First Presbyterian Church Of Geneva Records,1808-1984.

Collection Number: 6017

Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Cornell University Library


First Presbyterian Church of Geneva records, 1808-1984.
Collection Number:
First Presbyterian Church of Geneva (Geneva, N.Y.)
3 reels microfilm.
Forms of Material:
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
Fourteen volumes including one volume account book (1810-1811), records of the Geneva Examining Committee of the Western Executive Society of the Presbyterian Education Society (1832-1840); four volumes of minutes of session (1808-1865); two volumes of church members (1852-1854); a list of baptisms (1827-1851); receipts and expenses including those pertaining to the construction of the church (1813-1845); two volumes of memorabilia (1798-1877) and records of the First Congregational Church of Geneva (1845-1853).
Collection material in English


Established in 1800, the original church was built in 1809-1811. A new church was built in the 1870's. A portion of the congregation seceded in 1829 to form the Associated Reform Church (records at Geneva Historical Society); another in 1845 to become the Protestant Reformed "Dutch" First Congregational Church of Geneva (some on microfilm, majority in Presbyterian Church), and yet another in 1857 to form the Westminster Church.


The First Presbyterian Church of Geneva Records, 1808-l884, 14 vols., mainly document session meetings from 1808-1865. Although the church was established in 1800, there are no records until 1808. Several groups branched off to form new churches: Associated Reform Church, 1825 (records at Geneva Historical Society); Protestant Reformed "Dutch" Church, 1845-1853 (some on microfilm, majority in Presbyterian Church basement); Westminster Church, 1857-1859 (locations of records unknown). All records received have been microfilmed and the originals returned to the church.
The records include Articles of Faith, Covenants, and the mintues which include: names of individuals who received baptism, examples of the church functioning as a court, names of persons admitted to the church and how they were admitted (i.e. by letter, certificate, or on examination), names of persons suspended or excommunicated from the church.
There are also two volumes of unarranged memorabilia (1798-1877) which include: correspondence between various church members, receipts of payments made to pastors, accounts of monies collected from the General Assembly to finance the building of the second church, and records of trustees meetings.

First Presbyterian Church of Geneva (Geneva, N.Y.)
First Congregational Church of Geneva (Geneva, N.Y.)
Presbyterian Church Education Society.Western Executive Society.Geneva Examining Committee.

Presbyterian Church--Education.
Presbyterian Church--New York (State)--Geneva.
Presbyterian Church--Membership.
Presbyterian Church--Finance.
Presbyterian church buildings.

Geneva (N.Y.)--Religious life and customs.
Ontario County (N.Y.)--Religious life and customs.

Form and Genre Terms:
Baptismal certificates.
Account books.


Cite As:
First Presbyterian Church of Geneva records, #6017. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.


Reel 1 Item 1
Account Book, 1810-1811 , unarranged
Contains: account records of purchases and payments made by the church for labor, lumber, stone, Doric columns, furnace, painting, masonry, plowing, whiskey, cows, lime and wheatl records of workers names, amount of time they worked on the construction of the church. Also contains records of subscription payments and pew ground payments for the new church.
Reel 1 Item 2
Records of the Geneva Examining Committee of the Western Executive Society of the Presbyterian Education Society, January 7, 1832 - December 15 , 1840 Chronological, not paginated
Contains minutes of Committee meetings; including approval of new members to the society, names and ages of new members and those recommending them, as well as the name and location of their church.
Reel 1 Item 3
Organization of Church 1800, Minutes of Session, 1808 - 1819 , Chronological, indexed
Contains Articles of Faith (p. 2), Covenant (p. 4), and session minutes which include: admission in the church, names of persons baptized, deaths are also noted, and lists of members dismissed from the church. Also are examples of the church functioning as a court and admission of Blacks to the church.
Also included: "Minutes of the Presbytery February 21, 1815" which contains lists of persons present, requests for new churches, approvals of new pastors, and various questions posed at the meeting.
Reel 1 Item 4
Minutes of Session, 1819 - 1826 , Index, chronological
Contains: membership lists; names of persons baptized; records of persons admitted to the church (Black and White); records of moral cases heard by the session (documentation of a trial - with questions made to the witnesses and accused, and their answers - involving a couple's separation over religion); records of church members who were suspended and the reasons why (e.g. alcohol, adultery, stealing, for telling falsehoods).
Included in the back (beginning on p. 234) are lists of communicants; the dates they were received; and how they were received (i.e. by letter, examination or certificate); and lists of baptisms.
Reel 1 Item 5
Records of Annual Reports of the Church, 1810 - 1871 , Minutes of Session, 1826 - 1853 , Chronological
Minutes contain: names of persons suspended from the church and reasons for their suspension; names of persons elected deacons and elders; church opinions on subjects like dancing, profane language, and slander; names of persons excommunicated from the church; confessions of persons guilty of various crimes; records of pastors installed in the church (listing date, names of persons in attendance, and speakers' names); names of persons baptized; dedication of the new church (December 1839); and names of persons dismissed from the church.
Note: There appear to have been revivals or camp meetings held in March -April 1831, and February - April 1836, as unusually large numbers of persons presented themselves as candidates for admission.
Records of annual reports contain: total membership numbers for the years between 1810 and 1871. Included in these records are numbers of deaths and dismissals per year, number of new members (by examination and by certificate) and the number of infant and adult baptisms.
Reel 1 Item 6
Minutes of Session, 1853 - 1365 , Chronological
Contains: names of persons admitted to the church and how they were admitted (i.e. by letter, certificate or examination), names of persons baptized, persons who received letters of dismissal, names of church members who died and the dates of their deaths, names of persons suspended from the church and reasons for suspension, records of elections of elders and deacons.
Reel 1 Item 7
Church Members, 1817 - 1884, Chronological
Preface contains rules for keeping session records, proper methods of writing letters of dismission, and information on how to keep a General Registry and its contents.
Register contains: names of pastors, when they were installed, when they left the church (through dismissal or death); register of Elders (includes dates of installation, death or dismissal); register of Deacons; register of church members (when received, how received, name, deaths, dismissals, suspensions, excommunications). Also included is a list of all members in alphabetical order at the rear of the book.
Reel 1 Item 8
General Register, 18l8 - 1865 , Chronological
Includes same preface as Item #7. Register includes: register of Pastors, register of elders, register of deacons, listing of church members (date received, how received, and whether or not the person vas baptized.
This register is much more complete than Item #7. Alphabetical listing of members at the rear of the book.
Reel 1 Item 9
General Register, 1819 - l854 , Part 1, Chronological
Contains lists of church members who entered or left the church between 1819 and 1827. Remarks describe the persons method of leaving the church (suspension, dismissal, death). Also included: how members were received and when they were received. Alphabetical listing of members in rear.
Reel 1 Item 9
Lists of Baptisms, April 8, 1827 - December 4, 1851 , Chronological, Part 2
Includes name of person receiving baptism, date received, parents' names (if infants).
Reel 1 Item 10
Register of the Members of the Presbyterian Church Baptisms, 1852 - 1874, Chronological Alphabetical
Register contains names of members received, how they were received and when they were received.
Baptism records contain lists of names (in alphabetical order) of persons baptized, the date and parents' names (if infants) of those baptized.
Reel 1 Item 11
Receipts and Expenses, 1813 - 1845 , Unarranged
Alphabetical accounts of payments to pastors for their services, records of monies owed the church by members (subscription payments, pew rents and taxes); and how the payment vas made (usually in cash, sometimes through services).
Reel 2 Item 12
Presbyterian Memoribilia Geneva, Vol. 1, Unarranged
Contains: copy of certain Articles of Confession of Faith (c. 1804); letters written to church members; tables shoving trustees elected to the church 1798 - 1812; letter to Rev. J. Chapman informing him that the church offered him the position of senior pastor (at a salary of $350/year paid semi-annually) from the church elders (c. 1812), and earlier letters offering him a position as pastor; receipts of payments made to ministers; record of lumber purchased for the church; records of a trustees' meeting; account of money collected for the building of the church from the General Assembly; "Act for the relief of the Trustees of the Presbyterian Church," records of payments made to the church by persons desiring a bell in the steeple; record of objects placed under the foundation of the new church (c. 1877) which include: a Bible; copy of confession of faith; part of a sermon by Rev, Chapman and photographs of the church, pastors and elders.
Reel 3 Item 13
Presbyterian Memorabilia, Vol. 2, Unarranged
Contains: receipts for subscriptions to the church; receipts of pastors for salary or services; records of trustees' meetings where subscription collectors were appointed and minister's were decided; records of treasurers reports at trustee meetings; records of payments made to pastors and who made them; report of funds collected by the building committee for the new church building (1810); copies of public notices informing the congregation of the dates that session meetings would be held; payment records of men employed for the building of the church; record of sale of part of the church lot to Freemason lodgers who wished to build a hall; letters of dismissal brought by new church members wishing to unite with this church; agreements made by the church to lease rooms of their session house to the "Young Men of Geneva College" for their meetings.
Reel 2 Item 14
Records of the First Congregational Church of Geneva, October 16, 1845 - January 11, 1853 , Chronological
Contains: copy of a letter sent to the members of the First Presbyterian Church of Geneva requesting permission to form a new church; names of persons appointed as trustees; Confession of Faith, Covenant, Form of Admission (p. 9); letter explaining reasons for a new church to the members of the old; Church Rules (p. 15); names of persons elected deacons; name of Pastor; salary of Pastor; names of persons suspended; membership list (rear of book); list of children baptized (rear of book).