Lauren Roberts, County Historian – Email
Phone: (518) 884-4749
FAX: (518) 884-4771
40 McMaster Street
Ballston Spa, N.Y. 12020
Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 9am – 4pm
Admission to the Saratoga County Historian’s Office is by appointment. Please make an appointment with the office by phone or email and include the subject of your research.
Saratoga County History
On February 7, 1791, Saratoga County was formed from its parent, Albany County. Within the county’s borders are the Adirondack Mountains, the Kayaderosseras Creek and Sacandaga River, numerous lakes and streams, and rolling farmland. The Hudson River forms the eastern and northern boundary of the county, and the Mohawk River, the southernmost boundary. Originally, Saratoga County had four towns: Ballston, Stillwater, Halfmoon and Saratoga. Today there are nineteen towns and two cities. Warren, Washington, Rensselaer, Albany, Schenectady, Montgomery, Fulton, and Hamilton Counties all border Saratoga County.
Saratoga County’s prominence in American History is greatly due to its location and geography. As described by Nathaniel Sylvester in his book, History of Saratoga County, “In the angle formed by the junction of these two long deep valleys or passes through the mountain ranges, in the angle between the old Indian war-trails, in the angle between the pathway of armies, in the angle between the great modern routes of travel, in the angle formed by the junction of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers, lies the territory now known as the county of Saratoga.”
Pre-historic Native Americans used the lands of Saratoga County as hunting and fishing grounds. In later years, the name Sarach-togue was given to the Hudson River area by the Mohawk, meaning ‘hillside of a great river’ or ‘place of the swift water.’” (Saratoga County Heritage). In 1777, during the American Revolution, General Gates defeated British forces, under General Burgoyne, at the Battles of Saratoga. Saratoga County was also a gateway for the westward migration of many settlers, as the Mohawk River provided a natural passageway through the Appalachian Mountains. Both the historic Champlain Canal, located on the Hudson River, and the Erie Canal, located on the Mohawk River, operated in this county.
Like our predecessors, current residents of Saratoga County hike its mountains and wooded paths, boat on its rivers, fish in its lakes and streams, and farm its rolling lands. Today’s residents also enjoy visiting a vast number of preserved historic sites, museums, and parks that have been established throughout Saratoga County. Combined with the economic prosperity that Saratoga County enjoys, it is easily understood why over 200,000 people choose to call Saratoga County home today.
The primary responsibility of the historian is to interpret the past. It is the obligation of the historian to educate the public through:
- research and writing
- teaching and public presentation
- historic preservation
- organization and advocacy.
Public Education Programs
The History of Saratoga County is a 30 minute PowerPoint Presentation. The presentation is a general overview of the history of our county from the prehistoric period to present day. The presentation explores little known and interesting facts.
Records Available at the Saratoga County Historians Office is a 45 minute PowerPoint presentation that explains the types of sources, both primary and secondary, available at the Saratoga County Historian’s Office. This presentation can be tailored to discuss specific fields of research.
The La Rue Collection
A 45 minute PowerPoint presentation about the Joseph LaRue family of Charlton. Joseph LaRue was an early settler and became one of the first Justices of the Peace in Saratoga County. Research is based on 600 original documents dating from the late 1700s and early 1800s which were found beneath the attic floorboards in the historic LaRue farmhouse.
- Cornelius Durkee Scapbooks
- Henry C. Ritchie, Saratoga County Families Collection
- Hayden Collection
- Ormsbee Family Collection
- Mann Family Collection
- John Sheehan Collection
- LaRue Collection
- Kayaderosseras Patent Field Books
- Saratoga County Cemetery Collection
- Voter Lists: 1912-1975
- Tax Lists: 1779, 1786-1788
- Portraits and Photography Collection
- Saratoga County Honors our Deceased Veterans
- Doris Armstrong Local History Collection
- Federal Census; 1800-1840, 1860-1870, 1890-1930
- New York State Census; 1855-1925
- Assessment Records
- Early Town Records
- Town Files; including Church, Cemetery, Historic Place and additional records
- Surname Files
- Subject Files
- Military History
- Local History Reference Collection
- 1856 Geil Map of Saratoga County
- 1856 Slator Map of Ballston Spa
- 1866 Beers Atlas of Saratoga County
- 1875 Beers Map of Saratoga and Ballston
- 1890 Lant & Silvernail Farmers Atlas of Saratoga County
- Various Topographical Maps
- Survey Maps
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