Read Me First ...basic info about the Surname Index                Bookmark and Share

In January 2012 we began an ongoing project to create a surname index for the content of our Museum.

Our museum has a great collection of documents, in addition to artifacts, related to the history of the Town of Gorham.  Although our content is filed in an orderly fashion, it is not easy for volunteers to assist researchers interested in a specific surname.  A central surname index of our content will be a great benefit to both researchers and our volunteers.

What is an index?

An index is an ordered list containing limited information, with reference to resources for further study.  An index usually contains only a small subset of the information that is contained in the original document.  One of the Golden Rules of research is to always use an index to find and review the original document.  Do not be content with findings in an index.

How is the Surname Index structured?

The index is sorted alphabetically by surname.  Within surname it is sorted by first name.  Each record contains the following fields of data:

Item #                            Item # is used to order copies, see How to Order Copies

Surname                        Surname or last name of the individual referenced

First Middle                  If indicated, the first name and/or middle name will be given.

Maiden Married            For adult females, when indicated, maiden names and other married                                                 names are included.  When it is likely that a name is a maiden name, it is                                       enclosed in parentheses.  Females, when possible, are indexed multiple                                           times under all known surnames.

Birth Yr                        If indicated, year of birth.

Marriage Yr                  If indicated, year of marriage.

Death Yr                       If indicated, year of death.

Event Yr                       If indicated, year of an event other than birth, marriage, or death.

                           Year Notes:

  •  The year of birth, marriage, death, and event are included when known to help the researcher identify the individual’s timeframe.  The index only includes a 4 digit year even when the source document indicates the month and day as well.
  •  Years may be given as a range.  Usually this is done in the case of multiple events. 
  • Years may be preceded by “ca.” for circa which means approximate or calculated.

V=Veteran                 If indicated, military service.  May include code for a war such as:

                                    VRW                   Revolutionary War                                                                                                V1812                  War of 1812                                                                                                            VCW                   Civil War                                                                                                                VWWI                World War I                                                                                                            VWWII               World War II                                                                                                            VKW                   Korean War                                                                                                            VVN                    Viet Nam War

Repos.                       Repository where document is stored.  Repositories include:

                                  TGHS for Town of Gorham Historical Society Museum

                                  FS for Family Search at

                                  HQ for Heritage Quest, a database offered by participating libraries. If                                             your local library does not offer Heritage Quest,                                                                    or offer comparable                                                     content. 

                                  NYGRDI for New York Genealogical Death Index (1957-1963) at                      

                                  TGHSYCB2 for Town of Gorham Historical Society/Yates County Binder                                         2. Our museum has a copy of Yates County Cemeteries and Cemetery                                         Burials, Book Two: Italy, Middlesex, Potter and Rushville compiled by                                         Frances Dumas and Sherry Conybearer, ©1997.  This book can be                                             purchased at the Yates County History Center Museum Shop or at                                        The content of this volume can                                         be accessed at                                                    /CemHeader.htm.

  Source                       Source document within the repository

Location or ID          Page number or other pointer to the specific location of a reference


Is all the information in our index correct?  Is all the information in our source documents correct?

The answer to both questions is “of course not.”  We’ve worked hard to provide an accurate index to our content, but undoubtedly there will be some errors.  Our documents, likewise, will contain some errors or inconsistencies.  You, the researcher, must evaluate the content and quality of all evidence that you discover. 

Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to research and verify the documentation in our museum.  We are “just” indexing our content and we hope this effort will be beneficial for your research.


Can the Town of Gorham Historical Society research my family?

We would love to, but we just do not have resources to research individual families for fee or free.  The following organizations have directories of genealogists organized by specialties and geographic location:

Association of Professional Genealogists (APG),

Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG),

International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen),