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The Village of Penn Yan and its Records

Penn Yan is the county seat and largest settlement in Yates County. It was first settled about 1791 and grew swiftly because of its excellent millseat and its position on two important stage routes. In 1833, the same year the village was incorporated, the Crooked Lake Canal was opened for navigation; it connected the agriculturally rich Keuka Lake basin with Seneca Lake, and thence to the entire Erie Canal system, so nearly all goods flowing out of and into this part of New York went through Penn Yan. The first railroad was built in 1850. The village became a manufacturing center as well as the transshipping point for the immense wheat harvests of the middle 19th century.

The village's unique name dates to about 1808 and derives from the fact that the first settlers were about equally from Pennsylvania and New England; after long discussion a compromise was found between the Pennsylvanians and the Yankees to name the place partially after both groups.

The village has a very large volume of records, most of which are reasonably accessible. Much historical material is also held by the Yates County Genealogical & Historical Society at 200 Main Street.

The village office is at 3 Maiden Lane, a one-way street with traffic flow from east to west; easiest access is from Main Street.

Records on Microfilm

The following series have been microfilmed. The film is available at the Yates County Historian's office, at the village office and at the New York State Library in Albany.

1833 - 1992

Births, deaths and marriages 1883-1913 [INDEX]; Births and deaths 1913-93

Benham Street - east side of Main Street between Seneca and Clinton Streets; West side of Main Street between Chapel Street and Corporation Line - Water Street; Grantors Ayers - Youngs; Grantor Wagener

1841-1876 (missing 1842-3, 1848-9, 1855, 1857-70); 1877-1886 (missing 1885) [INDEX]