The Research Library of  the New York State Historical Association has recently obtained the surviving inventory of Rural Registers published from 1937 to 1940 by Rural Surveys, Inc. of Ithaca, N.Y.   Registers were published by that company for 29 counties in the state and were a directory of all of the farms in those counties.  The paper covered registers give the names of the head of each family living in rural areas in the counties, if the person is married, the “Compass System” address of each one, and coordinates for finding the farm’s location on an accompanying map.


Copies of these registers are uncommon. The information in them would be of interest to local historians in identifying area residents, genealogists in finding ancestors, and agricultural historians interested in farming in New York State just before World War II.  We would like to disseminate copies of the registers to make the information available to researchers in the local areas.  We have copies of 26 counties’ registers available as follows:




Broome (no map available)



Cortland (no map available)

Erie (no map available)

Fulton and Montgomery (no map available)


Herkimer (Southern)










Orleans (no map available)





Schenectady and Southern Saratoga

Schuyler  (photocopy only)

Seneca (photocopy only)




Copies will be made available as long as the supply lasts according to the following price schedule:


            A county’s register and a map  -   $10.00 per copy

            A county’s register for which no map is available -  $8.00 per copy

            An order of five or more registers -       $  8.00 per copy


Each register was issued in three slightly different versions with the same map accompanying each.   The Rural Guide (sometimes called Rural Index) gives names of farmers, the “Compass System” address of each one, and coordinates for finding the person on the map.  The Rural Register (sometimes called Farm Register) adds the postal address for each person listed.  The Special Classified Rural Register adds the number of persons living in each home and other information on each farm.   Orders will be filled with copies of the Special Classified Rural Register as long as the supply lasts, then we will fill orders with the Rural Register or Farm Register, and finally the Rural Guide or Rural Index.  There are many good copies available, but there are also some with water stains or torn covers.  Orders will be filled with the best copy available.  


Checks should be made out to New York State Historical Association.  Orders may be sent to:


Research Library, New York State Historical Association, P.O. Box 800, Cooperstown, NY  13326. 


If you have questions, please contact library staff at 607-547-1470 or send e-mail to the Research Library at [log in to unmask].





Melissa McAfee

Research Library Director

New York State Historical Association

The Farmers' Museum

PO Box 800  Lake Road

Cooperstown, NY  13326

607 547 1473 (tel)

607 547 1405 (fax)