Scope and Content Note

This series consists of bound volumes containing lists of state elected officials, including judges (starting 1848 most were elected) but excluding members of the Legislature; and officials appointed pursuant to general state laws on the state, county, and city levels.

Volume 1 was commenced in 1804, but it contains entries for numerous civil appointments back to 1784. Volumes 1-5 include a record of statewide elected officials and of civil appointments made by the Council of Appointment (1804-1822). Volumes 6 through 8 include a record of appointments by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate (1823-1880 only, with one exception noted below) and of county elected and appointed officials (1883-1924). (Volume 8 contains references to a "new book" of abstracts of appointments of state officers; this volume is apparently lost.) Volume 9 contains a record of elected and appointed county officials (1925-1932). The abstracts of appointments of state officers contain only civil appointments except for occasional lists of appointments to the governor's military staff.

The abstracts of appointments provide the name of the office, appointee's name, date of appointment and occasionally term of office. Before 1847 the only statewide elective offices were governor and lieutenant governor. Other state offices with executive responsibilities, such as secretary of state, comptroller, attorney general, district attorneys, surveyor general, canal appraisers, prison inspectors, notaries, Indian agents, etc., were appointive. Before 1848, state officers with judicial responsibilities, including chancellor and vice-chancellors, masters and examiners in chancery, and justices of the Supreme Court, were likewise appointive. Starting 1847 more statewide executive offices were elective. They included governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, comptroller, treasurer, attorney general, canal commissioners, state engineer and surveyor, and inspectors of state prisons. Starting 1896 the elective statewide officers were reduced in number, to include governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, comptroller, treasurer, attorney general, and state engineer and surveyor.

During the nineteenth century many appointive state offices were established, whose appointees and dates of appointment are listed in volumes 1-8. They included managers or trustees of state institutions and commissioners for special purposes (such as supervising charitable institutions, examining immigrants disembarking at New York City, etc.). The volumes contain no lists of elected and appointed state officials after 1880, with the exception of railroad policemen (listed for the years 1863-1914, giving name of railroad).

Volumes 1 through 9 also contain lists of local officers appointed by the Council of Appointment (1784-1822) or by the governor with advice and consent of the Senate (starting 1823), of elected county officers (starting 1847), and of elected judges (starting 1848, entries in these volumes through 1873 only, omitting judges of the Court of Appeals). Each entry provides the name of the official and date of election or appointment.

Before 1848 the appointive county officers included judges and assistant justices of the court of common pleas and court of sessions, county clerk, sheriff, coroner, surrogate, auctioneer, etc. Appointive city officers included mayor, recorder, marshal, clerk, etc. Before 1823 the volumes contain the names of individuals listed in "general commissions" for the offices of county judge and justices, surrogate, clerk, and justices of the peace for each town and city. Such commissions were issued every few years, corresponding to changes in the political composition of the Council of Appointment. There were also special commissions of judges and justices of the peace to fill vacancies. (Between 1823 and 1827 justices of the peace were selected by the county board of supervisors, and starting 1827 they were elected.)

Starting 1848 many more county offices were elective, and the incumbents are listed in registers 6 through 9. They included county court judge, justices of sessions, surrogate, children's court judge (outside New York City, starting 1922), district attorney, sheriff, coroner, clerk, treasurer, superintendent of the poor (later called commissioner of public welfare), and school commissioner (1857-1911). Also listed are individuals appointed as county attorney, commissioner of the U.S. Deposit Fund (1837-1911), and other offices in counties and cities. The appointive offices in New York City were especially numerous, most of them unique to that jurisdiction. Examples are the various officials responsible for port operations, such as harbor masters and Hell Gate pilots. Volumes 1 through 7 contain lists of appointed inspectors of many types of commodities (grain, lumber, potash, etc.) in cities and counties.

Throughout the registers there are occasional notes stating that an official resigned or was deceased. (In the earlier volumes that is indicated by red ink.) In such cases there may also be a note that an elected official was replaced by special appointment by the governor (until a special or regular election for that office was held).