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August 18, 2021 - 8:47am

The things you can learn at the Genesee County History Department

posted by Anne Marie Starowitz in history, County History Department, news.

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I always loved teaching fourth-grade students their local history. Using the historical places that house our history was the best way to make their history come alive.  Many people in Genesee County have visited the Holland Land Office Museum, Richmond Memorial Library, and the Historical Batavia Cemetery that sleeps our famous Batavians.

However, the one place I want to highlight is the Genesee County History Department. I recently researched my church there, and I was reminded about a wonderful friend and County Historian who suggested I do a project on the prominent people who settled in this area. I loved the idea, and hence our Famous Batavian Project was born. All materials came from this department. This project was only made possible by the directorship of Mrs. Susan Conklin.  She was the County Historian from 1980 to 2014.  Mrs. Conklin created individual folders for each student on their person.  She continued to do this for my students for the next 17 years. The project required students were to write a report and present their person to family and friends in a historical building.  

Recently a former student, Erin Suttell, brought over to our home a bin of records, pictures of clippings on her great-great grandfather's ice business from the 1800s.  She wanted to know where she could find information on her relative's business. So, I introduced her to the History Department. As a result, the Citizen's  Ice Business picture and many more paper items will now be housed and preserved at the History Department.  Thank you, Erin, for sharing Bernhardt Suttell's early ice business. 

I spent many months looking through files, books, directories, and photographs for my book. Ms.  Judy Stiles, a research assistant, was a continuous support and helped with my research. Ms. Ruth Koch is the Records Management Clerk.  Records Management handle about  4,440 square feet of County records every year and provides ready access to County Agencies in need of records. 

Michael Eula is the current Genesee County Historian and has taken the department in many new directions. The History Department regularly participates in local, statewide, and national, local history efforts. Examples:     Dr. Michael Eula wrote a legal history of Genesee County posted on The Historical  Society of the New York Courts website under "County Histories." This includes every County in New York State.

The History Department maintains an information booth at the Genesee County Fair.

Eula will be giving two upcoming presentations. One is at the Richmond Memorial Library on August 17th at 7 p.m. before the Genesee Area Genealogy Society and is open to the public. 

The second upcoming presentation is at the United Methodist Church in Pavilion on September 15th at 7 p.m. before the Civil War Roundtable and is also open to the public.

He is working on a book accepted by the State University of New York Press, an extended cultural and political history of Genesee County between 1802 and the present.

The History Department was featured in the June 2021 Western New York Genealogical Society Journal.

The History Department answers dozens of information requests generated by residents, residents of New York State outside of our County, and people from various states stretching to the west coast and the Midwest.

It regularly works with local historical societies, such as the Stafford Historical Society.

This is what you will be invited to when you enter the building. You can find cemetery records and newspaper microfilm from 1822 to 1997. In addition, there are atlases and maps from 1854 to 1900 and tax rolls on microfilm from 1850 to 2013.   Another section has genealogy files. Also, county and municipalities histories, church records from 1891-1937, city and county directories 1869 to 1980, and obituary records from 1891 to 1937 are shelved here.   Finally, military records, school documents, architectural files, photographs of over 10,000 images can be found in the History Department.

Utilize their genealogy assistance, local history assistance, request public presentations, and tour this hidden gem.

Please visit 3837 West Main Street Road,

County Building 2.

[email protected]

(585) 815-7904

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