Why the NYG&B Record is essential for tracing New York ancestors

2-3 minute read

By Guest Author | July 14, 2021

New York ancestry records

Our partners at NYG&B explain how their long-running periodical, The Record, could be key to finding elusive New York ancestors.

If you have ancestors from New York, you’ll know family research in the Empire State can be challenging. There are missing resources, fewer online records than other states, and constantly evolving laws that confuse even the most experienced genealogists. Put simply, New York family history research is tricky at the best of times.

Here at the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B), we’ve been helping family researchers navigate these challenges for over 150 years, and we're proud that our most valuable resource is available for you on Findmypast. 

You can use Findmypast’s online archive of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record (often referred to as simply “The Record”) to immediately improve your chances of tracing New York connections.

Explore thousands of articles and millions of names to find ancestors, break through ‘brick walls’, and become a savvier New York family researcher.  Read on to learn how and why to make the most of The Record.

Unearth rare New York local history

The Record has been publishing transcriptions of rare and essential New York genealogy records since 1870, with particular emphasis on material that fills in the gaps that researchers have faced for over a century and a half.

NYGB genealogy records

Contributors to The Record have made an effort to cover the most challenging time periods for genealogy research. View the full article

You’ll find baptism, marriage, and burial records that can also help you overcome the many missing years of birth, marriage, and death certificates.

Baptism records, Catskill, New York

Religious records are some of the best substitutes for missing New York vital records.

You’ll find information extracted from old, delicate sources that have not been digitized and require special expertise to interpret and transcribe.

New York birth and death records

It takes a lot of expertise, care, and time to extract information from records like deed books. Thankfully, this author has done much of the work for us. View the full article.

The Record is absolutely essential for those researching colonial New York ancestors. Not only are there transcribed records, but there are also scores of compiled genealogies and complete lineages of many Dutch and English colonial families, their descendants, and their European ancestors. 

NYGB The Record publication archives

If you’re connected to early Dutch settlers of New York, there is a good chance you will find a trove of useful information in The RecordView the full article.

If you have New York Dutch ancestors make sure to read our full article on using periodicals for New York Dutch genealogy research

Uncover sources you never knew existed

The Record has more than just record transcriptions. It also contains compiled genealogies, case studies, and family histories written in narrative form.

Most of these articles are thoroughly cited so even if your ancestors aren’t in a particular article, you can still benefit immensely from reading it. If you find an article that covers a similar time and place or ethnic group to the one you’re researching, those footnotes contain a goldmine of hidden treasure. 

Records of Irish immigrants to New York

If you’re researching a 19th-century Protestant Irish family, the sources found in this article will be helpful, even if the subjects are not your ancestors. View the full record.   

Follow along, read the footnotes, and see what sources the expert researcher consulted for their own problem – you will often find sources you overlooked or didn’t even know existed.

Apply expert techniques to your own research

Authors published in The Record include academics, professional genealogists, and the foremost experts on New York State archives and research.

Use the Article Title Index and Findmypast’s handy browsing tool to find an article that covers a topic related to your current family research question.  It could be about a certain time and place, an ethnic group, or even a similar quandary. 

NYG&B expert researchers

Many family historians encounter similar problems – does this name belong to a single person or multiple people? Learning how this author tackles the problem will help you improve your search skills.

Read the article closely to see the author’s commentary on the problem, the methods they use, and their general tips for success. It will make you a better researcher.

How to use The NYG&B Record

You can search The Record by name or keyword on Findmypast. You can also browse the collection page-by-page to find a specific issue or article.

The NYG&B Record on Findmypast

The Record is still published to this day. Not one issue has been missed since it debuted in 1870. NYG&B members can read the most recent editions online as soon as they’re published. Supporting our society through an annual membership comes with many additional benefits - if you have New York ancestors, we can help you trace their incredible stories.

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