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Federal and New York State Census Resources

A federal census has been taken in New York every 10 years beginning in 1790. The state took additional censuses, also at 10-year intervals, from 1825 to 1875, then again in 1892, 1905, 1915 and 1925. Only the head of each household is actually named in the earlier censuses, but beginning in 1850 every person is named; additional information is also given, depending on the year. In general, the more recent the census, the more information it contains. 

Copies of all extant state (through 1925) and federal (through 1910) censuses taken in Yates County towns are available for public use in the Record Room of the Yates County Clerk; all are indexed. 

Some of these indexes are now online, and more are being added. The Office of Public History will upon request make copies of original census listings referencing one of these online indexes. See the table below. 

Using census records

In 1790, when the first federal census was taken, Yates County did not exist. However, there were inhabitants, and they were enumerated in districts which were then part of Ontario County. To use census records properly, you must know the name changes that have occurred as new towns were formed. 

Some of the original censuses held by the County are available only on microfilm, because they are too fragile for routine use by the public. Some other censuses exist only on microfilm, or the originals are held by other counties, so too in these cases the film must be used.

Use the charts below to help navigate these changes and different formats. 

Available formats

1790-1820 microfilm only; Ontario or Steuben County, depending on the town; 

1825, 1835 and 1845 microfilm and recreated paper copies; 1825 missing Barrington and Starkey (towns not yet part of Yates County; photocopies available from Steuben County originals). 1845 missing all towns except Barrington, Italy and Potter. 

1850-1875 original books; 1870 book missing Benton and Potter (all towns on microfilm of federal copy). 

1880 long form on microfilm only; recreated book contains names and ages only. 

1892-1925 state censuses are original or recreated (photocopied) books; 

1900 and 1910 federal censuses on microfilm only. 

Available towns

The county now has nine towns. The four incorporated villages are enumerated as part of their respective towns: Dundee in Starkey; Dresden in Torrey; Rushville (the part of it in Yates County) in Potter; and Penn Yan in Benton and Milo. 

All the towns except Jerusalem have undergone at least one name change. You must know what town the subject of your search lived in, and what its name was at the time you are searching. 

Barrington: 1790 Erwin (part); 1800 Frederick's Town (part); 1810-1820 Wayne (part); 1825-1925 Barrington. 

Benton: 1790-1800 Jerusalem (part); 1810-1850 Benton (part); 1855-1925 Benton; missing 1845. 

Italy: 1790 Canandaigua (part); 1800 Middletown (part); 1810 Naples (part); 1820-1925 Italy. 

Jerusalem: 1790-1800 Jerusalem (part); 1810-1925 Jerusalem; missing 1845. 

Middlesex: 1790 Canandaigua (part); 1800 Augusta (part); 1810-1830 Middlesex (part); 1835-1925 Middlesex; missing 1845. 

Milo: 1790-1800 Jerusalem (part); 1810 Benton (part); 1820-1850 Milo (part); 1855-1925 Milo; missing 1845. 

Potter: 1790 Canandaigua (part); 1800 Augusta (part); 1810-1830 Middlesex (part); 1835-1925 Potter. 

Starkey: 1790 Erwin (part); 1800 Frederick's Town (part); 1810-1820 Reading (part); 1825-1925 Starkey; missing 1845. 

Torrey: 1790-1800 Jerusalem (part); 1810 Benton (part); 1820-1850 Benton and Milo (part); 1855-1925 Torrey; missing 1845.


Census Year Census Year Census Year
1790 1830 1855
1800 1835 1860
1810 1840 1865
1820 1845 1870
1825 1850 1875
1892 1905 1915


Requests for copies from the original census page must include:

  • your name and postal address; 
  • the name you are researching;
  • the year, town and page or dwelling number reference from the index;
  • the words "County Historian census request" in the subject line of the request. 

Your copies will be mailed to you along with a bill for $1 a page.

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