New York City Municipal Archives Guide

New York City Municipal Archives: An Authorized Guide for Family Historians

by Aaron Goodwin 

Harry Macy Jr., Consulting Editor

August 2016. Softcover, 7 x 10
245 pages. 

This book answers the need for historians, genealogists, students, and others to have a clear, rational description of the relevant public records—where they are located, what they contain, and how they can be accessed—of the City of New York and its predecessor cities, towns, and villages.

Extensive coverage is given to vital records of births, marriages, and deaths; court records; real estate records; and photographs. Less well known collections are also covered, including early records of the Dutch and English colonial eras; extensive Farm Histories that trace deed chains for former Manhattan farms to their earliest days; records of the Civil War Volunteer Soldiers’ Family Aid Fund; and Almshouse Records, which span 200 years and provide information on the inmates of numerous City institutions.

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Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: Vital Records (1795–1949)
  • Chapter 2: Coroner and Office of Chief Medical Examiner Records (1823–1955)
  • Chapter 3: City Cemetery Burials (1872–1980s)
  • Chapter 4: Bodies in Transit (1859–1953)
  • Chapter 5: Civil War Volunteer Soldiers' Family Aid Fund (1861–1867)
  • Chapter 6: Almshouse Records (1758–1953)
  • Chapter 7: Assessed Valuation of Real Estate (1699–1979)
  • Chapter 8: Department of Buildings (1866–1970s)
  • Chapter 9: Property Cards (1939–1990s)
  • Chapter 10: Farm Histories [Dutch period–mid-1800s]
  • Chapter 11: New Amsterdam Records of the Dutch Colonial Era (1642–1674)
  • Chapter 12: Common Council/City Council Records (1675–1977)
  • Chapter 13: Court Records (1683/4–1987)
  • Chapter 14: Old Town Records (1644–1898)
  • Chapter 15: Richmond County Clerk Records (1706–1947)
  • Chapter 16: Censuses [City and State]
  • Chapter 17: City Directories and Civic Directories (1802–1988/89)
  • Chapter 18: WPA Federal Writers' Project New York City Unit (1935–1943)
  • Chapter 19: Photography Collections (1850–2013)

Each chapter/record set is structured with the following sections:

  • Introduction [background information including, where applicable, the laws that created the record set]
  • Description [detailed description of the records available]
  • Sample Records
  • Suggested Citations
  • Analyzing and Using the Records 
  • Accessing the Records 
  • Selected References 

An appendix features a table of the Wards of the old City of New York, which has been expanded and updated since it was first published in the New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer.

Purchasing Information

Copies can be ordered online through the NYG&B store.

  • Members - Print Book: $30
  • Non-Members - Print Book: $40
  • Library, Society & Tax-exempt Organizations (add code to special instructions): $40
  • Print and Digital Bundle (.epub and .mobi): $40 (members only)

Shipping and handling for U.S. locations $5 per book; for international orders, call 212-755-8532. State and local sales tax applies to non-exempt purchases by New York State residents and purchases shipped to a New York address. A list of sales tax rates by municipality may be found here.