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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.

Map showing villagesDresden 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:

Penn Yan