This month we return "downstate", and present Richmond County. Richmond County comprises the main island of Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City, and three small islands. Henry Hudson saw Richmond during his first voyage in 1609. Over the years Staten Island has been the point of mustering and departure for New York State soldiers during various wars, home to wealthy 19th-century metropolitan New York area industrialists, and the first land many of our ancestors gazed at if they stepped off into the New World at the Port of New York or into New Jersey. Purchased from native residents in 1630 by Michael Pauw, a Dutch patroon, Staten Island subsequently came under ownership of the Dutch West India Company. It was later granted out in parcels, contested, and was again re-purchased from the Native Americans in 1651. The island came under British ownership in the 17th century, and was held by the King's troops from 1776 through 1783. Between 1819 and 1858, an official, permanent State quarantine area existed on Staten Island, in the town of Castleton.

Measuring approximately 14 miles long by about 8 miles wide, Staten Island is distinguished by it's well-defined family neighborhoods that developed from early small villages. Current residents of Staten Island value the history and diversity of their home - they live on "The Island" - a mix of urban congestion, "small-town" neighborhoods, picturesque nautical settlements and coastal shore, grand homes with wide lawns, pockets of poverty, flatlands and hills, and still-wild areas of wooded, serene natural beauty.

Before becoming the official NYGenWeb site, the all-volunteer team of Richmond County NYGenWeb was already establishing their site as the major online clearinghouse for genealogists seeking ancestors in Richmond County. Building this site was the labor of love of a small group of family researchers, historians and friends who recognized how much their specific history had to offer all of us whose ancestors passed through or by its shores. We were pleased to have them join us.

The tone of Richmond County GenWeb is set by Coordinator Janet Britton. Throughout your visit, her enthusiasm and engaging commentary will entertain. "Check out all our Stuff!" Janet and the Richmond Team have found just about every significant link and resource out there about the county, as well as well-chosen links and advice about genealogical research in general. Most interesting and helpful is her unique way of weaving links throughout the many topical discussions. Richmond County's volunteers are also receiving local recognition and the cooperation of local societies and organizations in promoting free online public access to public domain records. Included on the site as cooperative efforts are the Memorial of New York Loyalists (with permission of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society), records of interments and burials (with Friends of Abandoned Cemeteries of Staten Island ), and the index to Davis, Leng, and Vosburgh's local 1920's cemetery transcriptions (courtesy of The Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences). Richmond County NYGenWeb is continually developing significant original resources created by it's own volunteers, such as the full Richmond 1820 census and 1890 Veterans and Widows census indices, the 1847 passenger list of the Packetship Ashburton, a captioned antique photo and postcard collection, and of course, the site's strength in military offerings - WWI Navy rosters, WWI Casualty listings and the 1812 soldier index.

Indeed, this site is a piece of work, and may seem to have everything, but there are types of items they need more of - the little stuff that only site visitors can provide. As Janet says, Richmond County NYGenWeb needs your "Deeds, wills, marriage records, census records, Bible records, photos, military rosters, military records and pensions, etc." Step in to one of NYGenWeb's finest "online libraries."

Richmond County NYGenWeb
Return to NYGenWeb
Our Host, Rootsweb Genealogical Data Cooperative