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Genealogy : Getting Started at The New York Public Library: Help with genealogy research

A guide to getting started with genealogical research at The New York Public Library

Reference assistance at NYPL

New Dorp, Miss Eleanor Ayoub, Branch Librarian, New Drop Regional Branch, 1971-1987Librarians are a great resource for people researching their family history, and librarians at the Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy specialize in genealogy research. We can help you find books and records at NYPL and elsewhere, useful resources that will answer your research question, and that help you overcome your genealogy brick walls. We offer free regular classes in genealogy research, speak at local and national genealogy conferences, and write on the subject of genealogy, producing articles, and research guides for genealogists. If you need help, email us at

You can also consult the following pages

About the Milstein Division of U.S., Local History and Genealogy

Genealogical Research at The New York Public Library

Reference questions

In the Irma and Paul Milstein Division librarians specialize in helping patrons with their genealogy and history research. Librarians have history and genealogy qualifications, and years of experience with answering reference questions, and assisting genealogists with their research.

You can visit or write to us at the the Milstein Division:

The Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
476 Fifth Avenue (42nd St and Fifth Ave)
First Floor , Room 121
New York, NY 10018

Email librarians for research assistance, or set up a 30 minute consultation at, or using the Milstein Division's Email Reference Form.


Most genealogy research questions can be answered quite easily by email. But if you need to set aside some time to speak to a reference librarian who specializes in genealogy research, you can make a 30 minute consultation appointment to do just that. When the library is open, you will be able to do that in person, or you can arrange an online or telephone consultation.

You have two options to make a consultation appointment:

  1. Book a consultation with a librarian who specializes in genealogy research using LibCal.
  2. Email us direct at Please allow at least 3 days notice.

Librarian with young reader in Browsing Room of the Nathan Strauss Branch for Young People

Research guides and blog posts

Other sources

National Archives: Start Your Genealogy Research

A great guide from the National Archives that includes information about records, how to get started, with videos and handouts.

FamilySearch Wiki

"The FamilySearch Research Wiki is a free, online genealogical guide created and maintained by FamilySearch, a non-profit organization. It contains links to genealogy databases, websites, other resources, research strategies, and genealogical guidance to assist in the search for your ancestors. Articles included are locality pages for countries around the world and topic pages that include pertinent genealogy record types explaining how to use the record, what it contains, and how to find it."

Reference librarians