8 ways to use the NYG&B website to improve your skills and find ancestors

Beginner Tips

The mission of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society is to help you discover, preserve, and share the stories of your New York family history.  

Our website is one of the primary tools we have created to help you achieve this worthy goal.  

You can use our site to search useful New York online records, learn about all aspects of researching in New York State, connect with other researchers, and more.  

Read on to learn about eight ways you can use our website to discover more New York ancestors and family stories.  

1. Search New York records online  

Our society has been preserving the kinds of historical records that are most useful to family history researchers ever since our founding in 1869.  

Over the last century and a half, we have accumulated many one-of-a-kind records that can’t be found elsewhere, and they’re available to search and view on our website.  

Our website is the only place you can find the entire 150-year archive of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and we have records from over a hundred New York State churches that cannot be found elsewhere on the web.  

Head over to our Online Records Platform to search all of our 75+ collections at once, or browse our Collections Catalog to get an overview of everything we have to offer. Anyone can search our records, but only NYG&B members have full access to all of our images.  

2. Learn about New York State research  

As the New York State research experts, we know it can be challenging to find your ancestors, whether they live right in the center, up north, out west, or in the southern areas of the Empire State.  

That’s why our website offers a wealth of guides and articles that will help you navigate New York research no matter where you're looking.  

These guides tell you where to find the most crucial record sets and how to use them, and always contain the top tips you need to know about each subject.  

Visit our New York Genealogy Essentials page for a listing of our most popular guides—everything there is free and open to the public. And make sure to sign up for our email newsletter, the NYG&B eNews—we'll let you know every time a guide is published or updated.  

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3. Read the latest issue of our periodicals 

A periodical is a journal or magazine that is published at regular intervals. The NYG&B has two periodicals that publish four issues a year, and members can read new (and old) issues online on our website.  

The New York Researcher is a colorful magazine that contains helpful and interesting articles about New York State research, updates about the society, and stories from and about our members.  

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record is a peer-reviewed journal that has been continually published for over 150 years. The Record contains rare record transcriptions, case studies, and compiled genealogies and is an essential source for New York researchers.

Click here to read the latest issues online.  

Our website also has the full archive of both The Record and the New York Researcher, which are free for all to search. NYG&B members can view all images and download complete PDFs of every issue.  

4. Sign up for events, including free live webinars  

Learning from an expert is a great way to jumpstart your research—you'll learn new methods, get new ideas, and create informed strategies to tackle your most challenging research problems. 

Whether they’re in-person events happening somewhere in New York State, or online events you can attend from anywhere, we always have an exciting lineup of enlightening and interesting presentations from New York's top family history experts.  

You can read about and sign up for all of our upcoming events on our website.  

Our live webinars are free and open to the public, and NYG&B members get discounts to ticketed events.  

Visit our events listing to see what’s coming up.  

5. Browse our online book stores  

From rare record transcriptions to comprehensive guides to New York Research, there is something in our online store for everyone.  

Visit the NYG&B Online Store to purchase print and digital copies of our most popular titles, like the award-winning New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer, now in its second edition. This comprehensive textbook covers all New York State genealogy records and contains a chapter dedicated to finding your ancestors in every county in the state. The publication is available in both print and as a digital PDF file.   

We have other books that provide in-depth attention to specific research subjects, including immigration and naturalization records, state census records, vital records, wills and probate, and others. 

We also have 62 short guides to research in every county in New York State. 

And if you have not explored Kinship Books, check out our newest online store today. Kinship Books features hundreds of rare record transcriptions from all over New York State, and many of them cannot be found anywhere else.

6. Book a time to talk to an expert  

Whether you're new and not sure where to start, facing a serious brick wall, or just want some expert guidance, you can benefit from a 30-minute consultation with an expert. 

Our research services staff is available to work on research projects of any level, but also routinely offer 30-minute or 1-hour research consultations. Here's how it works: 

  • Sign up for a consultation in our online store
  • Send our team any relevant material to review and schedule a time to talk
  • Talk one-on-one with an expert who can answer your questions, make suggestions, and set you on the right path to answer your most pressing research questions

If you would like to talk about how a consultation might help you before booking one, fill out our Research Services Questionnaire and we'll be in touch as soon as possible. 

7. Watch an on-demand webinar

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.  

Webinars include:  

  • Family History Research in Central New York 
  • Identifying and Examining DNA Outliers
  • Unlock the Mysteries of the Nonpopulation Schedules
  • German Records Online
  • Beginning Your African American Genealogy Journey
  • Before You Click: Developing an Online Research Plan

Our webinar speakers are always experts in the field - watch some today to increase your skills immediately! 

8. Visit the Forum

The NYG&B website has an active forum where you can connect with other researchers, discuss your research, and post or answer questions about anything related to New York State genealogy. 

The Genealogical Inquiries forum allows you to post family names or names of specific ancestors to see if anyone has any information or tips. 

There is also a forum for general genealogy questions and location-specific discussion where you can pick up research tips for your locality of interest. 

Click here to visit the forum.

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