The Historian's Office
Yates County Villages and Their Records
In New York State, two kinds of incorporated municipalities have been
established. One is the city, which exists completely separate from the
towns it may have taken territory from. Yates County has no cities. The
other type of incorporated municipality is the village. Villages may include
parts of one or more towns, and nowadays they accept the assessment rolls
of the towns in which they lie. Typically, villages provide more intensive
services to residents within their boundaries than towns do, services which
may include such things as water, sewer, street lights, sidewalks and so
on. Villages with large populations may have several governmental
departments, each with responsibility for many sets of records. Four villages
lie wholly or partially in Yates County.
is completely within the town of Torrey on the shore of Seneca Lake, and
is so small it shares some functions with the town, notably the registering
of vital records. Dundee lies inside the town of Starkey. Penn Yan, the
county seat, includes parts of the towns of Milo, Benton and Jerusalem.
Rushville is partly in the Yates County town of Potter and partly in the
Ontario County town of Gorham.
The four villages in Yates County, like all villages in the state, are
governed by a mayor and a board of trustees. The village clerk keeps the
board's minutes and is almost always also the registrar of vital records,
as well as the designated manager of all the village's records. Each village
also has a public historian whose task it is to preserve the village's
history. All village clerks in Yates County have an office at the village
hall and keep regular office hours; all our village historians, however,
operate from their homes.
All villages have some records of interest to the general public, other
public officials, or family and local history researchers. These include
a few series held by all villages, and a few that are unusual or
even unique. The following chart will lead you to some of these resources: