Eleven ways to use the NYG&B website to improve your skills and find ancestors
We’re here to help you find your New York ancestors.
The mission of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society is to help you discover, preserve, and share the stories from your New York family history. Our website, newyorkfamilyhistory.org, contains many resources that are instrumental in learning more about your ancestors.
Here are 11 things you can do right now on our website that will put you on a path to discovery!
Get to know The Record
The Record is the scholarly journal of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society and has been published continuously since 1870.
The Record features the work of New York’s top genealogists and contains record set transcriptions, biographies, compiled genealogies, and case studies focused on families all over New York State.
Those who fail to use this resource in their research risk missing unique and crucial information - you may find work of the highest quality already done on a line you’re researching.
But you should also use the methods, sources, and approaches deployed by these scholars to form your own research plans. Reading an article written about a location and time period you’re researching in (even if it contains records of unrelated families) can help you get new ideas and break through brick walls.
The numerous indexes to The Record are free and open to the public. We encourage you to explore the titles, subjects, and even names found within the pages of The Record.
Browse our religious records
For over a century, the New York G&B has been collecting and transcribing religious records from all over New York State.
Religious records (baptisms, marriages, burials, and other types of records) are especially important for New York State research because civil birth, marriage, or death records can be very difficult to obtain, or may not even exist in the first place.
Using religious records as vital record substitutes is a tactic New York researchers should have in their arsenal.
Our eLibrary contains a digitized collection of religious records that covers 1639 - 1914.
Make sure to read our blog about using NYG&B religious records - you can find a lot more than names and dates in these volumes!
Don’t miss the large New York religious records table at the bottom of this record collection page - it contains a list of all congregations included in this collection, including their location and the dates covered by the records.
Explore our other eLibrary collections
Our eLibrary contains over 50 different digital record sets, many of which are impossible to find anywhere else online.
Each collection page has a description of what is contained in the collection, along with links to search.
In the eLibrary, you will find collections of historical documents that contain essential genealogical information: immigration records, naturalization records, newspaper transcriptions, death records, and more.
An interesting example is our collection of Marine Court Naturalizations, which spans 1827 - 1840. The Marine Court was able to naturalize immigrants and may be an unexpected place to discover an ancestor's naturalization record.
Our eLibrary also houses the only available copy of the 1855 State Census for Ward 17, a key immigrant neighborhood in New York City. NYG&B volunteers have digitized and indexed this document, which allows researchers to search and view it online, but also allowed us to do some interesting statistical analysis of the neighborhood's demographics.
While only NYG&B members can perform searches and view images, anyone can learn about the collections and what is available in them.
Learn from genealogy experts in the New York Knowledge Base
New York State can be a challenging place to research - there are many state-specific idiosyncrasies. Our New York Knowledge Base is here to help you meet any challenge head-on with tips and guidance from genealogy experts!
This website resource contains well over 200 in-depth guides about New York genealogy, written by the foremost experts on the subject.
Articles in the Knowledge Base cover a huge variety of locations, subjects, and time periods. These articles will provide advanced guidance for working with tricky records such as probate records, legal documents, or land records.
There are also valuable bibliographies related to the various ethnic groups that make up New York State’s diverse history, as well as lists of useful websites for researching each county in New York.
Have you hit a dead end? Browsing the Knowledge Base can generate new ideas and avenues of research that could be key to breaking through your brick wall.
Explore our free Subject Guides
Although only NYG&B members can access New York Knowledge Base articles, our free Subject Guides are open to the general public.
These guides are perfect for getting started tracing your family ancestry or going beyond basic census records to find your relatives.
Our Subject Guides are also tailored to New York State genealogy and include useful information about additional genealogy resources, such as historical or lineage societies.
- New York State Birth, Marriage, and Death Records Guide
- New York Newspapers Available Online
- A Selection of Major Cemeteries in New York State
- Featured New York Repositories for Genealogy
- Guide to Repositories in the New York Metro Area
- Using Maps for New York State Research
- Articles about New York Research Published in Journals Outside New York
- Genealogical & Historical Societies in New York City and State
- Selected Hereditary & Lineage Societies
- Hiring Professional Genealogical Researchers
The NYG&B offers many more free genealogy resources, including useful blog articles, an email newsletter, and more.
Search our website for specific locations and subjects
Our website has powerful search capabilities. This is not a name-based search engine, but one that searches all pages on our website for your desired keyword.
Try it out - the search bar is located in the upper-right hand corner of every page on the website. It's the best way to quickly and efficiently find the specific information you're looking for.
Try entering a location name, such as "Westchester County" or a subject keyword, such as “cemetery records.” You’ll then see everything on our website - blogs, Knowledge Base Articles, webinars, and more - that is related to your search term.
You may find a blog article or another piece of content that provides crucial information on the subject your interested in.
Browse our online store for in-depth research guides
Did you know the NYG&B produces award-winning print publications and digital books?
Our two most recent publications have received back-to-back Awards of Excellence from the National Genealogical Society, in 2016 and 2017.
We recently released a Revised Edition of the NY Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer, which is the most comprehensive text for researching New York genealogy - a must-have for the serious researcher!
Our other award-winning publication is vital for those doing New York City research: an Authorized Guide to the New York City Municipal Archives.
We also have short guides to genealogical research for each New York State county, and dozens of other subject-specific publications.
Browse our genealogy community forum
Did you know the New York G&B also has a genealogical exchange and forum? If you’re stuck or are looking for information on a specific person or family, post your question here for other researchers to review.
You may make an amazing connection or discover a crucial tip from another researcher.
Other genealogy topics are welcome, as well as posts discussing research in specific locations.
Get on track with a research consultation
Are you facing a brick wall, or are overwhelmed and not sure where to start? Our Staff Genealogist is available to work on a research project of any level, but is also available for a quick 30-minute consultation about your research.
After sharing the details of your research question and your search so far, you'll receive personalized expertise on next steps for your own research. This review, done in increments of 30 minutes, can open new avenues of exploration and point you toward resources to pursue.
Consultations can be done in person, over the phone, or via a video chat service like Skype.
Attend one of our events for education and networking opportunities
As an educational institution, the New York G&B hosts and coordinates many events every year.
We host lectures from prominent authors, lauded genealogy experts, and the foremost experts on new technology.
Each year we have a variety of in-depth workshops on subjects ranging from DNA to genealogical writing, and host research tours that go all over New York State, including Albany and New York City. We’re also hosting another New York State Family History Conference in 2018.
NYG&B members get ticket discounts and priority registration for events, but a number of our lectures are free and open to the public (including a portion of the New York State Family History Conference).
Finally, we routinely host webinars that anyone can attend live - visit our events calendar to see when the next event you’re interested in is taking place!
Watch a webinar to learn more
All of our live webinars are free and open to the public - check our events calendar to see when the next ones are and reserve your spot today.
NYG&B members can access any recorded webinar or program on-demand in our ever-growing webinar library.
- Family History Research in Central New York
- Should You Add DNA Testing to Your Genealogy Toolbox?
- Genealogical Research at the New York Public Library
- Finding Their Routes: Navigating Records of the NY State Canal System
- From Virginia to Upstate New York: An African-American Family's Journey to Upstate New York
- The Empire State and the Big Apple: Online Records for New York Genealogists
Our webinar speakers are always experts in the field - watch some today to increase your skills immediately!
About the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society
Since 1869, the NYG&B's mission has been to help our thousands of worldwide members discover their family's New York story, and there has never been a better time to join.
The cost of an Individual Annual Membership is less than six dollars a month, and includes the following benefits:
- Access to over 50 exclusive digital record sets covering the entire state of New York, including the fully searchable archives of The Record.
- A complimentary subscription to all of Findmypast's North American records, as well as U.K. and Irish Census records.
- Access to hundreds of expert-authored Knowledge Base articles and webinars to help you navigate the tricky New York research landscape.
- Exclusive discounts and advanced access to conferences, seminars, workshops and lectures to learn more about researching people and places across New York State.
To learn more or join us, please visit our member benefits page.