New York State's hidden treasure- town historians





New York State requires that every town have a town historian. This is great news for genealogists as town historians are responsible for preserving the past. This may include town documents, buildings and artifacts. They may be instrumental in helping the town store historical items so that they may be preserved for posterity.
Although, town historians exist, they are often hard to find. Due to budget constraints, they may not have an office or website. They may even be in a town that doesn’t have a website. If this is the case, then you will need to put on a detective hat and make a few phone calls. Start with the town hall and ask for the name and number of the town historian. You can also look online for a list of historians in New York State through the Association of Public Historian’s site. Just click on your county for a list of historians by town in that county.

Once found, a town historian can assist you in discovering little known facts about seemingly lost cemetery records, family histories and town histories that have been collected and researched. They may have the names of other researchers that can be of help to your quest.

It is important to remember that town historians are not archivists or genealogists. They are not responsible for researching genealogies on demand, but may be of value to the individual who is researching on their own. Town historians may also be able to view their town’s closely guarded records that may not be accessible to everyone.

For more information, contact the Association of Public Historians of New York State:

90 State Street, Suite 1009
Albany, New York 12207-1710
Phone: (518) 694-5002
Fax: (518) 463-8656



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