Included in the collections of the Milstein Division are thousands of family files, archive collections of manuscripts of family histories, research notes, pedigree charts, documents, and photographs of families. The largest collection of family files is part of a substantial number of materials donated to The New York Public Library by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYGB), in 2008. Comprising research files donated by members of the NYGB, the collection is strong in New York families.
You can search for family files in the collections of The New York Public Library in the NYPL Classic Catalog, as you would search for printed family histories, using the subject term [family name] - family, e.g. Wilson family.
Family files have the following letters at the beginning of their call number:
There are numerous other archive collections of family history materials available from the Milstein Division, accessible onsite, and searchable in the NYPL Classic Catalog using the subject term [family name] family.
Genealogy research is said to be name, place, and date driven, and the importance of subject terms becomes obvious when a researcher uses a library catalog.
Locales are a collection of miscellaneous documents filed by location including, church, cemetery, and vital records, and legal and tax documents primarily of New York City and New York State. New Jersey and Connecticut are heavily represented, and other states are included to a lesser degree.
Original documents and reproductions of marriage certificates, correspondence, genealogical research notes, wills, deeds, land records, vital records, maps, and clippings relating to groups, events, and individuals of genealogical or historical interest situated primarily in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Several of the New York files contain transcripts of records and notes for the Society of Friends.
Photocopies and transcripts of Bible records relating mostly to New York families of the 16th to 19th centuries, including the Allen, Davis, Francis, Hall, Johnson, Lewis, Mott, Rikert, Smith, and Thompson families. Some family Bible transcripts are in Dutch and some files contain additional materials.
is the Archives Portal for archive collections at The New York Public Library's research libraries, and allows you to search in archive collections held at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Performing Arts Library.
A sample of collections of interest to genealogists might include:
“The strengths of the Division are the papers and records of individuals, families, and organizations, primarily from the New York region.”
A sample list of collections of particular interest to genealogists might include:
"[Schomburg] is one of the world's largest, most comprehensive, and most heavily used repositories of records documenting the experience of the peoples of African origins and descent." Williams, Sam P. Guide to the research collections of the New York Public Library, 1975.
Archival materials from the NYG&B collections are located in both the Manuscript Division and in the Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy. This guide indicates the title of a collection and the call number of the item within the New York Public Library.
Archives may be different from library reading rooms. You will usually be required to
For more information about using archive collections at NYPL, contact the pertinent archive division (see left).
Before you ask to look at archive collections, you may like to check that...
If you are not sure, please email a librarian in the Milstein Division.