra fee for copy

 

Website:    http://www.coxsackie.org

Email:        info@coxsackie.org

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

COXSACKIE VILLAGE CLERK'S OFFICE

(518-731-2718) [119 Mansion St., Coxsackie, NY 12051]  Hours: M-F 8-4.


Birth and death records begin in 1897 (prior records burned). No Marriage records.

 

Searches: $11 per record (genealogy)    [30 Oct 2003]

Photocopies: no extra charge

 

Website:  None

Email:      None

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GREENE COUNTY CLERK'S OFFICE

(518-943-2050)  [320 Main St., P.O. Box 446, Catskill, NY 12414]  Hours: M-F 8:30-5.

 

Holdings:  Has deeds, mortgages, censuses conducted by the state of NY, petitions for citizenship, and complete marriage records for the county for 1908-1934 and part of 1935.  Vital records certificates are obtained from the individual Town, City, or Village in which the event was recorded (waiting time about 2 weeks) or from the NYS Health Dept. (waiting time about 6 months).

 

One complication is that the southern part of the county was formed in 1812 from Ulster Co.  Deeds, mortgages, census data, etc. for the southern part of the county will be filed in Ulster Co. for the period before 1812.

 

Searches: none

Photocopies:  $.25 per page

 

Website:  None

Email:      None

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GREENE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (VEDDER MEMORIAL RESEARCH LIBRARY)

(518-731-1033)  [Box 64, Coxsackie, NY 12051]  (located just off Rt. 9W, 3 3/4 mi. south of NYS Thruway exit 21B. It is on Peter Bronck Rd which is about 1˝ mi. south of where Rte 81 crosses Rte 9W.)  Hours: Tue-Wed 10-4, 1st & 3rd Thu 7-9, 1st Sat 9-12.


They have surname folders, censuses on microfilm, church records, cemetery and undertaker records, court records, etc.  They have the county's wills (both originals and the official books of transcribed wills) from 1800-1919.  They have an index of the county's wills from 1800-1930 or later.

 

One complication is that the southern part of the county was formed in 1812 from Ulster Co.  Wills, deeds, mortgages, etc. for that part of the county will be filed in Ulster Co. for the period before 1812.

 

They have a large library of books which cannot be browsed.  You must use card catalog to order a book, which is retrieved immediately.

 

Searches: $25 per search

Photocopies: $.25 per page

 

Website:    http://www.gchistory.org

Email:        info@gchistory.org

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GREENE COUNTY SURROGATE'S COURT

(518-943-2484)  [320 Main St., Catskill, NY 12414]  Hours: M-F 9-5.

 

Holdings:  Index of wills for 1800-present, although they only have actual wills from 1920-present which can be viewed by the public.  The Vedder Memorial Research Library (see below) also has the index for 1800-1930 or later, as well as the pre-1920 will books (libers) and books of Letters of Administration.  Vedder can make copies for you at a much lower fee.  Pre-1800 wills are filed in Albany Co., from which Greene Co. partially formed in 1800.  The southern part of the county was formed in 1812 from Ulster Co.  Wills for that part of the county will be filed in Ulster Co. for the period before 1812.

 

Searches:  The statewide fee is $90 for the search by a Surrogate's Court for any document over 25 years old, and $30 for a document 25 years old or less.  A failed search costs the same.  The photocopy fee is extra.  

 

Photocopies:  $1 per page

 

Website:  http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/3jd/Surrogates/Index.htm      (general information)

Email:      None

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

MONTGOMERY COUNTY    - Tryon Co. was renamed Montgomery Co. in 1784.  Before

                                                                               1772, it had been part of Albany Co.


MONTGOMERY COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY AND ARCHIVES (518-853-8186 or fax 518-853-8392) 

[P. O. Box 1500, Fonda, NY 12068-1500] (located in the Old Court House)  Hours: for Sep-Jun, M-F 8:30-4.  Jul-Aug M-F 9-4.  

Holdings:  Of the sites in this Guide, this one is second only to the NYS Library.  It has a 169-page catalog of its holdings ($10 plus $2 shipping), which covers counties all around the state.  It has an impressive collection of church and cemetery records which are made especially valuable by the indexes that were created for books that lacked them.  Their Montgomery Co. collection is much better than that of the NYS Library.  They also have very good collections for Schoharie, Schenectady and Fulton counties.  To see an online list of some of their holdings, click here and then choose Departments, then Dept. of History and Archives.

There are published genealogies and also family folders.  The latter are not arranged by surname and are not as good as at some other sites in this Guide.  They have 1850-1860 census microfilms for almost the entire state outside of New York City.  They have an 1870 collection for nearby counties.  For Montgomery Co., the censuses include 1790-1925.

 

Indexes have so far been prepared for over 12,000 Montgomery Co. court documents.  Every name mentioned in the documents appears in the indexes.  The types of documents include guardianships, bail bond postings, arrest warrants, insolvencies, etc. (documents are from the County Court, Supreme Court, Court of Common Pleas, perhaps other courts).  One volunteer has been working on this project for over ten years.

 

Searches:  $20 per hour, plus cost of copies.  There could be an 8-10 week wait due to a backlog of requests.
Photocopies: $.25 per page


Newest Website:   
http://www.co.montgomery.ny.us/historian/  

Email:                      kfarquhar@co.montgomery.ny.us  

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

RENSSELAER COUNTY - formed in 1791 from Albany Co.  (prior records are in Albany Co.)

 

There are four genealogical facilities in the city of Troy, all within about 100 yards of each other.  There is a fifth just two blocks away.  

BRUNSWICK HISTORICAL SOCIETY  (518-279-4024)  [Location: Garfield School on Route 2 in the hamlet of Eagle Mills (2-3 miles east of Troy).  Mailing address: P.O. Box 1776, Cropseyville, NY 12052]  Hours: Wed 12-2, Sat 10-3.  

 

Operates a visitors center and small local history/genealogical reference library.  Has many published family genealogies and local histories.  Also has microfilmed Federal and State census records of the Town of Brunswick (and any other towns on the same films).  There is a listing of many Brunswick cemetery burials, an extensive photograph collection, and a file of newspaper birth, death, and marriage notices beginning in 1960.  For more information, see "Genealogy" on their website.

 

For a map to locate BHS, see their website.  Choose Contact.

 

Searches:  small fee

 

Website:  http://www.brunswickhistory.cjb.net/

Email:      szankel@aol.com

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CASTLETON VILLAGE CLERK'S OFFICE / GENEALOGY ROOM
(518-732-2211)  [P.O. Box 126, Castleton, NY 12033]  Hours: Tue 9:30-12 & 1-3 (for genealogy), or 

M-F 9-3 (regular office hours).

Located in the Town of Schodack, about three miles from the Schodack Reformed Church (Muitzeskill, NY).  They have surname folders for many Schodack families and Castleton censuses beginning in 1895.  The Castleton genealogist will be there to help you and to get materials for you.  There are no genealogy books.

Searches:  Maria Rieben, the volunteer, will do searches in the surname folders. She will photocopy pertinent materials at $.25 per page and mail them to you. After receipt of them, it is expected that you will reimburse the mailing and copying costs. It is also appropriate to make a $10-20 donation depending on the extent of the help that you got.

Photocopies (onsite): $.25 for copies 1-9, $.10 for copies after the first 9

Website:  none

Email:      none

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NASSAU FREE LIBRARY

(518-766-2715)  [P.O. Box 436, 18 Church Street, Nassau, NY 12123]  Open M-Tu-F 2-8, Th 10-12 & 6-8, Sat 10-12.


Holdings:  The Ralph Phillips Genealogy Collection  consists of four filing cabinets of about 1000 folders of surnames, specific families, his correspondence, etc.  Because of the filing system, a surname name might be the subject of more than one folder, and be located in different drawers and filing cabinets.   A list of folders is online.         http://www.uhls.org/niche/NaGenealogy.htm

The library has a small selection of genealogy and local history books.  They also have the 1876 F. W. Beers Atlas of Rennselaer Co. (showing houses and giving the surnames and initials of the owners) as well as copies of local church records and  5-6 notebooks of typed cemetery records (which may be included in the 93,000 online cemetery records posted on the Rensselaer Co. NYGenWeb site).

        http://www.rootsweb.com/~nyrensse/cem1.htm   

 

Jane Visconti, part-time employee of the library, owns the separate Robert Phillips Genealogy Collection.  By appointment, she will bring selected surname folders or books to the library for your use.  Ralph and Robert were identical twins. 


Searches:  contact the library for fees


Photocopies: $.15 per page

 

Website:  http://www.nassaufreelibrary.org/

Email:      Nass1@uhls.lib.ny.us

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

OAKWOOD CEMETERY

(518-272-7520)  [50 101st St., Troy, NY 12180]  Office Hours:  M-F 8-4:30.  Sat 8-12, but closed July & August.    Cemetery Gate Hours:  9-4:30 year round.  The north gate is closed during winter, but the other two gates remain open.  Make inquiries to Bernie Vogel.

 

Almost 60,000 graves.  There are a main office and a crematorium on opposite sides of the hill on which this cemetery was built.

 

Fees: $2 per individual or plot diagram.  Information is more than just the life dates.  1-1˝ weeks waiting time.  None of the records are open to viewing.

 

Note:  At this price, it is probably best to just pay for the records you want.  However, I should mention that the interments from 1851-1938 have been published in 1985 on five microfilms by the "Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah" and are present at the NYS Library (929.5097474 T864, 91-15255, reels 1-5).  The contents includes an index, but my guess (based on what was described to me by the caretaker) is that all of the names beginning with a certain letter of the alphabet would be arranged chronologically rather than alphabetically.  The microfilms are  described in the library's online catalog as follows: 

"Reel 1. Index of interments: A-Gemmill / Reel 2. Index of interments: Gemmill-Zwierzinski; Record of interments: v. 1 to v. 2, p. 369, 1851-1896 / Reel 3. Record of interments: v. 2, p. 370 to v. 3, 1896-1938; Plot books v. 1 to v. 2, p. 371 / Reel 4. Plot books: v. 2, p. 372 to v. 5 / Reel 5. Plot books: v. 6 to v. 7. "

 

Website:  http://www.oakwoodcemetery.org

Email:      none

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RENSSELAER COUNTY CLERK'S OFFICE

(518-270-4088)  [105 3rd St., Troy, NY 12180]  ( in the Rensselaer Co. Court House Annex)

Open M-W & F 9-5; Thu 9-7.


They have deeds, mortgages, naturalization records, divorces, and court papers such as law suits and trial records, criminal records, and powers of attorney.

 

They also have ledgers of US censuses for 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 as well as copies of the New York censuses for 1855, 1865, 1875, 1905, 1915, and 1925.  Although a New York census was also conducted in 1892, it was not done for all counties.  The NYS Archives does not have it on microfilm, which suggests that it was not performed in this county.  

 

Some of the census ledgers were falling apart in 1999.  One was being restored July 2008.  The books are very large and very heavy, and the photocopier in 1999 was smaller than the books.  Photocopying required at least two people and was nearly impossible without doing damage to the books.  It would be much better and easier to use the census microfilms at the Troy Public Library (within walking distance) unless a larger copier is now available.

 

Searches: none

Photocopies: $.25 per page

 

Website:  None

Email:      None

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RENSSELAER COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

(518-272-7232)  [59 2nd St., Troy, NY 12180]  Open February through December 23.  Hours for Research Library: Thu-Sat 12-5 and by appointment by leaving a message at extension 10.  Closed for six holidays and on the Saturdays prior to Monday holidays.  Closed for Thanksgiving week.  There may be closings on other occasions as well.  [Last revision 28 Sep 2009]

 

Holdings:  They have Troy city directories, some 19th century Rensselaer Co. directories, about 300 published surname genealogies, a file cabinet of surname folders (family history files), 12+ Blue Books (a social register that includes family members), 19th & 20th century maps, a large collection of photos, some business and organizational archives, some military records, some cemetery records, some church records, an abstract of Rensselaer Co. wills (about 1791-1850s), and published histories of Rensselaer Co. and Troy.  They also have a database index to the wills and letters testamentary of the Rensselaer Co. Surrogate's Court.  The index is for 1791-1910 and includes the deceased's name, the year of probate or filing, and the file number.  

 

They are in  possession of the actual wills and letters for that time period, but they are stored in a different location and are retrieved about once per week for people who have made a request to look at the original.  They also have the original Rensselaer Co. Almshouse records for 1875-1892, for which there is now an Index posted online by me.  Each record contains quite a bit of information.  Many of the poor were Irish immigrants who had fallen on tough times.

 

They are in the process (Nov 2001) of transcribing the names of the property owners found on the many maps of the 1876 Beers atlas of Rensselaer Co.

 

RCHS does not try to duplicate what the nearby Troy Public Library has.  It lacks censuses or microfilms or published books of church records.  However, the facility does do research (see fee below) which sometimes includes going nearby to the genealogy room of the Troy Public Library.

 

See photo of part of the front of the building.

 

Searches: $20 each, not limited to an hour.  Research form will be mailed to you.

Photocopies: $.25 per page

 

Website:    http://www.rchsonline.org

Email:        info@rchsonline.org            (general info) 

                   research@rchsonline.org    (research requests)   

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RENSSELAER COUNTY SURROGATE'S COURT

(518-270-3721)  [Rensselaer County Court House, 80 Second St., Troy, NY 12180]  (located at the corner of 2nd St. and Congress St.)  Open M-F 9-5.


They have wills, letters of administration, letters testamentary, guardianships and petitions.  The petitions include date of death, names of heirs, and who petitioned to become executor or administrator.  Everything but the index books is on microfilm.

 

Searches:  The statewide fee is $90 for the search by a Surrogate's Court for any document over 25 years old, and $30 for a document 25 years old or less.  A failed search costs the same.  For a successful search, they will inform you of the number of pages each in the will, letters of administration, letters testamentary, and petition for a particular person.  Then you decide how much of it you want copied.  

   The photocopy fee is extra.  Original wills and large books of handwritten copies of wills can be viewed.

 

Photocopies: $1 per page for uncertified copies of any document.  There is no public copier.

 

Website:  http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/3jd/Surrogates/Index.htm      (general information)

Email:      None

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TROY CITY HALL, VITAL STATISTICS DEPARTMENT  

(518-270-4587)  [1 Monument Square, Troy, NY 12180]  Open M-F 8:30-4:30.

 

Holdings:  Birth, Marriage and Death records beginning in 1881.  They have all births entered into their computer so that they can print off an abbreviated birth certificate for legal uses.  However, for genealogical research, a genealogy copy must be requested.


Searches:  They will make copies of their vital records for $22 each (for genealogical purposes).  They will only do a 1-2 year search per request.  They don't charge anything unless they find the person you are interested in.


Website:  none

Email:      none

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


TROY PUBLIC LIBRARY (main branch)

(518-274-7071)  [100 2nd St., Troy, NY 12180]  Open M-Tu 9-9, W-F 9-5. Sat is 10-5 except the last Sat of June to Labor Day when it is 10-1.

 

There is a genealogy room that is small, but quite good for Troy and Rensselaer Co. records.  They have an excellent microfilm reader-printer.  Many microfilms and microfilm readers are in a large upstairs room.

 

Holdings:

Vital Records - Bound indexes for Troy and Lansingburgh newspapers 1787-1881 and 1901.  Card indexes for Troy newspapers from 1882-1900 (deaths and marriages) and 1975-1990 (births, marriages, deaths).  Books of church and tombstone records for Troy and Rensselaer Co.  "Burial Records: Troy Burial Grounds 1833-1891" on three microfilms (no index).  "Surname Index to Church, Cemetery and Miscellaneous Records Books".

Censuses for Rensselaer Co. - 1800-1920 US (every 10 years except 1890 which burned) on microfilm.  Also, 1790 in book form.  The NY censuses on microfilm are 1855, 1865, 1875, 1905, 1915, and 1925 (an 1892 census ignored this county).  Census indexes for 1790-1860 and 1890.

Troy City Directories (which at various times included Lansingburgh, Cohoes, Watervliet (West Troy), Waterford, and Green Island) - They began being published in 1829 and the library has copies of all that were published.  Some are in poor shape and must be requested if you want to look at them.  Death dates were listed for the period about 1880-1960.  They also have many Albany city directories.

Newspapers - bound or on microfilm.

Other - Many laminated maps, Scrapbook Index, Local History and Portrait Indexes, Special Collections (photographs, pamphlets, etc.). 

 

Booklets (can be photocopied and mailed to you):

1)  Finding Your Ancestors At The Troy Public Library  (17 pages, 1993)  $3

2)  Rensselaer Co. From the Inside Out - A Selected Bibliography of Local History Sources  (10 pages, 1993)  $2

3)  Troy in Rensselaer Co. - A Guide to Local History Resources at the Troy Public Library (18 pages, 1994)  $3

 

Searches: $25 for up to one hour of research time, 4 pages of photocopies, and postage.  Each additional hour of research is $20.00; each additional copy is $.10.  There could be an additional postage charge if needed.  Check website for any revisions of this policy.  It would probably make more sense to use the research services of the Rensselaer Co. Historical Society (see below) whose experienced genealogist does much of its research at this library. 

 

Photocopies: $.25 per page, $.10 per microfilm frame

 

Website:    http://www.uhls.org/troy

Email:        troyref@uhls.lib.ny.us

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

SCHENECTADY COUNTY -- formed in 1809 from Albany Co.

 

ALBANY ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESE - SCHENECTADY CEMETERY OFFICE    [Revised 27 Jan 2012]

(518-374-5319)  2501 Troy Road, Niskayuna, NY 12309 [at Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery].  Hours: M-F 8:30-4:00 except church and civil holidays.  

 

Has records for 5 cemeteries including:

     St. Anthony's Cemetery - Glenville

     Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery - Niskayuna

     St. Mary's Cemetery - Schenectady

     Holy Cross Cemetery - Rotterdam

     Sts. Cyril & Method Cemetery - Rotterdam

 

This office is overseen by the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese Cemetery Office in Menands (Albany Co.). 

 

EFNER HISTORY CENTER & ARCHIVES FOR THE CITY OF  SCHENECTADY

(518-382-5088)  [Top Floor of City Hall, 105 Jay St., Schenectady, NY 12305]  Hours:  MWF 9-1.

 

Holdings:  One file cabinet of genealogical material, mainly concerning the Dutch families which settled the Schenectady area.  They have a list of Schenectady people who served in World War I, and manuscripts concerning the Pissner family.  They have city directories from 1841-1960s.  The center primarily has historical information about Schenectady.  The have maps and old photos, as well as information about businesses, industry, transportation and education.

 

Searches:  none

Photocopies:  free

 

Website:  none

Email:      HsCenter@nycap.rr.com

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MOST HOLY REDEEMER CEMETERY

(518-374-5319, FAX:  374-1820)  [Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery, 2501 Troy Road, Niskayuna, NY 12309]  Hours of Office:  M-F 8:30-4, Sat 9-12.  Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery gates are open throughout the year from dawn to dusk.

 

Fees:  1)  See write-up for Albany Roman Catholic Diocese - Cemetery Office (generally, it is $10 for information

                      on 1-5 interment cards)

           2)  Lot card information would be considered to be the same as the information from a single interment

                      card.  This means that you could request information on 4 of the people mentioned on the lot card

                      without incurring an additional fee.  

           3)  For a failed search, there is no fee.

 

This office has the records for the following five cemeteries in Schenectady County.

 

Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery - Niskayuna

St. Anthony's Cemetery - Glenville

Sts. Cyril & Method Cemetery - Rotterdam

Most Holy Cross Cemetery - Rotterdam

St. Mary's Cemetery - Schenectady

 

Fees:  Same as those of the Menands office.

 

Website:    http://www.rcdacemeteries.org             (general)

Website:  http://www.rcdacemeteries.org/albany_catholic_cemeteries.html   (map)

 

Email:        helene.bennedum@rcda.org       (Helene Bennedum, Assistant Manager)

                   tim.putorti@rcda.org                  (Tim Putorti, Assistant Director of Cemeteries

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SCHENECTADY CITY CLERK'S OFFICE / BUREAU OF VITAL RECORDS

(518-382-5199 ext. 5300 or 382-5034)  [City Hall, Schenectady, NY 12305]  Hours: M-F 9-5 (possibly 8-4 Jul-Aug)

 

They have city of Schenectady births and deaths beginning in 1882.  They also have marriage licenses from 1882 that were issued in the city, although the marriage could have taken place anywhere in the state.

 

Searches: $11 per person (whether found or not).  They can do a computer search for the name to see if they can supply the certificate.  

 

Photocopies: no extra fee

 

Website:  None

Email:      None

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SCHENECTADY COUNTY CLERK'S OFFICE
(518-388-4220)  [620 State St., Schenectady, NY 12305]  Hours: Sep-Jun 9-5, Jul-Aug 9-4.

They have marriage records from 1908-1930.  For other years, you must contact the appropriate city or town clerk.  They also have state censuses, naturalizations and declarations of intent, deeds, mortgages, judgments, tax and other liens, law suits, powers of attorney, civil case files, etc.

Searches:  $5 per each two years searched in any category of records.  Photocopy fee is usually included.

Photocopies:  $.25

Website:    http://www.capital.net/~schdyclk
Email:        schdyclk@capital.net

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


SCHENECTADY COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

(518-374-0263)  [32 Washington Ave., Schenectady, NY 12305]  Hours M-F 1-5, Sat 9-12.  Closed major holidays.


There is a user's fee of $5 for non-members.  They have a large number of surname (family) folders which include information collected by Howard A. McConville.  Sometimes he constructed a genealogy of a family.  To see a list of which surnames are represented, go to http://www.schist.org/fammenu.htm  .  

They have a very nice library of books, including many books of church and cemetery records.  There are also some periodicals such as the Valley Quarterlies (index is on CD) and NYG&BR.  They have such specialties as the Rev. Toll's lost baptism records for Montgomery Co. (found in their archives and transcribed by Donald A. Keefer).


Microfilm holdings include all Schenectady Co. censuses that are available, censuses for most of New York State for 1850 and 1900, Schenectady Co. wills, Schenectady city directories, etc.  

On computer they have a 26,000 person genealogy of the Mabee family.


Searches: $20 per hour (see website for further details).

Photocopies: $.20 per page

 

Website:    http://www.schist.org/

Email:        librarian@schist.org

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SCHENECTADY CO. SURROGATE'S COURT

(518-388-4293)  [612 State St., Schenectady, NY 12305]  Hours: M-F 9-5


Holdings:  wills, letters of administration and testamentary, guardianships.  Microfilmed wills can be viewed.

 

Searches:  The statewide fee is $90 for the search by a Surrogate's Court for any document over 25 years old, and $30 for a document 25 years old or less.  A failed search costs the same.  For a successful search, they will inform you of the number of pages each in the will, letters of administration, letters testamentary, and petition for a particular person.  Then you decide how much of it you want copied at $.25 per page.  

 

Photocopies: $.25 per page for uncertified copies of any document.  

 

Website:  None

Email:      None

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

VALE CEMETERY 

(518-346-0423)  [907 State St., Schenectady, NY 12307]  Office hours: M-F 8-4:30, but you may have to look for caretaker or other employee in the cemetery.   Gate hours: none.  Access not seasonal. 

 

Earliest burial was in 1857, but there are older stones which had been moved to Vale Cem. from other cemeteries.  There are approximately 45,000 people buried here.

 

Holdings:  They have burial cards, lot cards (including diagram), and finance cards.  The older burial cards generally contained the name of the deceased, date and place of death, age at death, cause of death and funeral director.  Relationships to other people are generally not given.  The cards are open to the public for viewing.  They can be photocopied; donation accepted.

 

Search Fees:  none, but they request donations

Website: none

Email: none

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

MASSACHUSETTS

BERKSHIRE ATHENAEUM (PITTSFIELD PUBLIC LIBRARY)

(413-499-9480)  [1 Wendell Avenue  Pittsfield, MA 01201-6305]  Regular Hours (Sep-June): Mon & Fri 9-5.  Tue, Wed, Thu 9-9.  Sat 10-5.  Summer Hours (July & August): Mon, Wed, Fri 9-5.  Tue & Thu 9-9.  Sat 10-5.


This facility is about 35 miles from Albany.  Directions from Albany are on their website.

 

In addition to their excellent collection of materials of interest to researchers of New England and Eastern New York genealogy, they received "71,000 reels of film" and a large number of books when the nearby National Archive closed 1 Oct 2010.  The microfilms can be viewed in the area known as the "Local History Collection".  

The Library shared with me a database of over 500 sets of microfilms which the NARA had in their possession.  Most, but not all, of those are now at the Berkshire Athenaeum.  From the database, I selected the following as representative of their probable holdings that would list New Yorkers.  Keep in that most of their holdings are for states outside of New York.

The microfilms that mention New Yorkers probably include:

U.S. censuses: 1790-1920

City Directories of the U.S. - 1927-1932

Naturalization Index, USDC, Eastern District of NYC, 1865-1957

Arrivals into U.S. (both land and ship entry): Passenger & Crew Lists various ports and date ranges

Registers of Vessels Arriving at New York - 1789-1902

Passport Applications, 1795-1905

Revolutionary War: Muster Rolls, Naval Service Records, Ledgers of Pension Payments, etc.

Revolutionary War Bounty Land Warrants under Acts 1788, 1803 and 1806

Army Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteers, 1784-1811

War of 1812: Military Bounty Land Warrants, Index to Prisoners of War

Military, Negro in the United States, 1600s-1900s

Soldiers Home Registers, 1866-1938

WWI Draft Cards, New York (and New England States)

 

The Athenaeum does NOT have Civil War and Spanish-American military records

 

National Archive materials must be retrieved from the basement storage area.  If a request is made from 9-1 a.m., the item will be available by 3 p.m. that day.  If a request is made 1 p.m. or later, the item may not be available for use until the next day.  If a phone request is made two days before, the item will be available in the morning of the day you would like to use it.  Read the following webpage for more information.   

 

They have books of New York vital records (baptisms/births, marriages, and deaths), including a collection of books edited by Royden Woodward Vosburgh (many of which are for church records published only by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society; the NYS Library has a similar collection).

 

Don Lutes has prepared an index of New York State and other names found in the many books at the Athenaeum through which he has looked line by line.  These are in a database available at the library.  It is called the Berkshire Family History Association Database.  The database can be searched by surname only (to show all occurences of a surname), or by surname and given name in order to find a specific individual.

 

Photocopies: $.10 per page (8˝x11z or 11x17)

 

Website:  http://www.pittsfieldlibrary.org/index.html

E-mail:     pittsref@cwmars.org

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

VERMONT

BENNINGTON MUSEUM’S GENEALOGY/HISTORY LIBRARY

(802-447-1571)  [West Main Street, Bennington, VT 05201]  Hours: June 1-October 31 Mon-Sat 11-5; January 1-May 31 Thu, Fri, Sat 11-5.

 

There is an admission charge to the museum for non-members.  Once inside, access to the library is free.  Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $13 per family. 

 

Holdings:  Their collection includes well over 4,000 published genealogies, the 206-volume American Genealogical-Biographical Index, the 150-volume New England Historic-Genealogical Society Register, the International Genealogical Index, Hemenway's Vermont Gazetteer, census indexes, town histories, many vital records, cemetery records, Revolutionary and Civil War rosters, and much more. 

 

Their emphasis is New England, but being so close to New York, they also have some materials for New York, especially it's nearby eastern counties.  They have Vermont vital records on microfilm for the 1760s to 1908.  As the Vermont population grew, many people migrated to New York, so it is possible that Vermont was the home of your ancestors.  

 

They own the set of Holland Purchase Records in western NY (early 19th century) which names all of the people who purchased land in that area.  For NY they have some county and town histories (including Rensselaer Co.).  They have the "New York State Area Key", a handbook of genealogical data for the whole state (but does not contain records).  It gives such information as census statistics, where to locate records, etc. 

 

Searches: done for a donation to cover the time spent, and expense of photocopies and mailing.

 

Photocopies:  $.10

 

Website:  http://www.benningtonmuseum.com/gene.html

Email:  genealogylibrary@benningtonmuseum.com

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FINAL NOTES & RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Many of NY's present counties (plus the state of Vermont) formed from Albany Co.  If you are seeking information on ancestors, Albany Co. will hold the governmental records for the period before those counties formed.


In New York State (outside of New York City) there are usually two places to obtain birth, marriage or death certificates ($22).  You can get them at the state level from the NYS Dept. of Health (6-8 week wait for mailed requests (Feb 2006), or a 2-3 week wait for applications made at the NYS Archives).  The other option is to get the certificate from the village, city or town that supplied the information to the state (usually about a 2-3 week wait).  

 

Where Should You Order Certificates? - The Pros and Cons

 

1)  Some local governments don't charge anything if the search finds nothing, but the NYS Dept. of Health and most cities charge the full fee.  

 

2)  The state looks only for the spelling that you give them, whereas most local government offices will look for spelling variations.  Long ago, the state prepared a typed index from the handwritten certificates.  It is now on microfiche at five offices in the state.  When the handwriting was difficult to read, the index occasionally had the wrong spelling of a surname entered into it.  

 

From their index, I ordered over 200 certificates in about 2003.  As I recall, about five of them had spellings that were different enough that they were a different surname altogether.  In those cases, if you had ordered the spelling on the certificate, the state would charged you $22 because they could not find the certificate in their index.  

 

As a result of 1 & 2, you can see that there seems to be a clear advantage if you order from the local office.  BUT, read on.   

 

3)  The state has the original handwritten certificate.  On marriage certificates, it contains signatures of the bride and groom.  On death certificate, it will contain the informant's signature.  The informant might be a parent, or spouse, or other relative.  On birth certificates, it may be the doctor's or midwife's signature.  

 

Before sending the certificate to the state, information was copied into a local ledger.  Often, non-essential information like time of death, how long the doctor had been treating the illness, etc. were not transferred to the ledger.  When you order a certificate from the local office, the data will almost always come from the ledger.  

 

So, you are likely to get signatures and additional information if you order from the state, but are more likely to pay a fee if you don't get a certificate.  

 

Alternate Route

 

Go to a city in which the vital records indexes are located.  If you cannot go yourself, you may be able to hire a researcher or find a volunteer who will go to one of the five offices which have the index in 2006 (see entry above for the NYS Archives).  The index information will allow you to be sure of ordering the proper certificate.  In the case where the certificate has a different person from what is in the index, the state office will refund your money.

 

If you do not know the locality in which a person was born, married, or died, consulting the NYS Dept of Health vital records indexes can be essential.  However, too many births, marriages and deaths were not ever recorded locally or reported to the state.  But, for certificates which were indexed by the state with a seriously wrong spelling (and therefore not available at the state level), a check at the local level would be worthwhile.  

 

The NYS Dept. of Health has certificates for the whole state outside of New York City, but not for the cities of Albany, Buffalo and Yonkers before 1908 for marriages, and not before 1914 for births and deaths.

 

BIRTH CERTIFICATE CAUTION

The earliest birth certificates available at the state level are for the year 1881.  From 1881-1892, I have recorded 73 births of a particular surname from the state's birth index.  51% of them lacked the child's first name.  They listed only the sex.  For the period 1900-1910, 28 of 132 (21%) lacked a given name.  For 1914-1917, only 3 of 49 (6%) lacked a given name.  I don't have more recent data. 

_______________________________________________________

 

I hope that the information in this guide will help local residents and visitors alike.  And if you must do your genealogy from a long distance, knowing about the facilities listed above and what they offer should help you make decisions as to what organization would best meet your needs.  Sometimes you have to balance cost versus the time you would have to wait to receive the results.  I have included those factors whenever I knew them so that you could make informed decisions.

 

For those records that cannot be obtained by mail, internet, or telephone, there are local genealogists who work for a fee.  

 

If you find any errors in this Guide, I would appreciate hearing about them.  Just click on the email icon below.

 

Good luck in your genealogical research.

 

Cliff Lamere    Albany, NY

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Copyright 1999-2009 by Clifford W. Lamere)   The Guide to Albany Area Genealogical Resources can be freely copied or distributed to other individuals, one at a time, even though it is copyrighted.  It may not be republished in any form, posted on another website, or sent in its entirety to a mailing list.  Links to this webpage are welcome.

 

 

                      

Visitors since 14 Aug 2000