eLibrary Descriptions

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The NYG&B eLibrary contains a collection of resources that will provide valuable information for persons researching their family histories. By clicking on one of the three following categories, you may read a description of the resources provided by the NYG&B Society. To access all of the material, sign up for a membership.

Journals and Periodicals

The Record
With its long history of scholarly publication, The Record is an essential New York source for genealogists, historians, and biographers, as well as individuals researching their New York families. It is published four times a year, in January, April, July, and October, and is a benefit of membership in the NYG&B. Subscriptions to The Record are also available. NYG&B members also have online access to the complete run of The RecordThe Record is one of a handful of highly respected peer-reviewed genealogical publications in the country. Serious genealogists study its pages to learn about families, sources, history, and genealogical problem-solving techniques. Whether or not the subject of an article is of direct interest in one’s own research, readers can improve their own genealogical knowledge and skills by studying its contents.

Indexes to The Record
Mrs. Jean D. Worden painstakingly indexed the names, articles, and subjects that appeared in The Record for over 113 years, providing an invaluable research tool that has been appreciated by genealogical scholars everywhere.   Mrs. Worden’s original index and the following updated versions are available to NYG&B members.

Worden’s Index of Family and Given Names
A search engine based on a comprehensive index to over 1,000,000 names found in all issues since 1870, originally compiled by Mrs. Jean D. Worden and updated every October when the year’s annual index is released. Search Worden’s Index of Family and Given Names.

Worden’s Index of Articles by Volume
A list of all The Record articles in chronological order updated through the present issue.  In effect, it is a table of contents to the entire run of the journal and can be searched for title keywords or authors.

Subject Index to Articles in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 1983-2013

(Volumes 114-144) -- compiled by Harry Macy Jr., FASG, FGBS, Editor 1987–2006. Copyright 2013, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. All Rights Reserved.
This index is a continuation of Mrs. Jean D. Worden’s The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 113 Years Master Index 1870-1982, published in 1983. The present index consists of three parts: compiled genealogies and family records, indexed by principal surnames; source records and collective genealogies, indexed by location; and other articles, indexed by subject.
The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 113 Years Master Index 1870-1982, by Mrs. Jean D. Worden. 
Copyright 1983,The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. All Rights Reserved.
The New York Researcher NEW
The New York Researcher is a colorful quarterly review which features instructive articles on genealogical research techniques and resources; news from the fields of genealogy and biography; announcements about the NYG&B; book reviews; and a Genealogical Exchange where individuals may publish queries related to their research.  The complete run of The New York Researcher and its predecessor publication The NYG&B Newsletter, which was first published in 1990, are available online to NYG&B members.  

Indexes to The New York Researcher NEW
The eLibrary contains two items for use in locating material within The New York Researcher. The Table of Contents is accumulated for the years 1996 through 2011. The Surname, Subject and Location Index covers the publication years 1990 through 2007.

Guide to New York Articles Published in Journals outside New York NEW
A comprehensive, searchable index of articles that were published in non-New York journals and have appeared in The New York Researcher’s Seen Elsewhere and Beyond our Boundaries columns since 1990.


Special Collections

1855 New York State Census, New York City's 17th Ward  MORE RECORDS ADDED
Thanks to an extraordinary effort by volunteers and interns, the NYG&B is making available online, for the first time anywhere, the 1855 New York State Census for New York City (modern Manhattan)’s 17th Ward.  According to a note in the Family History Library catalog, when the 1855 census of the city was microfilmed, "Ward 17 was not available to be filmed."  Apparently this decision was made because the original returns were in poor condition. Since it was excluded from the now widely-available microfilm, the census for Ward 17 has been available only in the original books at the New York County Clerk's Division of Old Records, which has kindly given permission for it to be scanned and digitized.
The original census returns were damaged by fire and sat unused for many years.   NYG&B’s team of indexers is midway through the process of creating a searchable index.  Meanwhile, the complete set of digital books has been posted and may be searched by enumeration district and street address.  The 1855 New York State Census asked many genealogically pertinent questions of those enumerated, some of which the federal census would not ask until decades later, including the family relationships of persons enumerated with the head of household.  Ward 17 was often the first home of new immigrants who arrived in the middle of the 19th century.   Commonly referred to as the Lower East Side, Ward 17 was bounded on the north by 14th Street, on the east by Avenue B and part of Clinton Street, on the south by Rivington Street, and on the west by the Bowery and a small part of Fourth Avenue—a very large swath of the city.

Abstracts of Marriage and Death Records Flushing and Vicinity
Compiled by Josephine C. Frost, “Abstracts of Marriage and Death Records Flushing and Vicinity” comprises vital records from Queens and (now) Nassau counties from the years 1847-1870, probably taken from the Flushing Journal and other unidentified newspapers. Marriage records contain full name and hometown of both bride and groom and the date of the marriage, in chronological order. Death records contain the date of death, age upon death, hometown, and, in the case of some women, husband’s name.

American Bible Society Collection  NEW
This unique collection of over 600 family bibles from the American Bible Society dates back to the first half of the eighteenth century and contains a wealth of information on the families to whom the bibles belonged.  For each bible, we have digitized a set of pages containing the society’s library record, the publisher and year of the bible, the printed title page, and the handwritten pages where inscriptions and life events, including births, marriages and deaths, were recorded.   The families who created these records lived all over the United States and in some cases in other countries.  Some of the records were written in languages other than English, and most of those have been translated.

Brewster Collection: The Female Descendants of Elder William Brewster  
After being carefully inspected by John R. Totten, a member of the NYG&B Society, it was declared in 1913 that the records of the female descendants of Elder William Brewster were the most “valuable manuscript donation our Society’s library has ever received.” [Record, 44: 214] The Brewster collection comprises twenty-seven bound volumes of painstakingly handwritten notes compiled by Miss Emma C. Brewster Jones, who donated her work to the Society.  Her systematic compilation details the female lines that had generally been omitted “for lack of time and space to devote to them,” according to The Record’s article.  Along with the detailed descendant notes is information about how the family travelled through Holland before coming to America, as well as copies of deeds and some photographs. For a full description of what is in the collection, volume by volume, see the Record article “Notes on the Manuscript Records of the Female Descendants of Elder William Brewster."

Minutes of the Orphanmasters of New Amsterdam

The eLibrary contains the two volumes entitled Minutes of the Orphanmasters of New Amsterdam 1655 to 1663, translated and edited by former New York State archivist Berthold Fernow and published in 1902. In the N etherlands every city had a weeskamer or orphan chamber, a court consisting of “orphanmasters” who, under Roman-Dutch Law, appointed curators (guardians) charged with protecting the estates of widows an d orphaned or half-orphaned children. When New Amsterdam became a city in 1653 it acquired this traditional Dutch institution. Orphans had previously been the responsibility of the church deacons, but by 1655 civil orphanmasters were appointed, and it is their valuable records which fill the first volume of this set. Soon after the English seized New Amsterdam in 1664 and renamed it New York, they abolished the orphan chamber. Unknown to Fernow, there were some additional minutes from the chamber’s last years. These were published by Genealogical Publishing Company of Baltimore in 1976 as The Minutes of the Orphanmasters of New Amsterdam, 1663-1668. 

Volume 2 of this set contains Fernow’s translations of two other sources: 1) “Minutes of the Executive Boards of the Burgomasters of New Amsterdam 1661-1664,” consisting of land transactions, and 2) “Records of Walewyn van der Veen, Notary Public 1662-1664.” In the Netherlands, Notaries prepared and certified a wide variety of legal documents that can be rich sources for genealogists. The 1661-1662 records of van der Veen’s predecessor in New Amsterdam, Salomon Lachaire, also survive, and were published by Genealogical Publishing Company in 1978.

NYG&B Member Biographies   MORE RECORDS ADDED
Early in the twentieth century, NYG&B members were asked to complete a four-page, ledger-sized questionnaire regarding the member's life and family. The stated purpose for the requested information was " . . . in the preparation of the Biographical Sketches of Members of the Society . " Members were asked to provide "full and specific" replies and to use extra pages to complete the information when necessary.  This member requirement was relatively short-lived, from approximately 1920 through 1946. However, those 532 members who dutifully filled out and sent back the forms, often accompanied by family trees, press clippings and other ephemera, gave the Society a wonderful resource regarding their personal family histories.

A Finding Aid to the Baptismal Registers of the Rev. Francis J. (Franz Joseph) Schneider, New York City NEW
Rev. Mr. Francis Joseph (or Franz Joseph) Schneider immigrated to New York City from Germany around 1869 Rev. Schneider was an independent Lutheran minister not affiliated with any formally established church. He married couples and performed baptisms out of his home on Allen Street, and later at Second Avenue near Sixth Street in the German neighborhood of New York City (Manhattan) then known as "Kleindeutschland." Read the full description of the collection he created.

A Finding Aid to the Records of St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, New York City NEW
St. Luke’s Church was started in 1850 by Rev. William Drees and a small group of his Dutch Reformed congregation. The first services were held at West 35th Street and Ninth Avenue. St. Luke’s was transformed into a Lutheran church in 1853 upon joining the New York Ministerium, and took the name The German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of St. Luke’s in 1859.

A Finding Aid to the Records of St. Paul’s Evangelical Reformed Church, New York City NEW
St. Paul’s Evangelical Reformed Church was organized around the year 1852 as the German Evangelical Reformed Church. The church was located on Suffolk Street near Delancey Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. St. Paul’s Evangelical Reformed Church in the City of New York was incorporated January 14, 1889. The church moved uptown from Suffolk Street to the neighborhood of East Harlem in January 1900, and in 1919 moved to East 141st Street and Crimmins Avenue in the Eastchester section of the Bronx. The church closed in June 1948.

Cemetery Transcriptions
The NYG&B’s cemetery transcriptions comprise forty collections of records from New York State cemeteries, some dating back to the mid-seventeenth century.

Religious Records
The NYG&B possesses religious records from dozens of New York State churches of various denominations, generally containing baptism, marriage and death records.

Digital Books

NYG&B Collections Series NEW
Newly added to the eLibrary are digital versions of books published by the NYG&B, many of which are part of the series Collections of The NYG&B Society. These unique resources include church, city, county, and court records, as well as genealogical indexes. When you become a member, you get full access to all of these books.
WPA Historical Records Survey NEW
Under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression, the Historical Records Survey was organized in 1935 to document resources for research in U.S. history.  Their workers combed municipal and religious archives, historical societies, and public and university libraries for vital records and created comprehensive inventories.  These inventories, many of which were published in book form, have had a profound impact on genealogists but are not widely available today. The NYG&B has digitized several books in the WPA’s Public Archives Inventory, Church Archives Inventory, and Guide to Vital Statistics series for New York City.