Featured New York Repositories for Genealogy

Since 2006, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society has been publishing a series of guides to notable New York State repositories in the New York Researcher. We have compiled all of these articles and listed each repository covered in this guide. 

Each article is written by a librarian, archivist or another expert who knows the repository well. These articles will help you decide if a research trip is worthwhile, and will be essential to formulating your research plan if you decide to visit any of these repositories. Each article includes:

  • General background information on the repository.
  • A detailed overview of each repository's key genealogical holdings (including any digital collections that are available online).
  • Insider tips to get the most out of your research trip.

The repository entry within this guide will have a brief overview of the repository, and a general (but not necessarily exhaustive) overview of the types of records that can be found. We strongly recommend reading the full New York Researcher article for any repository you're interested in. 

You may also be interested our guide to repositories in the New York Metro Area. The collection descriptions in that guide are not as in depth as the New York Researcher articles compiled here, but the guide does contain a number of repositories that have not yet been featured in the New York Researcher. 

How to use this guide

The full articles are available to NYG&B members via the New York Researcher archives in the NYG&B eLibrary. To make it easy to access, there is a direct link to each article in this guide. Use the table of contents below to read a general overview of the article, then click the linked title (found below the heading of each section), which will open up a new tab in your internet browser.  

If you are not yet signed in, you will be asked to log in to your NYG&B account before proceeding to findmypast.com, where our digital images are hosted. 

Important note:  If you are prompted to create an account on findmypast.com, click "continue as guest" to browse the article without signing in or creating an account.  

 

Table of Contents

  1. Buffalo and Erie County Public Library
  2. Capital District Genealogical Society
  3. Center for Jewish History
  4. Central Library of Onondaga County
  5. Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County
  6. Crandall Public Library: The Folklife Center
  7. Genesee County History Department
  8. Green-Wood Cemetery
  9. History Center in Tompkins County
  10. Hudson County (NJ) Genealogical & Historical Society
  11. Huntington Historical Society (Long Island)
  12. Jersey City Free Public Library
  13. Mid-Hudson Public Library System
  14. New City Library
  15. New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Manuscript and Archival Collections
  16. New York Public Library, Archives and Manuscripts Division
  17. New York State Historical Association Library
  18. Patchogue-Medford Library
  19. Schenectady Public Library and Schenectady County Historical Society
  20. Westchester County Archives
  21. Westchester County Historical Society

 

Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

Article: Is There a Buffalo in Your Family Tree? (vol. 17, no. 2, Spring 2006)

Also see: Buffalo and Erie County Public Library (vol. 25, no. 4, Winter 2014)

The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library has a large collection of genealogical resources that those researching their Western New York family will find indispensable. The article has a special focus on The Grosvenor Room, a pioneering Local History and Genealogy Department that contains one of the most important genealogical collections in Northeast America. Those interested in this repository will also want to read our article, Don't forget the card files! Treasures Not Found in Online Catalogs in the Winter 2016 New York Researcher. This article will illuminate the importance of several collections found in The Grosvenor Room. 

Collections include census, religious, military, immigration and vital records, as well as city directories, and more. Online resources are available. 

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The Capital District Genealogical Society

Article: The Capital District Genealogical Society (vol. 27, no. 2, Summer 2016)

Counties: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie and Washington

The Capital District Genealogical Society publishes a quarterly newsletter, which includes genealogical articles, transcripts of records from the Capital District, and the minutes of meetings. The CDGS produces CD-ROMs of their newsletter archives, Albany County Maps, and Albany County 1855 State Census records. 

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The Center for Jewish History

Article: The Center for Jewish History: Rich and Varied Resources for the Genealogist

  • Part 1 (vol. 23, no. 1, Spring 2012)
  • Part 2 (vol. 23, no. 2, Summer 2012)

County: New York County

This consortium of five partner organizations holds thousands of volumes of books, manuscripts, and cultural objects documenting the heritage of the Jewish people. Genealogical resources include military, immigration, organizational, orphanage, and vital records, as well as records of Jewish communities, and many Holocaust related collections. This large repository takes two articles to fully cover and will be essential for anyone researching their Jewish roots. 

Online resources are available. 

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Central Library of Onondaga County

Article: Researching in Syracuse: Central Library of Onondaga County (vol. 18, no. 2, Spring 2007)

County: Onondaga

The Local History/Genealogy department of the library is an excellent place for researching the history and families of Syracuse and the surrounding area. In general, it is an all around fantastic location for Upstate New York research. There are over 43,000 books, including major collections of microfilm, microfiche, CD-ROMs, and maps. 

Collections include cemetery, newspaper, religious, land, military, census, and vital records. Also of interest is the Pioneer Index, Native American records, and records related to other states - Connecticut, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island and Massachusetts records can also be found here. 

Some online resources from this repository can be found in the New York Heritage Digital Collections.

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Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County

Article: Researching in Rochester: Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, New York (vol. 17, no. 4, Fall 2006)

County: Monroe

Resources at this repository focus on Rochester and Monroe County but also cover much of Western New York. There is some state-wide material, and even material related to locations outside New York's borders. There is a total of 40,000 items covering local history and genealogy.  

Collections include census, religious, newspaper, military, cemetery, immigration, and vital records. City and suburban directories, card indexes (see Don't forget the card files! Treasures Not Found in Online Catalogs in the Winter 2016 New York Researcher) and ethnic research guides are also available. 

Some online resources are available.

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Crandall Public Library: The Folklife Center

Article: Genealogy and Local History in the Folklife Center, Crandall Public Library, Glens Falls, NY (vol. 22, no. 2, Summer 2011)

County: Warren

The Folklife Center, an uncommon collection of books, manuscripts, photographs, and ephemera from the history of upstate New York, has emerged as a hidden gem in the basement of Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls.

The Folklife Center has an amazing collection of photographs, maps, organizational records, cemetery transcriptions, city directories, and yearbooks. 

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Genesee County History Department

Article: A Genealogical Gem: The Genesee County History Department (vol. 26, no. 4, Winter 2015)

County: Genesee

The Genesee County History Department serves as a repository for the County's historical records. Records of particular interest to genealogists include family file manuscripts - which sometimes contain detailed genealogies - as well as cemetery, military, religious, naturalization, and marriage records. 

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Green-Wood Cemetery

Article: Green-ealogy: Genealogical Research at The Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York (vol. 24, no. 4, Fall 2013)

County: Kings

Green-Wood Cemetery is a National Historic Landmark and possesses one of the richest and best-preserved archives of any cemetery. Many immigrants, including dozens of famous New Yorkers, are among the 560,000 "permanent residents."

Archival holdings include many collections related to death and burial - wills, heirship books, lot books, memorandum files, transfer records, and more. 

Online resources, including a free name search engine, are available. 

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The History Center in Tompkins County

Article: The History Center in Tompkins County: Resources for the Family Historian (vol. 24, no. 2, Summer 2013)

County: Tompkins

Founded in 1863 under the leadership of Ezra Cornell, the founder of Cornell University, the History Center offers researchers a number of unique collections on the history and families of Ithaca and its neighboring towns in Tompkins County.

Genealogy resources include obituary, cemetery, legal, organizational, census and vital records. City directories, scrapbooks, maps, photos, and family files are also available. 

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Hudson County (NJ) Genealogical & Historical Society

Article: Hudson County (NJ) Genealogical & Historical Society (vol. 24, no. 2, Summer 2013)

County: Hudson (NJ)

From the founding of New Netherland through the peaks of Ellis Island immigration, the people of Hudson County, New Jersey, have been indelibly linked to New York.

Many New Yorkers will find ancestors from this area. Collections include immigration and military records, as well as photographs, city directories, yearbooks, and more. 

Some HCGHS collections are available to the public; others are only available to members. 

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Huntington Historical Society (Long Island)

Article: Researching in Huntington: The Resource Center and Archives of the Huntington Historical Society (vol. 19, no. 3, Summer 2008)

County: Suffolk

This repository is dedicated to collecting and preserving artifacts, original documents, photographs, and records relating to the history and families of Huntington.

Collections include religious, town, cemetery, newspaper, military, and land records. There are also many volumes related to families of Huntington and the local history of the area. 

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Jersey City Free Public Library

Article: The New Jersey Room: Jersey City Free Public Library (vol. 21, no. 4, Winter 2010)

County: Hudson (NJ)

The New Jersey Room at the Jersey City Free Public Library is a treasure trove of information on the oldest settlement in the state, Jersey City.

Many New Yorkers established roots in Hudson County after immigrating to Ellis Island or Castle Garden. Collections include census, biographical, newspaper, municipal, religious, and organizational records. City directories and a name-based database of high school graduates are also available. 

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The Mid-Hudson Public Library System

Article: The Mid-Hudson Public Library System: Local History and Genealogy Collections of Dutchess County (vol. 23, no. 3, Fall 2012). This article covers:

  • Fishkill: Blogett Memorial Library
  • Poughkeepsie: Adriance Memorial Library
  • Rhinebeck: Starr Library

Article: The Mid-Hudson Public Library System: Local History and Genealogy Collections of Columbia, Greene and Putnam Counties (vol. 23, no. 4, Winter 2012). This article covers:

  • A brief listing of 14 libraries in these counties 

Article: The Mid-Hudson Public Library System: Local History and Genealogy Collections of Ulster County (vol. 24, no. 1, Spring 2013). This article covers: 

  • Kingston Library
  • Marlboro Free Library
  • New Paltz-Elting Memorial Library
  • Rosendale Library

County: Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Putnam, and Ulster

Public libraries in the Mid-Hudson Library system include a wide variety of local history and genealogy collections. This series of articles provides an overview of the holdings of the public libraries in Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Putnam, and Ulster counties. 

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The New City Library

Article: A Glimpse of the Rockland Room, New City (vol. 18, no. 1, Winter 2007)

County: Rockland

This mid-size library has a special local history collection located in the Rockland Room. This collection reflects the history, botany, architecture, genealogy, government, art, and literature of Rockland County, northern New Jersey, and counties along the Hudson River from New York City to Albany.

Collections include Rockland County state census indexes, compiled genealogies for Rockland County families, as well as ethnic and religious research guides. County church records, high school yearbooks, and local cemetery indexes are also available. 

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New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Manuscript and Archival Collections

Article: NYG&B Manuscript and Archival Collections in the Milstein Division of the NYPL (vol. 27, no. 1, Spring 2016)

County: All New York State Counties

Note: A comprehensive listing and guide to the NYG&B collections at the NYPL can be found on our website.

Beginning in 1869 the NYG&B began collecting resources that document the stories of New York's families.

In addition to our popular eLibrary, the collections of the NYG&B are maintained by the New York Public Library at the Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Archival materials from the NYG&B collections are located in both the Manuscript Division and in the Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy.

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New York Public Library, Archives and Manuscripts Division 

Article: Introduction to Archival Research for Genealogists (NYPL) (vol. 22, no. 4, Winter 2011)

County: New York County

A huge number of resources are available for genealogical researchers in the form of manuscripts and archival collections (over 30,000 linear feet!) in the New York Public Library's Manuscripts and Archives Division. The Division has a long history of preserving genealogical research material, which includes Emigrant Savings Bank depositors records, alphabetical lists of residents of New Amsterdam, and records of the Methodist Episcopal churches in New York City, to name a few. 

Cataloging and describing unpublished sources is difficult, therefore researchers will need to approach the collections from several angles. Since the Library's stacks are not open to the public, this article will provide genealogists with essential help locating the manuscript materials they need. 

Note: NYG&B members can also view a webinar, Genealogical Research at the New York Public Library

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New York State Historical Association Library

Article: New York State Historical Association Library (vol. 26, no. 1, Spring 2015)

Counties: Otsego, Delaware, Madison, Chenango, Schoharie, Herkimer, and Greene

The NYSHA Research Library has a noteworthy collection on New York State history and culture (including a significant genealogy collection), nineteenth-century American art history, Native American art, culture and folklore. With over 100,000 volumes in its collection, it is the largest genealogical repository in its area of the state. 

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Patchogue-Medford Library

Article: Genealogical Resources in the Patchogue-Medford Library (vol. 27, no. 1, Spring 2016)

County: Suffolk

The Patchogue-Medford Library serves the Suffolk County area and is a member of the Genealogy Federation of Long Island. The library has an open stacks genealogy section which has circulating and reference items that mainly focus on New York State, Mid-Atlantic and New England states. Reference collection items of note are military, naturalization, and immigration records. 

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Schenectady Public Library and Schenectady County Historical Society

Article: Researching Schenectady County History and Genealogy (vol. 19, no. 1, Winter 2008)

County: Schenectady

The Schenectady Collection of the Schenectady County Public Library contains over 3,000 volumes related to local history and genealogy. The collection includes yearbooks, city directories, municipal records, newspapers, and organizational records. The Schenectady County Historical Society also contains collections of note, including business records, family papers, compiled genealogies, religious records, and more. 

Online resources are available from both organizations.

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Westchester County Archives

Article: Westchester County Archives (vol. 25, no. 1, Spring 2014)

County: Westchester

The Westchester County Archives shares a facility with the Westchester County Historical Society (see below) and was originally created as an offshoot of the County Clerk's office, to provide proper storage for the County's treasure trove of historical documents.

The collection includes will/probate, marriage, state census, naturalization, court, school, and almshouse records. Deeds, maps and incorporations related to Westchester County are also available. 

Online resources are available.

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Westchester County Historical Society

Article: The Westchester County Historical Society (vol. 24, no. 4, Winter 2013)

County: Westchester

Established in 1874, the Westchester County Historical Society is one of the oldest historical societies in the United States. Their holdings include books, pamphlets, manuscripts, photographs, postcards and newspapers related to Westchester County's history. Genealogists will benefit from their cemetery transcriptions, microfilmed copies of religious records, and extensive map collection. 

Online resources are available in conjunction with the Westchester County Archives.