Our Shinnecock Indian "Confidence Bird" (Sea Gull) Decoy
1. Does the Society have 17th century primary sources?
A: Very few. Little documentary artifacts survive from the settlement period. We have only three documents from the second half of the 17th century. We have no diaries, ledgers, or correspondence from the period.
2. What time periods does the archival collection cover?
A: 1650-Present, though the great majority of our holdings date to after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War (post 1784) with the largest part of our holdings dating to the mid 19th through the mid 20th centuries.
3. What types of genealogies does the archive hold?
A: The archive holds a number of published genealogies, some of which are difficult to find. We also hold independent research done by various families. We rely on the donation of such research to help other genealogists.
4. Do you have records relating to burials in the Old Cemetery?
A: Yes, but limited. Your best resource is the card catalog at the First Presbyterian Church of Southold, who serve as the custodians of the cemetery. For all known and documented burials they have cards on file.
5. What if no stone or record is known for an early burial?
A: The Old Cemetery was not inventoried until modern times, so there is always the chance that a stone was destroyed, buried, or simple knocked down prior to that work being completed. Many members of the founding families, including some very notable ones, do not have stones in the Old Cemetery. There are several other cemeteries within the entire township, though the earliest burials tend to appear in the Old Cemetery in Southold.
6. What about private/family burial grounds?
A: There are few records of private/family burial grounds in Southold. Many are now lost, the stones having long ago been plowed under (or in one case thrown into the Bay!). The Society holds the single remnant (a portion of one stone) of one such cemetery that was located in Bayview, south of the village. For those that are known, the town historian's office is the best resource.
7. Does the Society hold materials on the history of my house?
A: Possibly. The Society has a number of sources for those interested in researching their homes. The "Houses 2000" project documented the history of a number of local structures. There are also real estate records, including chain of titles, in a large collection organized by hamlet/village. The "SPLIA List" for Southold Town, which is available at the Planning Department at Town Hall, is also a rich resource for the history of many otherwise undocumented structures.
8. Do you have any local photographs in your collection?
A: Yes, over 9,000 that depict local people, places, sites, buildings, events, weddings, funerals, etc. Our largest holdings date to the 20th century and include the Meredith and Hartley Collections, though there are many other images dating from the 1850's to the present.
9. Do I need an appointment to research in the archives?
A: Yes. The Archives is open by appointment only, please contact us in advance (2 weeks’ notice is preferred). Simply telephone the office or email for an appointment.
10. Is the Society open on weekends for research?
A: At the present, no.