Available Resources

The purpose of this site is to list the resources available at the Ontario County Historical Society.  An asterisk * after an item indicates that it can be searched by surname.  Our collection includes, but is not limited to, the following:

This is a small sampling of the books we have:

• “10,000 Vital Records” – F.Q. Bowman –newspaper items from NYS
• “Phelps and Gorham Purchase” – Turner
• DAR Patriot Index
• Barbour Collection: vital records from Connecticut
• Mayflower Families collection
• “Complete Book of Emigrants” 1607-1699, 2 volumes
• New England Historic & Genealogical Register – complete set on CD

There are over 200 cemeteries in Ontario County. In addition, we have an annotated cemetery book for Melvin Hill, giving genealogies of many of the families buried there. They are supplemented by death notices and obituaries abstracted from the 19th-century newspapers.

Census records for 1790 to 1870 are indexed (federal) as well as the 1855 and 1865 New York State census. The 1880 census for the United States is on CD. The 1892 New York State census is not indexed, nor are the 1900 – 1930 census records. These should be available at Ancestry or Heritage Quest.

We have a limited number of records donated by families or obtained by copying church ledgers or ministers’ records. They are indexed by surname. We also have ephemera boxes containing information on major churches in our area:

Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, Episcopal, Catholic, Quaker, Lutheran, Mormon and the very early Proprietor’s Church in Victor.

These are primarily the city of Canandaigua directories, arranged by surname and by street. They include lists of businesses, arranged by categories. We have a few directories in the late 1860’s that include Geneva and some of the Ontario County towns.

Ontario, Yates, Monroe, Wayne, Livingston counties; all but the last one are indexed.

These files contain booklets, pamphlets, notices, printed essays, membership lists, copies of speeches, etc. Some contain information on individuals or families, but are primarily topical in nature.

Three including French’s, Stafford and Gordon. Covers all of New York State.

These include both published and unpublished volumes. Some are indexed by surname. There are also binders of genealogical research donated by authors.

A series of binders contain detailed information on homes and businesses in the historic district. We also have several that cover schools, churches and cobble-stone structures.

These have been donated by area businesses and organizations. They include financial information, membership lists, offices and records of business decisions. The Minute Books reflect the business conducted by various organizations, social clubs, school and fire districts and businesses.

These boxes contain original letters, bills, deeds, membership lists and other documents. They range in scope from an individual file to the 48 boxes of materials related to Oliver Phelps.

The primary sources are the 1874 and 1904 county maps. The 1874 map is indexed by surname and the property owner is listed on the map for each township. Inset maps of villages and hamlets also indicate property owners, making it easier to identify neighbors and possible relationships to geographical features. The 1874 atlas is a series of township maps. The 1904 atlas includes a street by street map of the city of Canandaigua, listing property owners. We also have an 1924 Sanborn map of Clifton Springs and Canandaigua. We do have an 1852 map of the county – a wall map.

We have lists of burials of veterans of wars from the Revolution to the Spanish-
American War. We have one binder with directions for accessing military
information at Federal and State levels.

The “Bounty Book” of land awarded to veterans of the Revolution – Military Tract
Sir William Johnson Papers, 14 volumes, indexed
General Sullivan’s Indian Expedition, 1779, 2 volumes: Cook
Sullivan Papers, 2 volumes, Hammond, indexed
New York in the Revolution, 3 volumes, Roberts, indexed
Ontario County Troops in the Civil War, 2 volumes, Murray
New York in the War of the Rebellion 1861-65, 5 vol., Phisterer, indexed
Histories of various regiments raised locally
Richardson Collection: Civil War
Military History of Wayne County (includes War of 1812)
Index of War of 1812 Pensions (covers all of the U.S.)
Revolutionary War Pensions — Bockstruck

Newspapers published in the county from early 19th century to 1980 are available, either on microfilm or the originals. We have an index of Geneva NY newspapers from 1809-1829, covering topics as well as individuals, but the actual newspapers are held in Geneva.

These are abstracted from our county newspapers from 1804 to 1880. They include dates, residences, ages, and additional notes when available.

We have a collection of obituaries from the newspapers, primarily dating from 1990, although some are from as early as the 19th century.

The Home was established after the Civil War to care for children whose parents were no longer able to provide for them. Information concerning admittance and
eventual exit from the Home is included. Besides the ledgers, there are admittance cards.

We have hundreds of photos of homes and businesses. We also have photographs organized by topic such as Canandaigua Lake, steamboats, festivals, etc. We have graduation pictures of many of the Canandaigua Academy graduates and nursing school graduates. We have a collection of 8 boxes of identified portraits and 5 boxes of lovely, but unidentified, portraits. Reprints of photos on photo paper can be ordered.

These have been donated by Ontario County families. Many have photographs; some include family information or newspaper clippings. They cover topics, as well, such as the YMCA, schools, Civil War, McKechnie family, the Granger Homestead, and various companies.

These include personal research and essays, newspaper clippings and miscellaneous papers. Some files are quite extensive.

These files cover the rest of Ontario County outside the city of Canandaigua. A number of them cover each of the 15 towns in the county as well as the city of
Geneva. They include personal research, essays, newspaper clippings and miscellaneous papers.

Research requests and the results of our investigations are the basis of these files. Also included are genealogical materials sent to us as a part of the request. They are fully indexed by surname and by maiden name when it is available.

These books each focus on a single village, town or city in Ontario County. Individual achievements, local traditions and stories, significant events and historic buildings are described. Some include interesting stories about events and individuals.

Prior to 1880, civil registration of births, deaths and marriages were not required in New York State. Consequently, we depend on newspaper announcements, Bible records and ministers’ records for this information. Some records are unavailable as they are sealed: births for 75 years, marriage and death records for 50 years. These records are kept at the local level (village, town or city) where the event occurred. Application for these records must be made to that jurisdiction directly.

After 1880, we have an index of marriage, death and birth certificates issued in the City of Canandaigua and the towns of Gorham, Hopewell and Seneca.

In addition, we have documents relating to the creation and early growth of our county, particularly regarding the Phelps and Gorham Purchase. We have a microfilmed copy of the original Oliver Phelps ledgers containing detailed transactions and maps of the Phelps and Gorham Purchase which opened Western New York State to settlement in 1788.