See paragraphs below for file descriptions. Click above for files from the listed towns.
Note: Some files may be incomplete as of this date.
In the years 1847, 1848, and 1849 New York State conducted an experiment in registering births, deaths and marriages for every town in the state. The following year, the landmark every name 1850 census was recorded, and family historians could at last find out the names of family members. Then, for unknown reasons, the idea of registering vital statistics was dropped, not to be used again until about 1880. We do have this three year window with basic information, and the Jefferson County website, through the aid of several people, will attempt to gather and put on the site these valuable records.
A cautionary note: We are fortunate indeed to have access to these records. Julie Gosier, town historian of the Town of Lyme points out these pitfalls for the unwary, however:
1. Not all town records survived. The records for the Town of Ellisburg are missing completely.
2. Not all data were recorded. This recording idea was a new one to the doctors and town clerks who were in charge of keeping the records. Some resisted the idea, some never got around to it, and some, perhaps, were never notified. For instance, preachers coming and going among their different churches and parishes on both sides of the international border might never have heard of this new fangled registration.
3. Some records were deliberately destroyed. Someone who objected to a child's birth coming too soon after the marriage ceremony might tear out a page of births or marriages, taking out not only the one in question, but also those entered on both sides of the entire sheet.
4. Some records, over the century, simply got mislaid, misfiled, torn, blotted, damaged, and became unreadable.
5. As is always the case with handwritten records, some clerks write legibly, and some do not. Some of these names are a transcriber's best guess.
6. Lastly, we are copying from a transcription, and cannot compare our copy with the original. Every researcher knows that each time a record goes through the copying process, the opportunity for error grows: omission, misinterpretation, typos, all play a part.
To recapitulate: if you find a relative here, you can rejoice. These are official
records, and subject to the conditions mentioned above, they can be regarded as
accurate. All researchers realize that hands on examination of the original record
is the only way to be sure the information is given correctly, and what this
provides is a clue that these statistics probably exist.
On the other hand, Mrs. Gosier pointed out emphatically, that just because Gramma never made it into the records does not mean she did not exist. It merely means she isn't in the records. Again, a personal search of the records might turn up a variant spelling in an illegible hand which only you can recognize. Never rest assured that ANYTHING you find on the internet is final. We are responsible reporters, but the best we can give you is clues.
The original files are chronological. The marriage statistics are given under the groom's name only. For ease of searching, we have arranged these files as tables, using all the information given. Each table has four columns. We have combined the three years of records in one alphabet, first under the grooms' surnames, and then under the brides'. The record contains the name, usually the age of the person, occasionally the place of residence, the official who performed the marriage, and the date of the marriage.
For births, we have the child's surname, given name, parents, and date. For deaths, there will be the name of the deceased and age, remarks (occupation, marital state), cause of death, and date. A distressing number of children will have no name, just sex.
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