First Presbyterian Church, Penn Yan
First Free Congregationalist Church, Penn Yan
There really is no adequate substitute for original church records. When the Presbyterian church in Penn Yan burned in 1958, it is said that the records went with it. Sadly, this was the oldest congregation in the village, and the records had been in good condition. Fortunately, some of them were transcribed and published in 1942 by Janet Foley in Early Settlers of New York State, Vol. I, "Early Church Records." Some pages of the original had been photocopied and preserved, as had the records of the First Free Congregational Church that broke off in 1841 and rejoined after 1855. Many of the people mentioned in these various sets of records were also prominent enough in the community to have been mentioned in Stafford C. Cleveland's 1873 History of Yates County. Other local sources of information on these people include newspaper notices of various kinds, census records, cemetery records and so on.
Since the originals are unavailable for microfilming or scanning, the Historian's Office decided to compile these different sets of records. The result is the document reproduced here. The dates run from 1841 to 1855 for the Congregationalist Church, and from 1823 into the early 20th century for the Presbyterian Church.
A few notes on methodology and codes used: where a person was found only in a baptism, death or marriage record, it is marked as such in the first column "date of admission", thus: 1832B, meaning the baptism took place in that year, and that's the only information we have.
You will find the "place to" column has many entries that read: Congregational Church, meaning they were among the people who went over to the new church when it was formed. However, the Congregational records also show many people who never belonged to the Presbyterian church; their dates of admission are marked with an asterisk: 1848*, meaning that person was admitted to the Congregational church in that year according to that church's records.
Burial information, if known, is in the last column, "other information." The cemetery and the town it's located in will both be mentioned, unless it was Lakeview Cemetery in Penn Yan (which of course many of them were). In that case the entry will read: "LV2," meaning Lakeview, section 2. The sections in this cemetery are: the Free Ground (LVF), First Purchase (LV1), Second Purchase (LV2), Third Purchase (LV3), Third Purchase, West Section (LVW). The Fourth Purchase, bought by the village in 1909, has not been indexed by the Historian's Office, so you won't find people buried there mentioned as such. When the burial was known, any information on the stone was added to the entry.
Married women are listed at least twice if their maiden names are known. There should be a listing under the maiden name, and each married name. It will pay to look at all the entries on a particular woman, as some names may have come from different sources, and hence with different information.
The list as posted here is a transcription, not an index; it is arranged alphabetically by surname, however, so it should be easy to find who you're looking for. Please do not ask for copies: hardly anything in the list is from an original record, and what you see is all we have.
The files are very large, even after breaking the list up into several parts: