Significance and Use of Local Histories
Columbia County local histories can be valuable research tools. They provide historical context that may assist you when utilizing other types of genealogy records in your family research. Columbia County has a number of local histories that may be of use and can be a great source of genealogical information.
However, a little bit of a caution should be taken when reviewing these types of older history publications. Any information you find in these works should be verified through other sources, preferably primary sources. Generally, these publications can vary greatly in terms of substantive information and correctness. Having said that, information they contain may provide a “jumping off point” to assist you in continuing your research.
All of the publications mentioned in this blog are accessible digitally. Content within the books can be either searched directly on the website or can be downloaded to your computer.
Columbia County Histories
The publishers of the county histories referenced below relied on local officials and residents to provide historical content. Both are basically organized the same way, providing the following topics on both a county-wide and town level:
- Geographical descriptions
- Early settlers
- Military rosters and history
- Religious organizations
- Town leaders and officials
- Educational institutions
- Agricultural and business development
“History of Columbia County, New York With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers” was published in 1878. This work of 600+ pages is available through the Internet Archive.
“Columbia County at the end of the century : a historical record of its formation and settlement, its resources, its institutions, its industries, and its people” was written about 20 years after “History of Columbia County”. It is comprised of two volumes and is available through FamilySearch. Please note: You will need to sign up with FamilySearch to view these volumes (it’s free to sign up).
Hillsdale Town History
“A History of Hillsdale, Columbia County, New York”. This book, published in 1883, is available through the Internet Archive. It was compiled by John Francis Collin who had conducted research on his own ancestors from the area. In chapter one, he mentions the resources he used during his research, which included historical publications and materials he collected personally. This work is an interesting read and he makes mention of many of the early residents of Hillsdale.
History of the City of Hudson
“A History of the City of Hudson” is also available through the Internet Archive. Published in 1908, the author, Mrs. Anna R. Bradley, provides information on the resources she used in her research. The book’s introduction includes an in-depth biographical sketch of Henry Hudson. The contents of this book on Hudson’s history describes the development of the city along with the individuals who helped to establish it through the creation of industrial, religious, educational, political and social institutions.
What Will Your Search of Columbia County’s Local Histories Reveal?
After reviewing these digital publications, did you find anything new or interesting that you can add to your family history research? If so, I’d be interested to learn about it. Feel free to leave a comment below, or better yet if you haven’t done so already, join the Columbia County Genealogy Facebook Group.
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