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Churches and Church Records

Chruch records can reveal a great deal to genealogists and local historians alike. The problem in western New York is tracking them down to make use of them. Yates County was the home of numerous congregations that have since disappeared; and though in many cases the records exist they are difficult to find and access. The County Historian's Office has accumulated copies of a few such records and is in the process of attempting to find others to make copies accessible to the people who need to make use of them. A few have been published, a number have been microfilmed and are available from the Olin Library at Cornell University via interlibrary loan. Some have vanished entirely, more are unduplicated and virtually inaccessible because of the congregational nature of many of the small churches that once dotted the countryside, lifting spires at dozens of rural crossroads.

A  book  published in connection with the County's 175th anniversary celebrations contains histories of all the churches still in existance as active congregations.. It is called Aspiring Christians, and was written by Linda Jackson. For further information, make contact with the Yates County Genealogical & Historical Society (ycghs@linkny.com); the book costs $8, to which tax and shipping must be added.

Following is a list of known church congregations in the county; those still active are marked with an asterisk. Some congregations founded later in the 20th century are not on this list.

Town of Barrington

  • Barrington Baptist Church, organized 1819
  • *Warsaw Baptist Church, organized 1838; present building erected 1868; now Barrington Community Church
  • Warsaw Presbyterian Church, organized 1830
  • Free Will Baptist Church, organized 1819, disbanded 1847
  • Barrington Methodist Church, organized 1810
  • *Lake Keuka Baptist Church, Crosby, organized 1888; present building finished the same year

Town of Benton

  • *Benton Methodist Church, first church built 1807 (first meetings 1792); present building erected 1888; now United Methodist Church, Benton Center [Records 1841-74 on film at Cornell]
  • Bellona Methodist Church, organized 1809
  • Benton Baptist Church, first known meeting 1800
  • *Memorial Presbyterian Church, first meetings 1802, society organized 1809; first church built 1821 at Mount Pleasant; congregation moved to Bellona 1839; present building erected 1894 [Records 1811-1931 on film at Cornell]
  • Bellona Dutch Reformed Church, organized 1833, merged with Presbyterian congregation 1839

Town of Italy

  • *Italy Hill Baptist Church: organized 1841; present building erected 1844
  • Italy Hill Methodist Church, first meetings 1828; church built 1845; razed 1947
  • *United Methodist Church, Italy Valley, first meetings 1813, church built 1856
  • Italy Valley Baptist Church, organized 1816
  • Free Will Baptist Church, organized 1826

Town of Jerusalem

  • *St Luke's Episcopal Church, Branchport, organized 1855; present building erected 1866
  • *United Methodist Church, Bluff Point: first known meetings 1807; society organized 1838; present building erected 1848 and enlarged 1896
  • *United Methodist Church, Branchport, organized 1866; present building erected 1880
  • Baptist Church at Branchport, organized 1834
  • Branchport Presbyterian Church, organized 1832
  • *United Methodist Church, Friend, incorporated 1857; present building erected 1888
  • Baptist Church of Christ, Bluff Point, organized 1812 [Covenant meeting minutes 1812-32 on film at Cornell]

Town of Middlesex

  • *Middlesex Baptist Church, incorporated as Freewill Baptist Society 1838, first church built 1840; present building erected 1885 [Church meeting minutes 1858-1895 on film at Cornell]
  • Baptist Church at Middlesex Center, built 1845
  • Methodist Church at Overackers Corners, built 1836, abandoned 1878
  • *United Methodist Church, Middlesex, first meetings 1797; society organized 1838; present building erected 1841 and remodeled 1881
  • *United Methodist Church, Vine Valley; present building erected 1891

Town of Milo and Village of Penn Yan

  • *First Baptist Church, Penn Yan, organized 1830; first church built 1835, present building in 1871
  • *First Presbyterian Church, Penn Yan; organized 1823, first church built 1824, present building 1958 [Two pages of records found and transcribed: 1823  and 1826-28]
  • *First (Himrod) Baptist Church of Milo, first meetings 1805; present building erected 1833 and remodeled 1868
  • Free Will Baptist Church, first meetings 1838, extinct by 1873
  • *Second Milo Baptist Church, first meetings 1807, organized 1811, present church built 1832 [Records 1810-1917 on film at Cornell]
  • *St Mark's Episcopal Church, Penn Yan; organized 1826, first church erected 1838, present building in 1879.
  • *St Michael's Roman Catholic Church, Penn Yan, first services 1847, first church built 1850; present building erected 1902
  • *St Paul's Lutheran Church, Penn Yan, first services 1881, society organized 1912; first church built 1918, present building in 1970
  • *United Methodist Church, Milo Center, first classes 1797, revival 1821, first church built 1833 [Records for 1833, 1848-91 on film at Cornell]
  • *United Methodist Church, Penn Yan, organized 1824, first chapel built 1826; present building erected 1898
  • Wesleyan Methodist Church, Penn Yan, organized 1842, services discontinued 1864
  • Union Free Congregational Church of Penn Yan, founded 1841, disbanded 1855

Town of Potter and Village of Rushville

  • *First Congregational Church, Rushville, organized 1802; first church built 1818, present building in 1972 [Records 1802-98 on film at Cornell]
  • *Potter Baptist Church: organized 1825, first church built soon after; present building erected 1860 and remodeled 1883
  • *Potter Methodist Church (now Potter Community Church), first meetings 1815, organized 1827; first church built 1838 at Nettle Valley, present building about 1850 and remodeled 1882
  • *St John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, first meetings in 1790s, society organized 1841, present building erected 1850 [Records 1841-1921 on film at Cornell]
  • *St Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Rushville, first services 1853, first church 1869, present building 1899
  • *United Methodist Church, Rushville, organized 1824, first chapel built 1830; present building erected 1958
  • Universalist Church, Rushville, active 1830-1840
  • *United Methodist Church, Yatesville, first meetings 1817, organized 1832; present church erected 1837 [Annual meeting minutes 1832-1900 on film at Cornell]

Town of Starkey and Village of Dundee

  • *Lakemont Congregational Christian Church: organized 1869 at Starkey Seminary; present building erected 1897
  • First Christian Church (Rock Stream), organized 1819, chapel built 1835
  • First Christian Society of Starkey and Barrington (Dundee), organized 1828, church built 1832
  • *Dundee Baptist Church, first meetings 1802 (at Eddytown); church built at Dundee 1831, present building in 1888
  • *First Presbyterian Church, Dundee, split from Eddytown church 1832, first separate church built 1843; present building erected 1894 [Minutes 1832-1887 on film at Cornell]
  • Grace Episcopal Church, Dundee, built 1901, sold to town for offices 1967
  • *Rock Stream Presbyterian Church, split from Eddytown church 1833, first church built 1834; present building erected 1864 [Records 1813-1914 on film at Cornell]
  • *St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Church, Dundee; building erected 1832 as Free Christian Church, dedicated for Catholic parish 1877
  • *United Methodist Church, Dundee, organized 1832, first chapel built 1834; present building erected 1902
  • *United Methodist Church, Starkey, first meetings 1806, organized 1820, present church built 1822
  • Eddytown Presbyterian Church, organized 1806, church built 1825
  • Methodist Church at Rock Stream, first class 1826, revival and building 1848

Town of Torrey

  • United Methodist Church, Dresden, organized 1827; present church built 1829 [Records 1827-1929 on film at Cornell]
  • St John's Episcopal Church
  • Dresden Presbyterian Church, built 1834