Tips on Genealogy Research
in Troy, New York

Bill McGrath of Clifton Park, Saratoga County, NY has kindly offered these tips for those doing genealogical research in Rensselaer County, NY. Many relevant resources are in Troy, the county seat of Rensselaer County. Bill writes, "After several years of doing genealogy research in Troy, New York, you get to know what types of records are available, who has the records and where you can go to access them. The following compilation of tips was put together to summarize what I have found in my research in Troy. I have also added some items available through the internet that have been very helpful. It is hoped that researchers interested in Troy records will find this outline useful." (Note: For those of you who live farther away than Bill does, I've added a few geographical notes about the towns mentioned below under the City Directories section.)

Tips on Genealogy Research in Troy, New York

1. Troy Public Library

Troy Public Library
Hart Memorial Building
100 Second Street
Troy, New York 12180

Telephone: (518) 274-7071

This imposing white marble building was donated by Mary E. Hart in memory of her late husband, William Howard Hart. Opened on May 12, 1897, the building is in the American Renaissance style and was designed by the New York City architectural firm of J. Steward Barney and Henry Otis Chapman. The library has a wonderful Tiffany stained-glass window and an impressive carved fireplace.

The Troy Genealogy Room on the first floor is a great place for your family research. Here are just some of the great resources at the library:

2. Rensselaer County Court House

Rensselaer County Court House
80 Second Street
Troy, New York 12180

(corner of Congress and Second Streets, just north of the Troy Library)

If you are researching relatives who died in Rensselaer County, the Surrogate's Court in the Court House is a great source. They allow you to see the files in the basement on Rensselaer County Decedents. Records are either on 4 x 6 cards or in bound books, as follows:

1794-1873 One Book covers A to Z
1874-1881 One Book covers A to Z
1881-1916 One Book covers A to K - Other Book covers L to Z

Index Cards Index cards are in drawers by years:


Index cards are 4 x 6.

Yellow cards - testates (there was a will)
Pink cards - intestate (there was no will)
Green cards - small estate

Records on cards and in books have volume and page reference which direct you to copies of legal documents in bound books on the shelves. Assistance is required if you want photocopies.

Wear old clothes when researching these bound books, since the leather covers are in bad shape and you get covered with a red powder. You also have to pass through a metal detector to access the building.

3. Troy City Hall

Troy City Hall
1 Monument Square
Troy, New York 12180

(on the east bank of the Hudson River)

Copies of birth and death records, if the event occurred in Troy, are available from:

Bureau of Vital Statistics
1 Monument Square
Troy, NY 12180

Telephone: (518) 270-4587 The cost of birth and death records for genealogy purposes is $22.00.

Under New York state law, a birth certificate must not be issued until 75 years after the event UNLESS you can document that you are a direct-line descendent.

In the case of a death certificate, it must not be issued until 50 years after the event, UNLESS you can document that you are a direct-line descendent.

4. Rensselaer County Clerk's Office

Rensselaer County Clerk's Office
105 Third Street
Troy, New York 12180

(directly behind the Court House)

The County Clerk's Office has a number of records of interest to genealogy researchers. Request to see the records in the basement, and you will be granted access.

5. Online Genealogy Help

A number of tools useful to genealogy researchers are available using the internet. Here are some to consider:

Bill McGrath
July 2005

Send comments or suggestions to:
Debby Masterson

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