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Rensselaer County, New York
Genealogy, History & Facts

Rensselaer County, New York Facts

Rensselaer County

When was Rensselaer County, NY Created?
Rensselaer County was created on February 07, 1791 from Albany County. This particular county was named in honor of the family of Kiliaen van Rensselaer (before 1596 – after 1643), the early landholder in the Dutch New Amsterdam colony .

What is the County Seat of Rensselaer County, NY?
The County Seat is located in Troy and in addition the county government website is

What counties are adjacent to Rensselaer County, NY?
Bordering Counties are Washington County (north), Bennington County, VT (northeast), Berkshire County, MA (southeast), Columbia County (south), Greene County (southwest), Albany County (west), Saratoga County (northwest) .

What cities and towns are in Rensselaer County, NY?
Cities and towns located in the County include Averill Park, Berlin (town), Brunswick (town), Castleton-on-Hudson (village), East Greenbush (town), East Nassau (village), Grafton (town), Hampton Manor, Hoosick Falls (village), Hoosick (town), Nassau (town), Nassau (village), North Greenbush (town), Petersburgh (town), Pittstown (town), Poestenkill (town), Rensselaer (city), Sand Lake (town), Schaghticoke (town), Schaghticoke (village), Schodack (town), Stephentown (town), Troy (city), Valley Falls (village), West Sand Lake, Wynantskill.

Rensselaer County, NY Vital Records

Where can find Rensselaer County Birth, marriage, Divorce and Death Records?
Rensselaer County vital records can be found at the New York Department of Health which has copies of birth records after 1881 and death records after 1880, copies of marriage since 1881 (A marriage license may also sometimes be found in the office of the town or city clerk who issued the license) and a Divorce records since 1847 (Is handled in the supreme court for the county in which the divorce was heard. Divorce files, however, are sealed for one hundred years). There is a fee for each copy requested. Please refer to the information to the Statewide Vital Records in New York for current fees and application process.

You can search online for Rensselaer County Birth, Marriage, Divorce or Death Records. You can also Order Electronically Online or can download an application for New York Birth and Death Certificate, Marriage and Divorce Certificate Application to mail.

Rensselaer County, NY Census Records

What Rensselaer County, NY census records are available?
There are many types of census records for Rensselaer County guide you in researching your family tree. Federal Population Schedules are available for 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (free index), 1890 (fragment), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.

Rensselaer Co. Mortality Schedules can be obtained for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Rensselaer Co. Industry and Agriculture is available for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Rensselaer Co. Union Veterans Schedules can be obtained for 1890.

There are New York State censuses from 1880, 1892, 1905, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925. You can get free downloadable and also printable census forms to help you with your research. See Also New York Census Records Research Guide

Rensselaer County, NY Courthouse and Government Records

Rensselaer County Courthouse

What genealogical records can I find in the Rensselaer County Courthouse?
The below facts shows exactly what death, marriage, birth, property, wills, and court records are typically in Rensselaer County. The years listed below are the first noted records with this county. See Also New York Corthouse Records Research Guide.

  • Rensselaer County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
    • Address: 80 Second Street, Troy, NY 12180
    • Also contact local Town Clerks. They are responsible for vast amounts of local information from deeds, property transfers, and genealogical materials. Research on place and road names, the history of property transfers and much more are available through your Town Clerk. They are a tremendous resources.
  • Rensselaer County Clerk  is the keeper of most civil and criminal trial court records for Supreme Court and County Court, naturalizations, marriages (1908–35), censuses (Some county clerks' offices hold duplicate copies of some of the State censuses taken periodically between 1825 and 1925 and copies of the federal census), as well as deeds and mortgages.
    • Address: 105 Third Street, Troy, NY 12180
    • Phone: (518) 270-4080
    • Land Records: 1791 (Land conveyances, deeds and mortgages are recorded in the county clerks' offices or in the New York City Register's Office. Recording of deeds became mandatory statewide in 1840. Before that many deeds were not recorded)
    • Court Records: 1791
    • Naturalization Records: State court naturalization records remain in custody of the county clerks. Older court naturalization records have been transferred to the National Archives--Northeast Region.
  • Rensselaer County Surrogate Court Clerk maintain records of wills, letters testamentary, letters of administration, orders and decrees, and appointments of guardians; and filed papers, including original wills, petitions for probate (gives date of death and lists next of kin), performance bonds, property inventories (seldom found after ca. 1900), administrator's or executor's accountings, etc. Surrogate's Courts create comprehensive indexes to records and files.
    • Phone: (518) 285-6100
    • Probate Records: 1794 (each county generally has records dating back to the establishment of the county or 1787, whichever was later. Record keeping was systematized by an 1830 statute)
  • Rensselaer County Treasurer is responsible for the collection of taxes.
  • Rensselaer County Historian maintains archival holdings for virtually every facet of the county’s history. In New York State, every municipality (town, city, village, county) must have an appointed historian. Most of the towns have their own historians as well and each can be contacted. The County Historian may provide access to obituaries, vital records, church records, maps, and family files or journals. Some historians provide search services for their office records and others may refer you to local genealogists who research in the area.
    • Address: 59 Second Street, Troy, NY 12180
    • Phone: (518) 272-7232 
  • Rensselaer County, New York Records, 1908
  • Abstracts of wills of Rensselaer County, New York : in the office of the Surrogate at Troy, New York, 1791-1850
  • New York Wills, 1626-1836
  • BLM Land Records

Rensselaer County, NY Societies and Family History Resources

What genealogical and historical societies, archives, museums, associations and libraries are available for Rensselaer County, NY?
A list of Rensselaer County Historical  and Genealogical Societies, Libraries, Archives. See also list of Statewide New York Archives, Historical & Genealogical Societies.

Where can I connect with other Rensselaer County, NY Researchers through message boards and forums?

What other genealogical resources are available in Rensselaer County, NY?
The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources pertaining to Rensselaer County. Most of these genealogy links fall into 3 categories: Business oriented Sites, Private Sites or Organization Sites. Some have free access some have to have a cost. This is simply a listing that has been compiled or submitted. I do not recommend or promote one genealogy site over another.

Rensselaer Co. NY Books, Newspapers & Publications

Rensselaer Co. NY Cemeteries & Church Records

Rensselaer Co. NY Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Rensselaer Co. NY General and History Websites

Rensselaer Co. NY Immigration & Naturalization

Rensselaer Co. NY Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Rensselaer Co. NY Military Records

Rensselaer Co. NY Schools & Directories

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