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Chautauqua County, NY History

Chautauqua County, NY history and genealogy

We are happy to offer our first items of genealogy and local history from Chautauqua County, NY, and we plan to offer additional items of historical interest soon.


Now Available for Download


The Chautauqua County chapter in Mather & Brockett's Geographical History of the State of New York (1848).  Brief, but still a vital part of the historical record, and actually comparatively lengthy compared with other upstate counties.  It's interesting that Mather & Brockett spell the county name as "Chautauque".  This may reflect an historical variant spelling, or may simply be a carryover from the days when spelling was pretty much a matter of individual preference.  6++ pages, in PDF format, download now for $3.00.

Chautauqua County, NY in Mather and Brockett


The Chautauqua County chapter from French's Gazetteer of the State of New York (1860). Here is a look at Chautauqua County a bit over a decade after Mather & Brockett's treatment of the subject.  The localities mentioned in this chapter, most of which are still extant today, are:  Arkwright, Arkwright Summit, Busti, Busti Corners, Carroll, Frewsburgh, Fentonville, Charlotte, Charlotte Center, Sinclearville, Chautauqua, Mayville, De Wittville, Hartfield, Magnolia, Cherry Creek, Clymer, Clymer Center, Ellery, Ellery Center, Ellicott, Jamestown, Fluvanna, Levant, Dexterville, Ellington, Clear Creek, French Creek, Marvin, Gerry, Bulcins Corners, Hanover, Silver Creek, Irving, Smith Mills, Forestville, Nashville, Hanover, Harmony, Ashville, Panama, Blockville, Stedman, Kiantone, Mina, Mina Corners, Findley's Lake, Friends, Poland, Falconer, Poland Center, Pomfret, Dunkirk, Fredonia, Laona, Brigham, Shumla, Portland, Centerville, Salem, Ripley, Quincy, State Line, Sheridan, Sheridan Center, Sherman, Center Sherman, Pleasant Valley, Waits Corners, Stockton, Delanti, Cassadaga, North Stockton, Oregon, Villenova, Omar, Westfield, Barcelona, and Volusia.  11+ pages, in PDF format, download now for $2.75.

 Chautauqua County, from French's Gazetteer (1860)


Charity in New York State in 1906: Chautauqua County.  We are in the process of republishing sections of volume II of the Annual Report of the State Board of Charities for the year 1906.  The material will be of interest to local historians who wish a better picture of charitable institutions in their locale a century ago, to genealogists and family historians interested in the people who administered charity back then as well as how any unfortunates housed in these facilities may have lived, and to those who have questions about the now-politicized "safety net" for the unfortunates in our society back in those years.  This section addresses the public and private charities in Chautauqua County in 1906 that were registered with the State Board of Charities. 9++ pages, in PDF format, download now for $2.00.

Chautauqua County Charity in 1906


Fredonia Central School Hilltopper yearbook for 1961.  High school yearbooks generally are good mirrors of their towns at a moment in time and this one, coming as it does during good economic times after Korea and before Woodstock, is no exception.  By the time the youngest class pictured in this yearbook was graduating, change would indeed be in the air.  90+ pages, in PDF format, download now for $4.25.

 Fredonia Central School Hilltopper yearbook for 1961


Jamestown High School's Red and Green yearbook for 1964.  If 1961 represented good times in Fredonia (see above), this yearbook is evidence that things were even better in Jamestown three years later.  This yearbook, more than 210 pages in length, with no advertising at all to pay the cost, and with individual photos not just of seniors, but also of juniors and sophomores, with abundant use of color throughout, is memorable in itself.  That the school that produced it offered both Italian and Swedish, in addition to the more typical high school language choices, and a dazzling array of choral groups and other musical organizations, suggests that times were indeed good in Jamestown in 1964.  216+ pages, in PDF format, download now for $5.50.

 Jamestown, NY High School Red and Green for 1964


Pine Knot, Yearbook of Pine Valley (NY) Central School (1956).  The choice of the editors to use song titles for a theme is an interesting one and one that anchors the book in a very specific point in time.  Even when the assignment of a particular song to a particular graduate or activity is a little bit forced, the reader can see how the editors were thinking when they made the assignment (or, as we suspect was the case with the graduating seniors, the students chose the song that would accompany them).  Yet, even in this post-Korea, pre-Viet Nam era, there were hints that things were not rosy in “upstate”.  The full page advertisement by the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce, telling graduates that “Your Future Is In The Jamestown Area” speaks directly to a problem endemic in Upstate as well as in rural areas nationally:  the vast migration of younger people to urban areas, leaving vast areas of the nation with an ageing workforce (and volunteer agencies with a growing absence of able bodied volunteers).  That the local Chamber had recognized the problem this early and begun to spend money addressing it suggests that either depopulation had begun early in this area, that it had proceeded at a more rapid rate than elsewhere, or that the Chamber was extraordinarily perceptive.  Yet they were spot on!  60+ pages, in PDF format (landscape orientation).  Download now for $4.00.

Pine Knot for 1956 from Pine Valley Central School


See also: Hotchkin's History of Western New York State, available on CD-ROM.


Chautauqua County was separated from Genesee County in 1812.  You may also want to consult our Genesee County page for locations that may have been affected by this transaction.


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