Opened in 2021 thanks to generous donor support, our Digitization Center is the essential workshop for scanning and digitally preserving an ever-growing collection of key New York historical records. With a state-of-the-art camera and software that rapidly turns high res scans into searchable resources, our aim is to support and further the work of genealogists, biographers, and historians alike.

Scanning

The engine driving so much of the Center’s output is the CopiBook OS A2 scanner. Considered the fastest book scanner in its class, our team now makes short work out of dense multi-volume texts, while still maintaining ultra sharp 600 dpi images.

There is, of course, a lot out there to scan, process, and index. The NYG&B library, an impressive physical collection of New York records, is just one digitization effort amongst many that we oversee. We also digitize for a number of genealogical, historical, and lineage societies, taking on all manner of historical documents, some dating to 17th century New York or earlier.

 

Two volunteers using the scanner camera

 

Two volunteers indexing a log

Processing

Once texts have been scanned, images need to be prepared for the digital environment. That’s where the LIMB Processing software comes in. With it we can easily alter the brightness, dimension, and framing of thousands of scans. There are also many built-in solutions to improve the legibility and presentation of older, more degraded texts.

Processing completed, we then upload the collections to our online New York State Family History Records database. Depending on the length of the materials, the quality of the machine-read scans, and how the documents were originally organized, we may need to add in our own indexing system. Such indexing efforts, carried out by a team of staffers and volunteers, are often the final lift for a project and what ensures our published collections remains as user-friendly to researchers as possible.

 

Volunteers

Without regular contributions from an amazing team of volunteers, the Digitization Center’s output would be a fraction of what it is today. Their tireless and efficient support has allowed us to process and share nearly 100,000 records since the Center began. Depending on area of interest, we are happy to train volunteers to work with our scanner, LIMB software, or indexing solutions.

WANT TO JOIN US? BECOME A VOLUNTEER

Kalyn Dielh and volunteer Michelee Mattis at a digitization day event

 

Map of New York counties on eastern shore of Lake Ontario

Greater New York Initiatives

In the spirit of expanding New York’s genealogical archives for everyone, we are always looking to support more digitization projects, whether they happen at our Center or not. The NYG&B’s recent upstate initiative has let us share digitization hardware and strategies with groups keen to upload and release their own collections—a model we intend to develop even more in the coming year.

We like to think of ourselves as thought leaders for the state’s digitizing efforts and are eager to work with teams and individuals who have their own vision for New York record access.

 

Digital Collections Manager

Our Digital Collections Manager, Kalyn Paige Loewer, is passionate about preserving historical documents and incorporating family history into other genres of historical research and writing. In addition to her full-time work at the NYG&B, Kalyn is pursuing a graduate degree in the Department of History at Fordham University, where she is an early modernist focused on the evolution of Gaelic society in Tudor era Scotland and Ireland, with particular emphasis on the influence of Clan MacDonald. Highly involved in NYC's Scottish community, she acts as the Events Coordinator for the National Tartan Day New York Committee. In addition, she serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors and as the Historian for the New York Caledonian Club. Kalyn was the recipient of the John. C. Gorman '38 Medal for Excellence in History from St. Francis College in 2021.

Kalyn Diehl headshot