Welcome to the Putnam County Historian’s Office and Archives! We are located in Brewster, New York, in the lower Hudson River Valley region. Our local government office preserves, interprets, and promotes the history of Putnam County. New York’s Town and Village Historians have been serving public history since 1919, in part to document World War I Veterans back into civilian life. The New York State Legislature authorized a provision for the appointment of County Historians by an Act of March 31, 1933, ch. 107, 1933 N.Y. Laws 156. County Historians are appointed by the Putnam County Executive and confirmed by the Putnam County Legislature. New York State defines the work of County Historians in four broad categories: research and writing, teaching and public presentations, historic preservation, and organization, advocacy and tourism promotion. In Putnam County, we have been collecting historical records, maps, books, photographs, and periodicals since 1953 to support these efforts. In 1992, the Putnam County Archives was established in the Historian’s Office to preserve, arrange, describe, and make accessible the governmental records of Putnam County. We hope that the archives and collection will be used as a resource for people in our county and elsewhere. The collection finding aid is available here: The Putnam County Historian’s Archives Digital Finding Aid and is also linked to OCLC’s Archives Grid. We are consortia members of SENYLRC’s Hudson River Valley Heritage digital initiative at HRVH – PUTNAM COUNTY and you can find us on Facebook at Putnam Historian and some of our sites on the History Pin app!
Please give us the subject of your research and the scope of your inquiry. We will check our databases and indexes to see what relevant materials we may have that could help with your research. As we are a government department, we may not spend a great deal of staff time on an individual’s private research or to search unindexed records. (We will inform you of any charges for postage or photocopies.)
Although there are a great many genealogical resources here, we are not genealogists. If you need to do extensive research here, but cannot come yourself, we can supply you with a list of genealogists who are familiar with Putnam County families. You will have to negotiate their fees with them.
We have compiled (and update annually) a Handbook for Putnam County History and Genealogy, which is available for $7.00, plus $3.00 postage. The Handbook contains a bibliography of resources that are available here in Putnam County, including other libraries and repositories, local government historians, and historical societies and museums. If you want a copy, please send a check payable to the Putnam County Historian along with your postal address.
For further help with boundary and place name changes of Putnam’s towns and villages, click here for TOWN LINKS.