New York Genealogical & Biographical Society Member Biographies

Do you have an ancestor that was a member of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society between 1890 and 1940? If so, your ancestor may have completed a questionnaire providing crucial personal and family biographical details, which oftentimes included family trees and press clippings.

Early in the twentieth century, New York Genealogical and Biographical Society members were asked to complete a four-page, ledger-sized questionnaire regarding the member's life and family. The stated purpose for the requested information was "the preparation of the Biographical Sketches of Members of the Society." Members were asked to provide "full and specific" replies and to use extra pages to complete the information when necessary. This member requirement was relatively short-lived, from the 1890s until the 1940s. However, those 545 New York Genealogical and Biographical Society members who dutifully filled out and sent back the forms, which were often accompanied by family trees, press clippings and other ephemera, created a unique family history resource. An index to the collection records the name of every family member mentioned.

The "search" button will bring you to the the searchable version of this record set, where you will be able to do full-text searches. Please note that handwritten pages are not indexed and as such they will not be searchable, whereas typed material is fully searchable.

Additionally, the "browse" button will bring you to the browseable version of this record set, where will be able to browse these records as you would a book. This feature is helpful when looking at the handwritten documents included in these surveys. Handwritten pages are not indexed and as such they will not be searchable, whereas typed material is fully searchable.

A searchable index to all the principal names mentioned in the Biographies is available at the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society website, see the link in Useful Links & Resources.

More About This Collection: 

This record set includes PDF images of the original questionnaires. Some of these records are handwritten by the society members and, as such, there is a range in legibility. The amount of available information will fluctuate based upon what individual members chose to include. You may discover the following details about your ancestor:

  • Full name

  • Birth date

  • Birth place

  • Residence and mailing address

  • Education

  • Occupation

  • Military service

  • Marriage dates

  • Parents’ names, birth dates, birth places, occupations, marriage and death dates, and biographies

  • Family biographical lists, including children living and dead

  • References to printed works containing personal biography and ancestral history

  • Notes and letters related to family history research