About Us - Research Center

The Research Center is open by appointment only! Contact us to schedule.

You can always submit your request online or call us for prompt, contact-free research assistance!

Mission

The purpose of the County Historian's Office is to collect, preserve, and interpret Livingston County's documentary heritage and manage historical records for the public.


Duties and Responsibilities

The County Historian:

  • Manages the county archives
  • Provides guidance and support to the 17 town historians of Livingston County
  • Assists the general public on research projects
  • Offers displays and programming on topics of historical significance
  • Attends events


Research Center

The Research Center is currently open to the public by appointment only. Please contact us to schedule. View the current Patron and Research Center Policy.

Can't visit in person? Fill out the Research Request Form.

Some reference items may be available for photocopying at a rate of $0.25/page. See reference item mailing rates.


Resources

Records marked "online" have been indexed in the County Historian’s Records Index:

  • Cemetery Files
    • Survey of all marked graves in the county to 1885 (online); indexes to a 2005 photograph survey; 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

Contact Us

  1. Holly Watson portrait

    Holly Watson, County Historian

    Email Holly Watson

    Madeline Friedler headshot

    Madeline Friedler, Deputy Historian

    Email Madeline Friedler


    Livingston County Historian's Office

    5 Murray Hill Drive, Mt. Morris, NY 14510 (Open Map)

    • Phone: 585-243-7955
    • Phone: 585-335-1730

    Hours

    Monday - Friday, 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

    * Research Center open by appointment only *

    Closed on legal holidays

    How are we doing? Fill out a Feedback Survey

  • As early as 1804, from various churches around the county (some indexed online; others available on our Church Records page); 
  • 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 present, 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. Most papers digitized on fultonhistory.com
  • 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 advance request and permission. See our Finding Aids page for highlighted collection abstracts and some full finding aids.

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Have something to donate?

We may be interested! Donations are assessed on historical significance, research value, and condition. Please contact us with any questions.

Accepted materials may include:

  • Letters, diaries, ledgers, scrapbooks, and papers generated by individuals, businesses, institutions, and organizations in Livingston County;
  • Photographs, postcards, and maps;
  • Digital and electronic records;
  • Other ephemera that directly relates to Livingston County.

Materials not accepted may include:

  • Artifacts, including textiles, housewares, furniture, agricultural implements and tools;
  • Excessively damaged, moldy and/or dirty items;
  • Items that have a loose connection to Livingston County but do not have inherent research value (ex. books used in a local school, etc.)

We urge donors to keep collections together to preserve vital contextual information. Before you send items to different repositories, give us a call.

For more details, view the Collection Development and Management Policy and Donation Form.

Thank you for supporting our efforts to preserve historical information!

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  • 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 through our Research Request Form.
  • 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 June 2022

Image of research room, with map on table and sun coming in window