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How to Research a Family Business: Books and Articles

Describes resources for researching the history of a business. Guide by Susan Kriete.


Learning about your own family's business is just one step in researching your family's history. To gain a fuller appreciation of your ancestors' experiences, it's important to understand the historical context in which they were operating. Likewise, if you not able to trace the history of your own ancestor's business, learning about the typical patterns of entrepreneurship for a particular geographic area, or for particular groups of immigrants, can help to fill the gaps of your personal history.


NYPL Digital Collections Image ID 2015199


NYPL offers access to over 800 databases of digitized journals and periodicals, which can be searched by keywords for articles relating to family-owned businesses, immigrant and ethnic businesses and workers, the history of a particular trade or industry, and many other business-related topics. For researchers interested in the social aspects of business history, rather than economic or financial information, the following databases may be a good place to start: