New York Town Records
Town records contain valuable information such as names of elected officials, lists of freeholders, petitions, vital records, tax records, a few military and militia records, school records, poor relief rolls, deeds, estrays (cattle that had gone astray), cattle earmarks, and other documents useful in locating persons. Most town records are not generally available at the Family History Library, although some towns, such as Huntington, Suffolk County, have published their records.
A useful source is:
- Gordon L. Remington, New York Towns, Villages, and Cities: A Guide to Genealogical Sources (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2002). American Ancestors online edition; At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 974.7 D27r. Alphabetical list including date founded, if a town history exists, church and cemetery sources, and if a Civil War register (TCR) exists. The codes used under Church and Cemetery are defined in the link above the listing of towns, cities and villages.
An inventory of the county supervisor's records has been published:
- Wright, Albert Hazen. Supervisors' Proceedings of Various Counties of New York. Ithaca, New York: A. H. Wright, 1943. (Family History Library book 974.7 A1 #244; fiche 6093918.) This is Studies in History number 3 of New York Historical Source Studies, and it mentions which county supervisors' proceedings have been preserved in major repositories. The records are mostly for the 1840s to the early 1900s. There are a few county supervisor's records for the 1820s or earlier.
Knowing the town a village belongs to is important since many records of the village will be in the town records. Some villages are located in more than one town, as shown on a 2009 list.