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 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 and Hours
Chautauqua County offers a research area for the public to use in the County Clerk's department during regular business hours Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM (8:30 AM to 4:30 PM 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.
The County Clerk's address is: P.O. Box 170, Mayville, NY 14757
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.
Explanation of Record Series Descriptions
In order to assist researchers with finding information they require, the County Clerk's office has created a series description for each record type included in the finder's guide. A series is a group of records maintained as a unit because they relate to a particular subject or function. Each entry includes:
- Series Number: A sequential number, one assigned to each record series.
- Series Title: The name of the record series, includes alternate names used during different time periods, or alternate names used in state and court retention schedules.
- CO-2 or OCA Number: These codes reference the records retention and disposition schedules used by the County. CO-2 indicates the NYS Archives schedule for counties and OCA indicates the Unified Court System.
- Begin Date & End Date: Indicates the earliest and latest dates for the records. If the end date is 9999, the record series still being created.
- Arrangement: The manner in which the records are arranged, either chronological, alphabetical, or numerical.
- Volume: Filed records are measured in cubic foot totals or in numbers of volumes.
- Condition: Describes the physical conditions of the records such as good, fair, or poor, fragile, dirty, etc. This serves as a guide for handling requirements and future preservation needs.
- Related Series: Indicates other series that have a direct and significant connection, such as a separate index.
- Series Description: A description of the type of information contained within the record. The description of the series as written in the State Retention Schedule or the Unified Court System schedule is also included.
- Notes: Any other information about the records that may be of assistance to users.