Genesee County is a county located in Western New York, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 60,079. Its name is from the Seneca Indian word Gen-nis'-hee-yo, meaning "the Beautiful Valley". Its county seat is Batavia.
Ancient history of man goes back to the Ice Age 10,000 to 12,000 years ago at the Hiscock Site, in Byron, New York. Together with a mastodon jaw, tusks, and teeth, and assorted animal bones, researchers have found a variety of manmade tools, ceramics, metal, and leather, indicating long occupation of the site. This site in Genesee County is considered among North America’s most important for archaeological artifacts from the Ice Age.
Varying cultures of indigenous peoples lived in the area for thousands of years. Hundreds of years before European exploration, the Iroquoian-speaking Seneca Nation developed in the central part of present-day New York; it became one of the first Five Nations of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy). Beginning in 1639 and lasting for the rest of the century, the Seneca led an invasion of Western New York, driving out the existing tribes of Wenro, Erie and Neutrals.
Colonial and revolutionary era
When counties were established in New York State in 1683, the present Genesee County was part of Albany County. This was an enormous county, including the northern part of New York State as well as all of the present State of Vermont and, in theory, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. On March 12, 1772, what was left of Albany County was split into three parts, one remaining under the name Albany County. One of the other pieces, Tryon County, contained the western portion (and thus, since no western boundary was specified, theoretically still extended west to the Pacific). In 1784 Tryon County was renamed as Montgomery County. Around this time, the Pennsylvania Colony and the Massachusetts Bay Colony also claimed the territory as their own, but New York did not enforce its territorial claim. In 1789 Ontario County was split off from Montgomery as a result of the Phelps and Gorham Purchase. Again, the county theoretically extended west to the Pacific Ocean.
New York State
It was not until the Holland Purchase of 1793 that Western New York was officially enforced as the territory of New York State. Land in the region was sold through the Holland Land Company's office in Batavia, starting in 1801. All of the land in Western New York was in the newly created Genesee County, and all of that was in the single town of Batavia.
Genesee County was created by a partition of of land from Ontario County. The County was not fully organized so it remained under the supervision of Ontario County until it achieved full organization and separation during March 1803.
On April 7, 1806, Genesee’s area was reduced to due to a partition that created Allegany County. On March 8, 1808, Genesee’s area was again reduced, this time to due to a partition that created Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Niagara Counties. On February 23, 1821, Genesee’s area was again reduced, this time to due a complex partition that produced Livingston and Monroe Counties. On April 15, 1825, another partition reduced Genesee’s area to in the creation of Orleans County. On May 1, 1826, the Orleans partition was again surveyed, with of land along the western half of the Orleans/Genesee border returned to Genesee. On March 19, 1841, Genesee’s area was again reduced, this time to the it remains to this day due to the partitioning to create Wyoming County.
In 2009, the City and Town of Batavia began exploring ways to merge or consolidate governmental systems.