Difference between revisions of "Chemung County, New York Genealogy"

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Revision as of 21:11, 21 August 2013

United States go to New York go to Chemung County

Guide to Chemung County New York genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, military, immigration and naturalization records. This page describes sources of genealogical data about Chemung County, New York Genealogy families, including links to smaller localities at the bottom of this page. New York-related pages show useful statewide sources. United States pages explain the terminology and contents of genealogical records.

link=http://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/New York_Online_Genealogy_Records New York
Online Records

Chemung County, New York
Map of New York highlighting Chemung County
Location in the state of New York
Map of the U.S. highlighting New York
Location of New York in the U.S.
Founded March 29, 1836
County Seat Elmira
Address 203 Lake St.
Elmira, New York 14901
Chemung County Website


Chemung County New York Historical Facts

Parent County

29 March 1836: Set off from Tioga County.[1]

Neighboring Counties

Schuyler · Steuben · Tioga · Tompkins · Pennsylvania Counties: Bradford · Tioga[2]

Boundary Changes

250px-Chemung River.jpg
17 April 1854: Part taken to create Schuyler County.

Record Loss

Chemung County New York Genealogy Resources

Bible Records

  • 1581–1917 New York, Family Bible Records at Ancestry– ($); Index. Database is a collection of genealogically important records taken from the Bibles of colony and state residents. Reveals the Bible's original owner, brief record of descendants,and a particular event such as birth or marriage as recorded in Bible.



Cemetery records often reveal birth, death, relationship, military, and religious information.

Online Grave Transcripts Published Grave Transcripts County Cemetery Directories
Findagrave.com* Family History Library* Findagrave.com*
Interment.net* WorldCat* Tombstone Transcription Project*
Cemetery Site*   NYGenWeb Cemeteries*
New York Gravestones*   epodunk*
NYGenWeb Cemeteries*   Billion Graves*
Billion Graves*   Names in Stone*
Names in Stone*    
   *See the New York Cemeteries page for details about each site.


For information and tips on using and accessing online census records, see New York Census.


U.S. Census Mortality Schedules for New York, 1850-1880:

  • Available online at Ancestry ($).
  • Deaths are included for the 12 months prior to the census, 1849-50, 1859-60, 1869-70, and 1879-80 beginning 1 June and ending 31 May of the census year.[3]
  • Basic contents of the records include: Name, sex, age, color, marital status, place of birth, month of death, occupation, and cause of death. 1870 also has parents' birthplace. 1880 lists how long a resident of the county.
  • Also on FHL Films 1415128–42.
  • The 1890 Census is lost. For a substitute, see directories.
Source 1825 1835 1845 1855 1865 1875 1892 1905 1915 1925
Ancestry.com - - - - - - Yes - Yes Yes
Family History Library film - - - Yes Yes - Yes Yes Yes Yes
FamilySearch image - - - Yes Yes - Yes Yes Yes Yes
New York State Library film - - - Yes Yes - Yes Yes Yes Yes

New York State 1865 and 1875 Census Marriage, Mortality; and 1865 Soldier Mortality records:

  • Images available online at New York State Census, 1865 and New York State Census, 1875. Click on the link to go to the page, then click on the ‘Browse through images’ link and select your county, then select an ancestor's town and browse to the end of the population schedule until you find the Marriage, Mortality, and 1865 soldier mortality schedules.
  • Includes marriages and deaths for the 12 months prior to the census, ending 1 June of the census year.
  • Marriage entry content: Husband's name, wife's name, ages and previous marital status, month and day and place of marriage, and church or civil ceremony.
  • Death entry content: Name, age, sex, color, marital status, month and day of death, native state or country, occupation and cause of death.
  • 1865 deaths of officers and enlisted men entry content: Name, age, marital status, citizenship status, enlistment date, original regiment, original rank, regiment at death, rank at death, promotions, death date and place, manner of death, surviving associates, and burial place.
  • Also on microfilm. See the Family History Library line in the above State Census Chart.

Church Records

Church records are good substitutes for birth, marriage, and death information and are most often found on a local city/town or county level.  Published and manuscript church records can be found at public, university, and private libraries.

For a brief general history of denominations and a guide to finding various New York denomination's records, see New York Church Records Wiki page.


Additional Church Records

Additional church records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Chemung County, New York Genealogy Church Records  in online catalogs like:

Court Records

Ancestors may have also been involved in municipal, state, or federal court cases. See also New York Court Records and United States Court Records.




  • Rootsweb message board for Chemung County, New York Genealogy has many information threads about families that resided in that county. There is a search engine that allows you to search by surname and topic.


County Historian
J. Arthur Kieffer
415 E. Water Street
Elmira, NY 14901
E-mail: akieffer@stny.rr.com

Elmira City Historian
Diane Janowski
Email: elmiracityhistorian@gmail.com

Land and Property

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See New York Land and Property for more details, especially about the papers generated in New York State by large speculative land companies.

Original land records in Chemung County, New York Genealogy began in [?dateyear?]. These records are housed at the [?repository?] in [?town?].




Additional land records can sometimes be found using these catalogs:




Early migration routes for European settlers to and from Chemung County, New York Genealogy included:[4]


Civil War

Town registers. The New York town clerks kept a bound register of all soldiers from their town serving in the Civil War 1861-1865. Registers are arranged by county, and town. Some town registers are missing. The registers include an index at the start of each town.

Content. Many register entries include full name, residence, date and place of birth, parents names, marital status, date of enlistment and muster and rank, discharges, death, or promotion.

Access. The original registers are at the New York State Archives in Albany, New York. Microfilm copies are found at the Family History Library (FHL Film 1993401-37). They are also indexed and available at Ancestry.com ($).

Available Towns. Registers are available for:

Baldwin · Big Flats · Catlin · Chemung · Elmira · Erin · Horseheads.

Regiments. Service men in Chemung County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. The following have many men from Chemung County:[6]

- 103rd Regiment, New York Infantry, Companies G, H, I, and K
- 107th Regiment, New York Infantry, Companies A, B, C, D, G, and H
- 137th Regiment, New York Infantry, Company L
- 141st Regiment, New York Infantry, Comapnies C, G, I and K
- 161st Regiment, New York Infantry, Companies B and C

Naturalization and Citizenship

SAMPUBCO Index of naturalization records


Old Fulton NY Post Cards has the largest online collection of 400 New York 1795-2007 newspapers. The instructions for this quirky site are needed to get the most out of it.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards has the following Chemung County, New York Genealogy newspaper images:

  • Elmira NY Morning Telegram 1888-1921
  • Elmira NY Star Gazette 1891-1907


Obitury Index by the Chemung County Library District



Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.  Ancestry.com New York, Census of Inmates in Almshouses and Poorhouses, 1830-1920

Probate Records

Probate records including original estates and wills for New York are held in the office of the county Surrogate Court beginning in 1787, or when the county was formed. Prior to 1787, most are housed at the New York State Archives. See New York Probate Records for more information about using probate records.
Content:  Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.
Record types:  Wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distribution.

Probate Petitions

In 1830, state law required the Surrogate Court clerk to issue a probate petition for a deceased individual with property. This petition, unique to New York, usually lists the deceased's death date. It also lists the heirs, their relationship to the deceased, and their residence. Alice Eichholz, Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Pub., 2004), 479. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 2004. Henry B. Hoff, "Navigating New York Probate," American Ancestors 12 (Fall 2011): 57.

These petitions are often found in the estate files and can be obtained from the county Surrogate Court.

The petitions for Chemung County, New York Genealogy are also available on microfilm at the Family History Library and its centers:

Online Probate Indexes

Online Probate Records

Original county-by-county New York, Probate Records, 1629-1971 are available free online at FamilySearch. To access these records, click Historical Records below, then click "Browse through 1,630,900 images". Then select the county name, and then the probate records and time of interest.

  • Historical Records - Chemung County: Decrees, Minutes, Orders, 1836-1903; Estate papers index, 1933-1970; Final settlements, 1858-1927; General index, 1836-1932; Guardianship appointments, 1876-1905; Guardianship records, 1836-1905; Wills, 1836-1910

Probate Records on Microfilm

The probate records described above may also be on microfilms like these:

Additional Probate Indexes and Abstracts

Additional probate indexes or abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Chemung County, New York Genealogy probate wills in online catalogs like:


Cornell University, Guide to Historical Resources in Chemung County, New York Repositories. ([Ithaca, New York]: New York Historical Resources Center, Olin Library, Cornell University, 1984). At various libraries; FHL Book 974.778 A3. Includes index. Includes references to some family histories and genealogies.

Archives, Libraries and Museums
Steele Memorial Library
One Library Plaza
Elmira, NY 14901

Genealogical resources: Online obituary indexes for 1900-1921, 1940, and1979-2010. Holdings include: federal and state censuses, the Corbin Collection for New England Research and Steuben County, NY and Bradford County, PA cemetery records, and a local history file. They also have the New York State Vital Records Index.

Chemung Valley History Museum
415 E. Water Street
Elmira, NY 14901

Genealogical resources: Archival and photographic material. Focuses on Chemung Valley region. Includes the Booth Library.


County Historian's Office

J. Arthur Keiffer[7]
1011 Lincoln Street
Elmira, NY 14901

The County Historian may provide access to obituaries, vital records, church records, maps, and family files or journals. Some historians provide search services for their office records and others may refer you to local genealogists who research in the area.


The Chemung County Clerk's office holds marriage, divorce, court and land records. The Surrogate Court has probate records.For further information about where the records for Chemung County are held, see the Chemung County Courthouse page.

Family History Centers

Family History Centers (FHCs) are branches of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and are located all over the world. Their goal is to provide resources for family history research.

The main FHC for Chemung County, New York Genealogy is the Elmira New York Family History Center. For additional nearby Family History Centers, search online in the FHC directory.


Chemung County Historical Society
415 East Water Street
Elmira, NY 14901-3410
Phone: 607-734-4167

The society is housed in the Chemung Canal Bank Building. The building also contains the Chemung Valley History Museum. The society publishes a quarterly, The Chemung Historical Journal. The Booth Library contains approximately 3,000 books, 30,000 manuscripts, 16,000 photographs, and 11,000 maps and architectural records.

Central New York Genealogical Society[8]
Box 104, Calvin Station
Syracuse, New York 13205
E-mail: CNYSG@yahoo.com

Member queries; surname research list; online resources; six meetings/year; publication: Tree Talks (At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 974.7 B2t) quarterly with annual index.
Counties served: Albany, Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Erie, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orange, Oreleans, Oswego, Otsego, Rensselaer, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Washington, Wayne, Warren, Wyoming, and Yates.

Tri-Counties Genealogy and History

This is an online website developed and owned by Joyce M. Tice. This is a regional site focusing on Chemung County, NY and Bradford and Tioga counties in Pennsylvania. It has over 17,000 web pages containing resource materials and tools for this region.

Social Groups Online


Town Records

Town records in New York may include early births, marriages, deaths, divorces, local histories, selected military records, and town meeting minutes. Vital records from 1880/1882 are kept by town and village clerks, although some (Kent’s and Putnam Valley’s) are available in the County Historian’s Office. For further details, try the links to individual town Wiki pages found in Places. See also:

The County Archives has the following records:

  • 031 Petitions, Licenses, and recognizance to sell liquor (Tavern licenses) 1813-1878
  • 139 Monthly Reports of Hunting and fishing licenses, 1908-1938
  • 165 Certificates of Qualifications as Examiner in Lunacy, 1883-1947

Vital Records

Chemung County is considered a consolidated county because birth and death records were collected from the towns, cities and villages and are on file with the Office of Vital Records in Elmira. However, extensive flooding has damaged many of these records. Copies are available at the New York State Department of Health in Albany. See New York Vital Records Wiki page for more information about ordering records from Albany. Surviving records may be ordered from the Chemung County Office of Vital Records and must be requested by mail. Fees apply for both a record search and for a document copy. There is a 50-year restriction for deaths and a 75-year restriction for births.

Marriage records are usually found at the office of the town, city, or village clerk where the marriage license was issued. See the heading Places on this wiki page for links to local community wiki pages and their available records. Limited consolidated Chemung County marriage records 1908-1935 are available at the Family History Library. See New York Vital Records for a discussion about beginning dates and availability of vital records in New York.

Use substitute records for birth, marriage and death information. These substitute records include Bible Records, Cemeteries, Church Records, Newspapers, and Probate Records.


Early births were recorded on the town level and the years vary by town. (List of towns) The New York State Department of Health (state level) began recording births in 1881. Births were not recorded on the county level.
 However, birth records from the towns and cities were consolidated by Chemung County. Surviving records are held at the state and county Office of Vital Statistics. See the introduction to vital records for more information.

Birth Substitutes

  • See Town Clerks' Registers of Men who Served in the Civil War in the Civil War section of Military for birth information.

Early marriages were sometimes recorded on the town level and the years vary by town. In 1880, town clerks were to record the marriage and a copy was sent to the New York State Department of Health (state level). Town clerks continue to record marriages. The marriages in this county were recorded by the county clerk from 1908 until 1936.[9]

Marriage Substitutes

  • 1800–1855 New York Marriage Notices at Ancestry– ($); Index. This database is a collection of marriage notices published in newspapers around the state. Contains name of bride and groom, marriage date, marriage location, residence, and newspaper found in.
  • 1864-5 See Marriage Schedule information in the State Census section of Census for marriage information for 1864-5.


All divorces were granted by the governor or legislature and were very rare.


All divorces were granted by the court of chancery. These records are found in the New York State Archives or for the New York City area at the New York County Clerk's office.These divorces were granted only on the grounds of adultery.


All divorces are handled by the county Supreme Court where the divorce was granted. Divorce files in New York are sealed for 100 years. Contact the County Clerk for information about divorce records.

Divorce judgment papers often include date and place of the marriage and the names and birthdates of any children. Local newspapers may publish notices of divorce actions.


Early deaths were recorded on the town level and the years vary by town. (List of towns) The New York State Department of Health (state level) began recording deaths in 1881. Deaths were not recorded on the county level.
Because Chemung County consolidated the town death records, surviving records are held at the state and county Office of Vital Statistics. See the introduction to vital records for more information.

Death Substitutes

  • 1849-50, 1859-60, 1869-70, 1879-80 See Mortality Schedule information in the Federal Census section of Census for death information.
  • See Town Clerks' Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War in the Civil War section of Military for death information.
  • 1864-5 See Mortality Schedule information in the State Census section of Census for death information for 1864-5.

Additional Resources

Additional resources for Chemung County births, marriages and deaths may be found in the New York, Chemung– Vital Records topic page of the FamilySearch Catalog . Copies of books found in the FamilySearch Catalog may be found in WorldCat catalog and ordered from your local library through interlibrary loan. Explore how to search the FamilySearch Catalog and the Worldcat Online Catalog.

Chemung County New York Places

Chemung County New York Genealogy Websites

Chemung County New York Genealogy References

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 488. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Handybook, 478.
  3. Arlene Eakle, and Johni Cerni, The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1984), 103. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27ts.
  4. Handybook, 847-61.
  5. Paul A. W. Wallace, Indian Paths of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, Pa.: PA Historical and Museum Commission, 1971), 46-48. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 974.8 H2wp.
  6. Frederick Phisterer, New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. (Albany, N.Y.: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912). Internet Archive digital copy; At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Film 1486494-96; Fiche 6083559-64; Book 974.7 M2p.
  7. Elizabeth Petty Bentley, Genealogist's Address Book: State and Local Resources, with Special Resources Including Ethnic and Religious Organizations, 6th ed. (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Pub., 2009), 386. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D24ben 2009.
  8. Central New York Genealogical Society at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nycnygs/index.htm (accessed 1 November 2011).
  9. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 488-493. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.