The purpose of the Office of the County Historian is to collect, preserve, and interpret Livingston County's documentary heritage and manage historical records for the public.
Duties and Responsibilities
The County Historian:
- Provides guidance and support to the 17 town historians of Livingston County
- Assists the general public on research projects. Can't visit in person? Fill out our form here: Requesting Research. Know you want to order an image online? Fill out this form: Request Digital Copies
- Publishes a periodic newsletter, Out of the Archives
- Sets up displays on topics of historical significance
- Attends events
- Is available to give talks on subjects of historical interest to various groups. See list of topics.
The research center is free and open to the public. Drop-in hours are Monday - Friday from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and morning appointments are available by request. Contact us to schedule a visit.
Researchers with scholarly special projects are encouraged to contact the office ahead of time and make an appointment in order to be better served.
Some reference items may be available for copying at a rate of $0.25/page for photocopies or $0.50/page for microfilm. You may also view our rates for mailing copies here: Mailing Rates.
The following resources are available in the research center; those marked "online" have been indexed in the County Historian's Online Records Index:
- Cemetery Files - Survey of all marked graves in the county to 1885 (online); indexes to a 2005 photograph survey (click here); additional surveys and maps of assorted cemeteries;
- Census Records
- Federal: 1790 to 1930
- New York State Census (Livingston County only): 1855 (online), 1865 (partially online), 1875, 1892 (Town of Sparta only; online), 1915 (online), and 1925 (online)
- 1890 Special Census of Union Civil War Veterans and Widows
- All State and Federal census schedules are also indexed through familysearch.org; most original images are available for free.
- Church Records - as early as 1804, from various churches around the county (some indexed online)
- Coroner's Records - Coroner's Inquests, Coroner's Decisions, and related documents from 1906-1936 (bulk 1923-1936). Please contact us regarding specific cases.
- Family Files - Over 1,400 folders of correspondence, articles, and genealogy of local families
- Local History References
- Reference collection includes: County histories, town histories, directories, gazetteers, atlases, supervisors' proceedings, published genealogies, and more
- Subject binders include: buildings and homes, agriculture, businesses, cemeteries, Groveland Shakers, hotels / taverns / inns, military history, notable women, railroads, salt mines, schools, and others too numerous to mention
- Genesee Valley regional history: Genesee River, Genesee Valley Canal, Genesee Valley Greenway, Genesee Valley Hunt, pioneer settlement
- Maps - Early 19th- through 21st-century maps encompassing Livingston County and the Genesee Valley region. Some are available online:
- Naturalizations 1821 to 1954 - from 1821 to 1906, most holdings are declarations of intention and final orders; after 1906, the declaration of intention, petition, and certificates are all on file (indexed online);
- Newspapers on Microfilm - ranging from 1801 to 2014, with the bulk between 1824 and 2014; many are indexed for births, deaths, and marriages up to 1900 (indexes partially online). Recent obituaries indexed from 1989 to present;
- Photographs and Postcards - Large cataloged collection pertaining to Livingston County. Hundreds of postcards from every town in the county are also available. See our digital files policy;
- Special Collections - available for serious research by special advance request and permission;
- Veteran's Files - Veterans' information from the Revolutionary War to present (online). Some files in the archives include original photographs, military and biographical information, and newspaper clippings. You can order digital copies of these files via this form: Requesting Digital Copies.
- Vital Records - This office does not hold official birth, death, and marriage certificates, with two exceptions: 1) Town Clerks' returns for birth, marriage, and death records for Caledonia through York, 1847 to 1849 (none for Avon or Ossian; some scattered); and 2) marriage records and/or indices from the County Clerk between 1908 to 1926 (online). New York State did not require town clerks to keep birth, death, and marriage records until 1880; after this date, birth and death records are available from the local registrar of the municipality where the event occurred. Marriage records are available from the Town Clerk where the marriage license was issued. If the location of these events is unknown, check Reclaim the Records to access an index.
Updated February 2019