This guide is intended to help researchers interested in researching buildings in New York City. It includes information about the uses and availability of property maps, censuses, city directories, land conveyances, photographs, newspapers, published local histories, ephemera, and other archival and published sources available at The New York Public Library, and elsewhere in the Five Boroughs.
This research guide is divided into sections that address common building research goals, including researching
Preparation: before you start your research, you will need to find key data that will help you find the various records that describe the history of a building in NYC. For this you'll be looking at databases, maps, and photographs and other images.
This guide will include links to a selection of other building research guides and examples of building histories.
This guide is also intended as a supplement to the NYPL class Researching the History of Your New York City Home, available to view at The New York Public Library's Vimeo channel.
For information about the next live Researching the History of Your New York City Home, please consult Genealogy Essentials.
Different records answer different research questions about buildings. The table below suggest some of the most useful sources in order of detail.
|QUESTION||1ST CHOICE||2ND CHOICE||3RD CHOICE|
|"When was a NYC building constructed?"|
|"Who Lived in a Building?"|
|"Who owned a building?"||Property deeds||Census records|
|"Who designed a building?'||Landmark Preservation Commission reports||Real estate news|