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Kudos to The Advancing Genealogist

Once upon a time there was a terrific website called Manhattan Past that had collected links to many of the New York State (and colonial) laws that genealogists might need to use.

Alas, as of last fall, that website had apparently passed into the great ethernet of the sky. Except for a maps section, any attempt to access the website results in an error message. And so the links to the laws went with it, unless you accessed it from the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.1

Now that was major-league inconvenient to The Legal Genealogist… and to genealogists doing New York research.

So I recreated the basic links from the Manhattan Past website and put them in a blog post so they’d be more easily available.2

Now my friend and colleague Debbie Mieszala, author of The Advancing Genealogist, has gone not one but many steps farther and all of us who may need New York law links now have a great new resource to bookmark and use. As Debbie puts it: “Like any project, it took on a life of its own, and the end result was a much larger collection of New York session laws and other materials than that which was lost.”3

NY statutes

Modeled on her equally outstanding Illinois historic statutes collection,4 this resource is in two parts:

Historic New York Statutes: a comprehensive list of digitized New York law reference books, all with links to the online site where you can find, use or read them.

New York Law Indexes and Extras: published general indexes to the New York laws from 1777 to 1907, and some extra goodies useful for genealogy as well — again, linked to the online digitized versions.

In the first set, the Historic New York Statutes begin with the Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland — the Dutch period preceding the British colony of New York — and go forward through the colonial period, early statehood and — with some gaps because the volumes haven’t been digitized — well into the 20th century.

In the second set, the New York Law Indexes and Extras, you can find laws relating to general topics as well as laws relating to a single individual or group of individuals through the indexes, and then go on to get a preview of a terrific volume on the courts and lawyers of New York.

It’s a New York State of laws… and it’s a great one-stop-shopping resource for researching the laws of this important colonial state, and any genealogist who works in New York can be most grateful to Debbie Mieszala for putting this collection together for us.

Check it out at The Advancing Genealogist.


Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “A New York State of laws,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 28 Mar 2019).

  1. See Judy G. Russell, “Empire State Laws,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 27 Sep 2018 ( : accessed 28 Mar 2019).
  2. Ibid.
  3. Debbie Mieszala, “Historic New York Statutes,” Advancing Genealogist, posted 27 Mar 2019 ( : accessed 28 Mar 2019).
  4. See Judy G. Russell, “Laws of the Prairie State,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 6 July 2018.
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