New York State Archives—A Guide
For Family Historians, Biographers, and Historical Research

Publication Date: Coming in 2024! 

We continue to actively work with the New York State Archives and the author on finalizing the book’s publication. Many of the chapters (see full list below) are currently in the design and layout phase. The final publication will have more than 500 pages of carefully curated information for researchers. We will post an exact publication date here as soon as we have confirmation.

A Comprehensive Overview of the Holdings of the New York State Archives

NYSA book cover

The vast unique holdings of the New York State Archives offer untold discoveries for anyone searching for New York ancestors.

Scholars, biographers, and family historians have not yet tapped the entirety of the Archive’s holdings. Only a fraction of the series available at one of New York’s most valuable and treasured repositories have been digitized, making this guide an essential resource.

The publication will provide a comprehensive overview of the holdings of the New York State Archives for those tracing families across the state.

Each chapter will communicate the contents—and accessibility—of these important records of interest to family and local historians.

Inside the Guide

The introduction to the publication provides an overview and a historical background of records held by the New York State Archives (NYSA). The chapter reviews how to access the Archive’s materials, specifically online finding aids; digitized records in NYSA’s digital collections and on and FamilySearch; restrictions to records; general procedures; and other important details.

This essential section will be followed by a series of chapters relating to specific subjects. Each chapter will include:

  • An overview of the subject: the types of records available, their reasons for creation, and the department/agency responsible for creating the records, as applicable.
  • Details on specific records: a table or listing of selected NYSA records for the subject with the creator, series number, date ranges, index and digitization information, and access notes (including quantities of material, format for access, and access restrictions).
  • Specific record examples: Spotlights of the materials that can be found within the series.
  • Special Focus sections that delve deeper into a specific type of record.

Two appendices will provide additional resources for readers—detailing record series accessible on major genealogical websites and relating them to the New York State Archives record series.

Sample page from Chapter 3

Sample page from Chapter 6

Sample page from Chapter 13

Sample pages from New York State Archives—A Guide: Canal Records, Court Records, and Legislative Records.

Meet the Author and Editorial Team

Jane Wilcox headshot

Author Jane E. Wilcox serves on the New York State Archives Advisory Committee.

She speaks at national genealogy conferences and institutes. With her company, Forget-Me-Not Ancestry, in Saratoga County, NY, Jane is a full-time professional genealogist, specializing in colonial and early national New York and area research. She also serves on the NYG&B’s New York Family History Advisory Committee.

Ms. Wilcox’s work is supported by an editorial team of editors and reviewers, including staff from the New York States Archives and the NYG&B, members of the NYG&B’s Family History Advisory Committee, and other New York experts.

Table of Contents

Readers can expect to find chapters including, but not limited to, the following subjects:

  • Introduction
    • Overview and Historical Background of the New York State Archives
    • Using NYSA Records
    • Legal Access [and restrictions]
    • Using New York State Archives—A Guide
    • Tips for Using the Guide and NYSA Records
  • Appointments and Elected Officials
  • British Colonial Records
  • Canal Records
  • Census Records
  • Citizenship, Naturalization, and Resident Alien Records
  • Court Records
  • Dutch Colonial Records
  • Education Records
  • Financial Records
  • Indigenous People/American Indian Records
  • Institutional Records
  • Land Records: Patents and Deeds, Mortgages and Mortgage Foreclosures, and Taxes
  • Legislative Records
  • Local Records
  • Loyalist Records
  • Military Records
  • Miscellaneous Records
  • Penal, Executive Clemency, and Extradition Records
  • Probate and Estate Matter Records
  • State Employee and Occupational Records
  • Vital Records and Matrimonial Actions
  • Appendix: Ancestry
  • Appendix FS [FamilySearch]
  • Indexes

NYSA Sponsors

We are grateful to the sponsors who made this book possible:

Empire Sponsors


William G. Pomeroy Foundation logo

Peck Stacpoole logo


Big Apple Sponsors


The New York State Archives Partnership Trust logo