Montgomery County NY Historical Societies,
Organizations & Helpful People


The historical societies and individual historians listed below want to help guide you in your family research. We're aware that there are other historians but not everyone wants to be listed in a public forum or has the time to give extensive help. Few townships have a budget to assist their historians. Most town historians are not paid by their local area but have been appointed or are volunteers - helping you is often an out-of-pocket expense.

"Research Tips Worth Reading & Pondering"

  • When writing for assistance, please  always include a S.A.S.E. and several additional stamps, offer to pay copying and mailing costs, collect phone calls, etc. Historians receive many requests for assistance, and appreciate it if you submit one focused research question about a particular person or family unit at a time.

  • Always call the societies and historians well ahead to confirm hours (sometimes seasonal or limited), types of assistance available, and types of information each society has.

  • To ensure that the research request volunteers and historians, don't "burn out and drop out", please limit yourself to one reseacher/facility at a time. During my visit to Herkimer County back in 1997, I was told that some of our site visitors were submitting the same research requests to different historians who, after each putting in hours of volunteered time, later found out from each other that they'd reinvented the wheel. It's a small world and historians and volunteers residing in a county are likely to refer to the identical historical resources to help you. Don't be "That Jerk" who no one wants to help again. We all know this research is exciting, but when you come right down to it our ancestors are most exciting to ourselves.

  • Advise each researcher/facility what has been done for you already (i.e. a list of all books and newspapers, censuses, cemetery lists, etc. used to date for your research question) and who has assisted you. Since local historians tend to know each other, they can then confer about your research problem.

  • If you've done original research on your own and are now looking for more info or have gotten some new leads, state clearly in your request letters what books, census years, etc. you yourself have covered already. You don't want to open an envelope of info that you paid for that basically contains information you already have. Haven't been able to do any research or you're a "newbie"? Let them know that as well, so no resource is overlooked.

  • When able, provide the historian with specific townships, villages, dates, etc. that can help them zero in on your specific Montgomery ancestor/family. This is important as your family might have moved out of the area and you receive a pack of info for unrelated persons who moved in 50 years later! A society, library or historian is not to be blamed for trying to be thorough and helpful.

  • Keep in mind that your own ancestor might not have left a paper trail, especially for the pre-vital records time period. When this is the case, the historian is still entitled to compensation for their time and effort searching on your behalf.

  • Your providing time period and location is to your advantage as a local researcher may know another descendant living in the area you mention to consult with. Blanket requests to the historians for "anything about the surnames "Snell", "Bellinger", "Petrie", etc." and other widely spread-out surnames are not helpful as genealogies of the old families are available by interlibrary loan or purchase (See our Libraries and Look-ups sections for some of these). Of course, nothing compares to the experience of doing our own research in the ancestral homes. The historians would love to meet the people who write to them and hope you'll come visit.

The County Courthouse

*Montgomery County Courthouse
New County Office Building
P.O. Box 1500
Fonda, NY 12068-1500
(518) 853-8115
County Clerk: Helen Bartone

Important - wills are not available at the County Courthouse, but in Surrogate Court.

The mailing address for the Surrogate Court is:
Montgomery Co. Surrogate's Court
P.O. Box 1500
Fonda, NY 12068

The fax number of the County Courthouse is (518) 853-8148. Faxes also can be sent to them for Surrogate's Court, marking Attn: Surrogate's Court. Be sure and ask at the time of request about fees for searching and copying, which are payable in advance!

Montgomery County Historical Societies

Montgomery County Department of History and Archives
9 Park St.
Old Court House
P. O. Box 1500
Fonda, NY 12068-1500
Telephone: 518-853-8186 or 518-853-8187
Fax: (518) 853-8392<

The Montgomery County Dept. of History and Archives, in Fonda, NY, is one of the finest genealogical facilities in the State of New York. Information will also be found for early ancestors whose residential location now lies within Fulton, Otsego and Schoharie Counties. Researchers traveling to Herkimer County or surrounding counties should schedule an extra day to stop in here as well.

From Kelly A. Yacobucci Farquhar, County Historian/RMO - "We receive over 3,000 visitors annually to our library - researchers from all over the country diligently "digging" to find their roots. There are church records, census & military records, cemetery and vital records, county histories, and genealogies that occupy our shelves. In addition, researchers who wish to, donate their material to our family files for the benefit of those that follow them."

Contact the archives directly regarding hours of operation, research fees and research request forms, family file surname lists, publications, etc.! They typically respond to research requests in 6 to 8 weeks time.

Closed on Legal Holidays

Kelly says "Our research fees are now $20.00 per hour and there is a research request form available on our website ( -- this is now the official website for the department)."

***A printed catalog of their genealogical and historical materials is available for $12.00 postpaid.***


Montgomery County Department of History and Archives FACEBOOK Page

Ft. Plain Free Library
19 Willett St.
Fort Plain, NY 13339-1130
County: Montgomery
Phone: (518) 993-4646

Fort Plain Free Library

Information about some of their local history holdings, including some photos, is on line at this page, part of the Mohawk Valley Library Association's site.

Margaret Reaney Memorial Library
19 Kingsbury Avenue
St. Johnsville, New York 13452

If your ancestors lived in St. Johnsville, this library has a collection that includes surname and obituary files, county histories, church and cemetery records, individual family manuscripts, gazetteers, scrapbooks and pamphlets. Also copies of the St. Johnsville Enterprise and News newspaper dating back to 1901. During the 1920s - 1940s the E & N had weekly genealogical columns. The obituary file of the E & N (now the Courier-Standard-Enterprise) is now cross-referenced with a new and growing marriage index. These files are constantly updated and maintained on a computer database.

Further information about their genealogical and local history collection, and making a visit there to use the collections, can be had from Marta Zimmerman, Assistant Director, weekday afternoons between 1 and 5 pm New York time only. To help further the maintenance of the collection and handling of requests, when you write or visit consider taking out a membership in the "Friends of the Margaret Reaney Memorial Library". Indiv. yearly membership - $5; Family membership - $8; Supporting membership - $15. Checks payable to "Friends of Margaret Reaney Library". Tell her you saw the library listed on the Montgomery County NYGenWeb site.

Canajoharie Town Clerk's Office (not town historian)
12 Mitchell Street
Canajoharie, NY 13317
(518) 673-3112

Palatine Town Clerk's Office
Linda E. Logan
141 West Grand St.
P. O. Box 40
Palatine Bridge, NY 13428
(518) 673-4487

- BMD records for town residents 1882 - 1908 (some years missing)
- land purchase records (currently unindexed)
- no cemetery records

Acquisition of records:
- free for genealogical use (noncertified copies of BMD records)
- requests for records by phone, postal mail, or e-mail

Winter hours (Sept. - Jun.):
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 8 A.M.-1 P.M.
Tuesday 5-7 P.M.

Summer hours (Jul. - Aug.):
Monday 8-11 A.M.
Tuesday 2:30-7:30 P.M.
Wednesday, Thursday 2:30-5:30 P.M.

Palatine Town Supervisor
Mr. Sieds Jonker
141 W. Grand St.
P. O. Box 40
Palatine Bridge, NY 13428
(518) 673-4487
For inquiries regarding Palatine Bridge cemeteries, their addresses, and location of cemetery records. Does not possess records; does not do lookups.

Palatine Town Historian
There is currently no Town of Palatine historian.

- None
- Only has access to the same records available through town clerk

The New York Heritage site is composed of libraries and historical organizations from across the state.

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Last Updated: 6/17/13
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