This guide is designed to be a resource for patrons getting started with genealogy research, but will also be of use to historians and biographers. It features tips and suggestions for information resources, including links to print and digital collections accessible at The New York Public Library (NYPL), and to databases and websites that you can access anywhere with the Internet. Access to some databases requires that you have a NYPL library card - you can apply for one online or at any branch of The New York Public Library.
Look for books, microfilm, periodicals, archive collections, and more at NYPL Research Catalog
Search archive and manuscript collections, including Family Files, at archives.nypl.org and the NYPL Classic Catalog.
Explore maps, photographs, city directories, and other digital resources free online at NYPL Digital Collections
Search for genealogy databases and other online resources at NYPL Articles & Databases: Genealogy
Please send your questions about genealogy research to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign up for an online genealogy class at NYPL at nypl.org/events/genealogy-essentials
The Oxford English Dictionary describes genealogy as:
For the purposes of this guide we will take genealogy to mean:
Genealogy research is detective work, and can utilize many different sources of information.
Records created by:
Family or personal archives e.g.
Manuscripts, papers, correspondence and other documents of
To these types of materials you could add images (photographs, paintings, illustrations), ephemera (e.g. postcards, pamphlets, tickets, buttons) and objects (e.g., frakturs, quilts, gravestones, memorials).
Materials used by genealogists might be digitized in free or subscription databases, on microfilm, in print, or in special collections. To access these materials you may need to visit libraries, archives, or historical and genealogical societies. The good news is there are usually librarians, archivists, curators, and other information professionals at these locations that can help you find the information you need.