New York Books - Genesee County
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New York - Genesee County

Click on these titles to check out books on this county.
The Social Composition of Political Leadership: Genesee County New York, 1821-1860
Kathleen Smith Kutolowski
History of Genesee County, New York, 1890-1982
Mary McCully, Ed.
Western New York Land Transactions 1804-1824
Karen E. Livsey

Western New York Land Transactions 1825-1835
Karen E. Livsey

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Other County Resources

Books on County Genealogy and History

Batavia (county seat) Website

Old Batavia

Genesee Co. GenWeb Project

Map of Genesee Co. (1895)

Official Genesee Co. Website

Official NY State Website

According to the Buffalo Museum of Science the first man in Genesee County arrived 11,000 years ago. Chipped-stone spear points have been unearthed at an archaeological excavation along with mastodon bones at the former Charles Hiscock farm, in Byron. The earliest man, Paleo-Indian, was nomadic and followed herds of animals through the ancient forest to the Ice-Age tundra on the edge of Lake Tonawanda. Prehistoric Earthworks discovered in Oakfield along with the Divers Lake flint quarry, just north of Indian Falls, have added to the evidence that Genesee County attracted very early inhabitants.

The Senecas, who were members of the Iroquois Confederacy, controlled Western New York until the close of the 18th Century. One of their meeting locations was at the bend in the Tonawanda Creek, near the heart of today's Batavia. Before this vast territory could be opened for pioneer settlement, it was necessary to obtain the land from the Native Americans. The Sullivan-Clinton Expedition, followed by the Big Tree Treaty of 1797 forced the Senecas to live on reservations. Today the Tonawanda Indian Reservation, located within a section of the township of Alabama, is home for many area Senecas.

Western New York was divided into several land tracts by investors eager to sell property to the pioneers. The Holland Land Company, composed of bankers from Amsterdam Holland, was the largest investor. The name Batavia was chosen to honor these Dutch land owners and was taken from the Republic of Batavia which was an area of the Netherlands before 1806. From 1798 until 1800 a survey of their 3.5 million acres was conducted and the first sale of land was in 1801. With growing population and governmental needs Genesee County was created in 1802 and was named from the Seneca word meaning "Beautiful Valley."

The original Genesee County included all of Western New York and as populations grew within this region the neighboring counties were established. (Allegany in 1806; Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Niagara in 1808; the western portions of Livingston and Monroe in 1821; Orleans in 1824 and Wyoming in 1841). County government began in 1803 with the completion of the first courthouse west of the Genesee River and the election of county officers. The present day Genesee County encompasses 501 square miles and has a population of 60,060 (according to the 1990 Federal Census). The County is divided into thirteen towns, beginning with Batavia, the County seat which was organized in 1802, Alexander, LeRoy and Pembroke in 1812, Bethany and Bergen in 1813; Byron, Elba and Stafford in 1820; Alabama in 1826; Darien in 1832; Oakfield and Pavilion in 1842.

Land has always been the county's greatest asset. The diversity of soils and climate conditions attracted the early settlers who carved out homes and farms, developing Genesee into one of the richest agricultural regions within New York State. Genesee County has the highest percentage of classified farmland in the state and three of the top 100 vegetable farms in the country. The fertile muck soil in Elba has made Genesee one of the principal counties in the nation for growing beets and onions. Dairy farming is still the leading commodity in the county and over all Genesee is fourth in agriculture sales within New York State. The country side is dotted with farm stands and annually the Farmer's Market provides a cornucopia of fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers.

In addition to the land, Genesee County has been blessed with rich mineral deposits of gypsum, limestone, natural gas and salt. These minerals along with early industries and businesses have enhanced the development of local communities. Jell-O was invented and produced in LeRoy with such success that by the start of the 20th Century the Woodward family became millionaires. Wiard Plow, Massey Harris and Baker Gun Company were located in Batavia leaving their mark by producing farm equipment and high grade firearms. These companies attracted talented craftsmen and are but a few of the outstanding industries that took advantage of what Genesee County has to offer. Today, area firms include a variety of businesses that utilize local energy sources, a network of transportation services and skilled labor.

The residents of the County have always understood the merit of quality education and its value on economic and social growth. The first school house was constructed in 1801, one year before the County was formed. By the 1830s seminaries were established throughout the County and in LeRoy, Ingham University was charted in 1857. This institution is credited with being the first University for women in the United States. The New York State School of the Blind was started in 1865 and is located on a beautiful campus in Batavia. The foundation of the County's educational system is a city school district and seven area central schools. A higher education may be obtained locally at Genesee Community College which offers liberal arts and professional skills.

Genesee County has a variety of recreational opportunities for every age and interest. Darien Lake Fun Country, started in 1976 as a camping facility, has grown into New York's largest combination theme park and entertainment resort. Six Flags Darien Lake now features more than 100 rides, including one of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in North America. Genesee County Park and Forest is the oldest county facility in the state. Situated in the town of Bethany the park comprises more than 400 acres and offers year round enjoyment. The 2,000 acres of the Bergen - Byron Swamp was dedicated in 1964 as a National Natural History Landmark by the United State's Department of the Interior. This swamp possesses exceptional value as an illustration of the Nation's Natural Heritage and contributes to a better understanding of our environment. It is of special interest to students of zoology and botany and is a haven for bird watchers. The rich historical significance of the county may be experienced in the variety of local museums. The two largest, the Holland Land Office and the LeRoy House are both treasure troves of artifacts from the past. Each of the museums offers unique displays that illustrate the daily lives from the inhabitants who contributed to the development of our communities.

Source: Susan L. Conklin, Genesee County Historian, July 1999.

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Click on the links below for book titles and history specific to that county.

From what or whom did the name of each county originate? Click here to find out.

County Date
Parent County County
Albany 1683 original county Albany
Allegany 1806 Genesee Belmont
Bronx 1914 New York Bronx
Broome 1806 Tioga Binghamton
Cattaraugus 1808 Genesee Little Valley
Cayuga 1799 Onondaga Auburn
Charlotte 1772 Albany renamed Washington in 1784
Chautauqua 1808 Genesee Mayville
Chemung 1798 Tioga Elmira
Chenango 1798 Herkimer, Tioga Norwich
Clinton 1788 Washington Plattsburgh
Columbia 1786 Albany Hudson
Cortland 1808 Onondoga Cortland
Delaware 1797 Ulster, Otsego Delhi
Dutchess 1683 original county Poughkeepsie
Erie 1821 Niagara Buffalo
Essex 1799 Clinton Elizabethtown
Franklin 1808 Clinton Malone
Fulton 1838 Montgomery Johnstown
Genesee 1802 Ontario Batavia
Greene 1800 Ulster, Albany Catskill
Hamilton 1816 Montgomery Lake Pleasant
Herkimer 1791 Montgomery Herkimer
Jefferson 1805 Oneida Watertown
1683 Original county Brooklyn
Lewis 1805 Oneida Lowville
Livingston 1821 Genesee, Ontario Geneseo
Madison 1806 Chenango Wampsville
Monroe 1821 Genesee, Ontario Rochester
Montgomery 1772 Albany (as Tryon to 1784) Fonda
Nassau 1899 Queens Mineola
New York City
1683 Original county New York
Niagara 1808 Genesee Lockport
Oneida 1798 Herkimer Utica
Onondaga 1794 Herkimer Syracuse
Ontario 1789 Montgomery Canandaigua
Orange 1683 Original county Goshen
Orleans 1824 Genesee Albion
Oswego 1816 Oneida, Onondaga Oswego, Pulaski
Otsego 1791 Montgomery Cooperstown
Putnam 1812 Dutchess Carmel
Queens 1683 Original county Jamaica
Rensselaer 1791 Albany Troy
Staten Island
1683 Original county St. George
Rockland 1798 Orange New City
St. Lawrence 1802 Clinton, Herkimer, Montgomery Canton
Saratoga 1791 Albany Ballston Spa
Schenectady 1809 Albany Schenectady
Schoharie 1795 Albany, Ostego Schoharie
Schuyler 1854 Tompkins, Steuben, Chemung Watkins Glen
Seneca 1804 Cayuga Ovid, Waterloo
Steuben 1796 Ontario Bath
Suffolk 1683 Original county Riverhead
Sullivan 1809 Ulster Monticello
Tioga 1791 Montgomery Owego
Tompkins 1817 Cayuga, Seneca Ithaca
Tryon 1772 Albany (renamed Montgomery 1784)
Ulster 1683 Original county Kingston
Warren 1813 Washington Lake George
Washington 1772 Albany (see Charlotte) Hudson Falls
Wayne 1823 Ontario, Seneca Lyons
Westchester 1683 Original county White Plains
Wyoming 1841 Genesee Warsaw
Yates 1823 Ontario, Steuben Penn Yan

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