County Historian

Historical Document
Archival Records
Archival records are those documents that have enduring administrative, historical, legal, and other research value. One of the components of Chautauqua County's Records Management Program is to identify, preserve, and make available for research the archival records of Chautauqua County.

In an effort to develop the archival component of the Records Management Program, the county clerk and the records management coordinator reviewed records with a permanent retention and selected the records included in this guide as having the most potential for historical research. This guide does not include all of the records available at the County Court House.

Scope of the Collection
The County Clerk's Office archives include many of the county's earliest legal and court records, dating from 1811. The archives include only those records that have been created by the County Government itself or by persons closely associated with the government.

Access & Hours
Chautauqua County offers a research area for the public to use in the County Clerk's Department during the regular business hours of Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June through August). The Clerk's Office is located at 1 N. Erie St., Mayville on the first floor of the old court house building.

Formation of Chautauqua County
A petition was presented to the legislature of Genesee County in March 1808, asking for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties to be formed from Genesee County. The act that resulted provided that Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties should act in conjunction with Niagara County until they "should respectively contain 500 taxable inhabitants."

Chautauqua County was fully organized in 1811, when it was ascertained from the assessment rolls of 1810, that the county contained 500 voters. A council of appointment, consisting of the state governor and four senators, appointed the county's first officers. The first elections in Chautauqua County were held in April 1812.

Student Historical Projects

  1. These web pages were developed by students at SUNY- Fredonia as a class project. Data was compiled by the students from local historical repositories, including the County Historian's office.

    Sarah Sinfield project:

    Lost Dunkirk project: