Select Page

Save a little, get a lot

Discovering that you have genealogical ties to New York can be cause for joy, such as when The Legal Genealogist found records showing that immigrant ancestors came through Ellis Island to begin their new lives here in the 19th and 20th centuries.

BOOK(3)But discovering that you have genealogical ties to New York can also be cause for despair, such as when you discover that most parts of New York don’t have vital records dating back nearly as far as we’d like; it didn’t even try to require recordation of vital statistics until 1847 and that effort was a failure.1

Or such as when you realize that “in 1911, a horrendous fire swept through the Capitol, causing wholesale destruction to everything in its path. The flames roared wildly through both the State and Assembly libraries reducing them to ashes.”2 Among the losses: some of the official records of the early Dutch period.

It’s not for no reason that New York is often described as the black hole of northeastern research.3

It isn’t that there aren’t terrific things to be found in New York: “New York has wonderful resources for the genealogist” and an “amazing number of records have survived from the colonial period to the present.” But those record types “may differ from sources found in other states,” presenting a different challenge: “to learn what they are and how to use them effectively.”4

And that’s where the New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer comes in: a massive work from the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) to guide the researcher to those resources across the state and county by county.

I’ve written about this guide before,5 and anyone who’s even had a chance to glance at it knows how valuable this guide is:

• Diane Rapaport in the September issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly called the book “the biggest and best ever guide to New York research. Everything a researcher would want to know about researching New York’s sixty-two counties, and the boroughs of New York City, is now in one comprehensive, encyclopedic, easy-to-use manual.”6

• Henry Hoff, editor of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, declared “This is a volume that every library and New York researcher should have, and indeed must have.”7

• And the New York Times described the book as “an overdue handbook for serious researchers,” “an enlightening and eclectic chronological tour of four centuries of New York benchmarks and record-keeping,” and “an authoritative, fact-filled beginner’s resource.”8

• The Federation of Genealogical Societies recently presented the NYG&B with an Award of Merit in recognition of distinguished work in family history for this publication.9

You can order your copy of the Guide through the NYG&B website here, and I’ll warn you: this isn’t an inexpensive book. For NYG&B members, it’s $65; for libraries, $75; and for non-NYG&B-members, $85, plus $10 shipping.

Except right now. Until November 30, if you use the the discount code “BOOKSHIP,” U.S. shipping and handling (regularly $10) is free for all. Mail, phone, online all get free shipping — amd even international orders get a $10 discount on shipping.

So act now… save a little and get a lot — a lot of information for your New York research.

Highly recommended.


  1. FamilySearch Research Wiki (, “New York Vital Records,” rev. 25 Oct 2015.
  2. The Capitol Fire,” New York State Assembly ( : accessed 3 Nov 2015).
  3. See e.g. Gary Jones, “Genealogical Scope,” Gary’s Genealogy Junk ( : accessed 3 Nov 2015).
  4. Harry Macy, Jr., Preface, in New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer (New York : NYG&B, 2014), ix.
  5. Judy G. Russell, “New help with Empire State research,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 5 Feb 2015 ( : accessed 3 Nov 2015).
  6. Diane Rapaport, “Review: New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 103 (September 2015): 235-236.
  7. Henry Hoff, “Review of Books: New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer,” New England Historical and Genealogical Register 169 (Spring 2015): 189-190.
  8. Sam Roberts, “Bookshelf: Books on a Photographer, the Underground Railroad and Ancestry,” The New York Times, posted 18 Apr 2015 ( : accessed 3 Nov 2015).
  9. See “FGS Awards Presented at the New York State Family History Conference,” FGS Voice, 20 Sep 2015 ( : accessed 3 Nov 2015).
Print Friendly, PDF & Email