New York County records can vary vastly from county to county in both quality and also quantity. Some have already been carefully maintained while others have been substantially misused and uncared for. A number of New York records have merely vanished. For genealogists performing research in New York there’s no effective substitute to have an on-site research of county court house records. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia

New York Counties

The original twelve counties were created immediately after the British takeover of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, although two of these counties have since been abolished. Some New York counties have set up record centers or archives such as are found in Broome, Cayuga, Montgomery, Ontario, Washington, Westchester, and other counties. While most initial inquiries about records should be made with the county clerk and county surrogate’s clerk, the information sought might actually now be housed in a county records center/archives. This practice will doubtless continue in New York, especially for older records.

All county pages in New York listed below contain the name of the county and the mailing address of the county clerk, who is in charge of deeds, mortgages, marriages (1908–35), divorces, court records, state censuses, and other records is listed, the year the county was created, where applicable, the parent county or counties from which it was formed, the date the earliest deed was recorded is also listed. County deeds and mortgages not found with the county clerk are also indicated here. The date of the earliest county surrogate court record, followed by the mailing address of the county surrogate’s clerk, if not the same as that of the county clerk. Some counties have copies or abstracts of earlier deeds and wills from parent counties.

It should be kept in mind that the names of the parent county or counties are those from which the new county was first formed in the year indicated. Many changes took place later, at which times whole towns or parts of them were annexed to or from the newer county. For example, Yates County was created in 1823 from part of Ontario County; the following year two towns were added to Yates from Steuben County. For the specifics of other changes, consult gazetteers, county directories, and county histories. See also a list of links to county and county seat government run websites.

List of New York Counties

CountyDate FormedParent CountyCounty Seat
Albany1683Original County created in the New York colony Albany
Allegany1806Genesee County Belmont
Bronx1914New York County New York City
Broome1806Tioga County Binghamton
Cattaraugus1808Genesee County Little Valley
Cayuga1799Onondaga County Auburn
Chautauqua1808Genesee County Mayville
Chemung1836Tioga County Elmira
Chenango1798Tioga and Herkimer Counties Norwich
Clinton1788Washington County Plattsburgh
Columbia1786Albany County Hudson
Cortland1808Onondaga County Cortland
Delaware1797Otsego and Ulster Counties Delhi
Dutchess1683Original County created in the New York colony Poughkeepsie
Erie1821Niagara County Buffalo
Essex1799Clinton County Elizabethtown
Franklin1808Clinton County Malone
Fulton1838Montgomery County Johnstown
Genesee1802Ontario County Batavia
Greene1802Albany and Ulster Counties Catskill
Hamilton1816Montgomery County Lake Pleasant
Herkimer1791Montgomery County Herkimer
Jefferson1805Oneida County Watertown
Kings1683Original County created in the New York colonyNew York City
Lewis1805Oneida County Lowville
Livingston1821Genesee and Ontario Counties Geneseo
Madison1806Chenango County Wampsville
Monroe1821Genesee and Ontario Counties Rochester
Montgomery1772Albany County Fonda
Nassau1899Queens County Mineola
New York1683Original County created in the New York colonyNew York City
Niagara1808Genesee County Lockport
Oneida1798Herkimer County Utica
Onondaga1794Herkimer County Syracuse
Ontario1789Montgomery County Canandaigua
Orange1683Original County created in the New York colony Goshen
Orleans1824Genesee County Albion
Oswego1816Oneida and Onondaga Counties Oswego
Otsego1791Montgomery County Cooperstown
Putnam1812Dutchess County Carmel
Queens1683Original County created in the New York colonyNew York City
Rensselaer1791Albany County Troy
Richmond1683Original County created in the New York colonyNew York City
Rockland1798Orange County New City
St. Lawrence1805Clinton, Herkimer and Montgomery Counties Canton
Saratoga1791Albany County Ballston Spa
Schenectady1809Albany County Schenectady
Schoharie1795Albany and Otsego Counties Schoharie
Schuyler1854Chemung, Steuben and Tompkins Counties Watkins Glen
Seneca1804Cayuga County Ovid /  Waterloo
Suffolk1683Original County created in the New York colony Riverhead
Sullivan1809Ulster County Monticello
Tioga1791Montgomery County Owego
Tompkins1817Cayuga and Seneca Counties Ithaca
Ulster1683Original County created in the New York colony Kingston
Warren1813Washington County Queensbury
Washington1784Albany County Fort Edward
Wayne1823Ontario and Seneca Counties Lyons
Westchester1683Original County created in the New York colony White Plains
Wyoming1841Genesee County Warsaw
Yates1823Ontario and Steuben Counties Penn Yan


List of New York Extinct Counties

New York contains counties that no longer are in existence. They were set up by the state, provincial, or territorial governing administration. Many of these counties were established and disbanded in the Nineteenth century; county borders have evolved little since 1900 in the vast majority of states. These counties need to be looked at when you are conducting genealogy and family history research. Pay attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was eliminated or combined with another county.

  • Charlotte County: Formed in 1772 from Albany County, Renamed in 1784 to Washington County
  • Cornwall County: Formed in 1683, Located in Maine, this county became part of Massachusetts in 1686, but no longer exist in name.
  • Cumberland County: Formed in 1766 from Albany County, disallowed the year after it was formed, Cumberland was re-established in 1768 and ceased to exist 1777-78 when Vermont declared itself a republic.
  • Dukes County: Formed in 1683, became part of Massachusetts in 1692
  • Gloucester County: Formed in 1770 from Cumberland County, ceased to exist 1777-78 when Vermont declared itself a republic.
  • Tryon County: Formed in 1772 from Albany County, Renamed in 1784 to Montgomery County


List of New York Counties with Burned Courthouses

The harm to New York courthouses tremendously has a effect on genealogists in every way. Not only are these types of historic structures torn from all of our lifetimes, so are the records they kept: marriage, wills, probate, land records, as well as others. Once destroyed they’re lost permanently. Even though they have been placed on mircofilm, computers and film burn too. The most sad aspect of this is the reason why virtually all of our courthouses are destroyed as a result of arsonist. However, don’t assume all records were destroyed. Numerous New York counties have suffered a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.

  • Niagara County Courthouse: In 1813 the British burned the courthouse in Buffalo, destroying records that also included Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties.
  • Schoharie  County Courthouse: County Courthouse burned to the ground in 1845 when a prisoner tried to escape.
  • Sullivan  County Courthouse: A fire in 1909 destroyed will volumes 1-7 but all or most of the files survived.