Essential Reading: Immigration and Naturalization

New York Immigration Records Online

You might already know about the famous Ellis Island. Most manifests from this era are digitized, but do you know about the many other New York immigration resources currently available online?

Learn about the many types of immigration records filed by New York State from 1624 to 1960, find online databases, and tips on how to search for ancestors within the databases. Learn about the various ways to search for records, critical dates, and shifts in immigration service entities. Read the guide

New York Naturalization Records Online

After entering the United States, many ancestors would have chosen to pursue United States citizenship. This process is referred to as naturalization. This guide explores how to start your naturalization records search, describes shifts in immigration law over time and how this impacted record-keeping, and of course, how to interpret naturalization records once you find them.

It is easy to overlook important information on naturalization records; this guide will give you the tools to conduct a successful search and, hopefully, discover valuable clues on found records. Read the guide.

Helpful Facts About Immigration to New York

New York's immigration history is extensive and is a distinct research field in its own right. This guide discusses the Port of New York history, the Erie Canal, common misconceptions about Ellis Island, why some ancestors might be missing from manifests, and how to discern if an ancestor returned to their home country (for a visit or forever).

Learn about New York immigration resources by era, the impact of new laws and immigration stations on the immigrant experience (and record-keeping), and how to access immigration records online. Suggested reading and links to helpful articles and guides included. Read the guide

Tips for Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors

Many families pass down a story that goes like this: "your great-great-great-grandfather lived in this place (insert another country here) and passed through Ellis Island in 1910." But is it true? Identifying an ancestor's country of origin is an exciting moment and the goal for many family history researchers. Learn how to look for immigration and birthplace clues on the census, naturalization records, and emigration records. And most importantly, avoid assumptions!

Embedded in this guide is a video of NYG&B's presentation at the RootsTech 2019 conference titled, "Trace the Story of Immigrant Ancestors in 3 Steps." The hour-long presentation offers a nuanced, deep-dive look into New York's immigration history and the record search process. Read the guide