About Us

The County Historian's Office has reopened!

Please note our new health and safety protocols:

•    The office is open to the public by appointment only. Appointments can be scheduled by phone or email.

•    Please arrive on time. If you cannot make your appointment, notify us to cancel or reschedule.

•    Only one researcher will be permitted in the research room at a time. No guests are allowed.

•    Properly worn face masks are required at all times while in our facility.

•    Hands must be sanitized upon entry, and non-latex gloves will be provided to researchers to wear while handling materials.

•    If you have been outside of NYS in the past 14 days, you may not be permitted entry to our building. Please see latest guidance for travelers here: coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory

•    Remember, you can always submit a research request or call us for prompt, contact-free research assistance!

Mission

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
  • 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.
Research Room, 2017 (2)

Research Center

We are open to the public by appointment only.

Researchers with scholarly or 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 photocopying at a rate of $0.25/page. You may also view our rates for mailing copies here: Mailing Rates.


Resources

Records 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, 1790-1940, 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 2017, with the bulk between 1824 and 1989; 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 (thousands of images) pertaining to Livingston County. Over 1,500 postcards from every town in the county are also available. See our digital files policy
  • Special Collections
    • Personal and institutional collections, series, and subjects. Available for serious research by special advance request and permission. See our brand new Finding Aids page for highlighted collection abstracts and some full finding aids.
  • Tax Assessment Rolls
    • This office has scattered holdings from a few towns prior to about 1860. Contact us for more information.
  • Veterans’ Files
    • Information from the Revolutionary War to present (online). Some files include original photographs, military and biographical information, and newspaper clippings. The Veteran Services Agency Collection (World War I) could help La Verne Noyes Scholarship applicants attending these colleges. Order digital copies of Veterans’ Files files here: 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; all indexed online); and 
      2. Marriage license records and/or indices from the County Clerk between 1908 to 1926 (online) and available from familysearch.org.
    • 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 September 2020