Dutchess Posts Early Court Records

12,000 pages of interest to historians, genealogists

Dutchess County, which last year celebrated the 300th anniversary of the 1715 appointment of its first county clerk, has scanned and posted more than 12,000 pages of early legal documents of interest to historians and genealogists. The Ancient Documents Portal, accessible through a link at dutchessny.gov/countyclerk and searchable by keyword and name, was a joint project of the county historian and county clerk. It contains the oldest surviving manuscripts from the Dutchess County Court of Common Pleas and General Sessions, which began operation in 1721.

“The Ancient Documents Collection provides a unique window into the early history of Dutchess County, showing how African-American, Native American, Dutch, and German residents interacted, and demonstrating that Dutchess County has long been an economic and legal hub for the region,” said County Historian William P. Tatum III.

The project was funded by a $54,850 grant from the New York State Archives. Another $37,800 has been secured for the next phase of the project this year.

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