One of the best ways to make new discoveries and break through brick walls is to consult a comprehensive guide to genealogy research in the county that your ancestor-of-interest lived in.
These county guides are written specifically for the genealogy researcher. Produced and routinely updated by the experts at the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, each guide is your key to making sure no stone is overturned.
Whether you're planning a research trip or searching remotely, these guides will save time and provide essential suggestions not found elsewhere.
What's in each county guide?
- Record Locations: A complete and annotated list of repositories, libraries, government offices, and all other organization that hold records and collections useful to genealogists. Read more
- Print & Online Resources: The most important genealogy records and resources for that county. Read more
- Gazetteer: A comprehensive list of historical and contemporary names of every city, town, and village in a county, as well as any changing geographical borders. Read more
- County map: Shows current town and city boundaries, and the location of Indian reservations. Read more
If you would like the most comprehensive book for New York genealogy research, which includes every single county guide, learn about the New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer.
Find the Records You Need
Each guide contains a list of repositories, libraries, government offices, historical societies, and all other organizations that hold records and collections useful to genealogists. Included is an overview of what each organization holds, contact details, and other useful information.
Each guide will vary depending on the available records for that particular county, but typically the following topics are covered:
- Important notes about research in that county
- New York State Census records available for that county
- Countywide repositories & resources
- Regional Repositories & Resources with records relevant to that county
- Local respositories & resources
Statewide and national repositories that cover all New York counties are covered in exhaustive detail in the New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer.
Click here to view all county guides. Below is a sample from this section of the Dutchess County Guide for Family History Researchers:
The Best Print & Online Resources
Each guide contains a curated list of relevant resources for that county. The list is not exhaustive, but has been carefully curated by the NYG&B's experts. Researchers can be sure that the most essential resources are listed, as well as many lesser-known but still important items.
This section also contains an overview of available online resources. Large websites like Ancestry.com and FamilySearch, are always covered, but researchers may find the small lesser-known websites listed to be the most valuable.
Click here to view all county guides. Below is a sample from this section of the Monroe County Guide for Family History Researchers:
Crucial Geographic Information
Local, county, and state boundaries have changed continually throughout history - many place names have changed as well.
Having a geographic mindset is really important for genealogy research - whether you're encountering a place name that's no longer used, or trying to determine the jurisdiction of a historical record, the charts in these county guides will provide information that is hard-to-find reliably organized elsewhere.
Click here to view all county guides. Below is a sample from this section of the Rennsselaer County Guide for Family History Researchers:
Each county guide contains a contemporary map of the county.
This includes bordering counties and states, as well as local municipalities and American Indian Reservations.
The map also notes if a county was formed from another county (a parent county), or if other counties were formed from this one (a daughter county).
Major land transactions are very relevant to the genealogical researcher and are also noted here.
On the right is a sample map from the Erie County Guide for Family History Researchers.
The Full Textbook for NY Genealogy Research
Each of these individual county guides is included as a chapter in our comprehensive guide to genealogy research in New York State:
The New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer.
This recently updated, 869 page guide contains a comprehensive look at the different types of genealogical records found in New York State, where to locate them, and how to properly use them for research.
The book is available as a two-volume printed textbook or as a digital PDF file with a number of features.
Learn more about the New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer.