WHERE TO LOOK FOR COLUMBIA CO., NY RECORDS
Transcribed by Susan Mulvey 24 Jan 2001
Webpage by Cliff Lamere Jan 2001
I ran across this information concerning public records for eastern New York records. It is from the book, "Columbia County, NY Gravestone Inscriptions - A Guide to understanding them, with a comprehensive family name index" by A. L. Divine (1991), published by Kinship, Rhinebeck, NY. - Susan Mulvey
[Note: Anything found in square brackets [ ] was added by Cliff Lamere for purposes of clarification. Some long paragraphs were broken up for the same reason.]
"The early public records [pre-1786] for the County are not located where they might be expected. Many of the probate and land deeds for the Manors and the western part of the County are located in the archives in the State Education Library at Albany. Since Columbia County was part of Albany County, these early records make no distinction between the two political entities. Residents living in the rural parts of Columbia County were referred to simply as being residents of Albany County.
Most of the early records for the eastern settlements are now located in the County Courthouse at Pittsfield [Berkshire Co., Massachusetts]. A few of them can be found in the Courthouse at Bennington, Vermont. No distinction was made between the settlers in Columbia County and those of Massachusetts. Residents of Canaan were often referred to as being residents of Richmond; residents of Hillsdale, as residents of Great Barrington; and residents of Copake as being residents of Sheffield. [All locations in the last sentence refer to towns (in the sense of townships) rather than villages or cities.]
Records for the eastern towns in the County can also be found in the archives of the three State's Capitals. It is also noteworthy that many of the early families that settled in the eastern part of Columbia County were recorded twice in the first federal census of the U. S. taken in 1785-92, once in Massachusetts, and again in New York State.
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