How to Discover Your New York Ancestry

New York genealogy can be a challenge, depending on the time, place and ethnicity of your ancestors. For example, finding 18th century Dutch-descended New Yorkers in the Hudson Valley is easier than finding settlers from New England in the same locale. The 1911 fire at the State Library in Albany and the fact that statewide registration of vital records did not start until 1880 can throw up brick walls.

NEHGS experts know the best resources for New York genealogy and can teach you to use them effectively. Use the guide below to browse a wide variety of New York records, subject guides and books.

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A Guide to New York Research

Insider tips for New York genealogy

NEHGS expert Henry Hoff explains how to use New York resources to best advantage, including land, vital, probate, town, cemetery and other records.

Search New York Databases

Get access to databases now

Search The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, New York: Abstracts of Wills, Admins. and Guardianships 1787-1835, New York: Long Island Cemetery Inscriptions, 1652-1910, and more.

Webinar: NEHGS NY Resources

Expert Chris Child on New York

Learn what resources are available through NEHGS,, and other repositories and get valuable research tips from genealogist Chris Child.

New York Newspapers

No vital records? Use newspapers.

In New York, recording vital records was not done state-wide until 1880. Here is a guide to using New York newspapers to find valuable family history data.

New York & Westward Migration

Browse New York-related publications

Find NEHGS publications about New York, including History of Ancient Families of New Amsterdam and New York and New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer.

The Portable Genealogist

Using the New York Census

This four-page laminated guide will assist you in understanding, locating, and using valuable genealogical sources beyond the federal census.