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Genealogy : Getting Started at The New York Public Library: Other genealogy sources

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


Newspaper clipping, L'Hommedieu family genealogical research files, 1923-1941. NYGB Coll 86.jpgThe list of resources that a researcher can call upon to advance genealogical research, or to provide color and context for a family history, is potentially endless. Property deeds, wills, high school yearbooks, correspondence, passports, biographies, oral histories, postcards, political campaign ephemera, trade journals, telephone directories, bank records, personal narratives, church congregation lists, business and elite directories, Yizkor memorial books, family bibles, scrapbooks and clippings files, even the odd lock of hair, can all be found in the collections of The New York Public Library.

Well represented amongst those collections are

  • Maps that describe where our ancestors lived, but also provide clues to the locations of records, and show cultural features, like schools, hospitals, libraries, or theatres, that shed light on our ancestors lives.
  • Photographs and other images that tell us what our ancestors, or their environment, looked like. They also provide clues as to the religion they followed, the work they did, and the fashions they wore.
  • Military records, accessible through databases at NYPL, that describe our ancestors service at time of war, but also provide clues to familial relationships.
  • City directories that tell us where and when people lived at a particular address, but can also provide clues to the location of records, fill in the gaps between censuses, and even provide information about an individuals death.
  • Newspapers that include obituaries and death notices, marriage announcements, society news, information about real estate transactions, ship arrivals, criminal, and enlistments and casualties of war, amongst many other details of interest to genealogists.
  • Family files and other archive collections, unique materials not found elsewhere, including manuscripts, photographs, family trees and pedigree charts, correspondence, and even original records.

If you need help navigating these collections, please contact a librarian in the Milstein Division at

Above: Newspaper clipping, L'Hommedieu family genealogical research files, 1923-1941. NYGB Coll 86

Reference librarians