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New York State: Local History & Genealogy Resource Guide

Compiled by reference specialists at the Library of Congress, this guide identifies key print and online resources for pursuing family history, as well as state, county and municipal historical research, for the state of New York.


E. C. Bridgman. Bridgman's new rail road & township map of New York from the latest official & other authentic sources adapted for use in institutions of learning, business offices & libraries. 1896. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

New York State has been remarkable for both its diversity and its impact on the United States and the world. Since the 1500s, New York City and State served as entry points for persons arriving from all over the world. From its first settlement by Europeans in the 1620s, New York State has reflected the impact and influence of Indigenous peoples, Africans and African-descended peoples, as well as Dutch, French, and English, among many other nationalities. New York City, in addition, served as the Capital of the United States from 1785 to 1790. For these reasons, the genealogies and family histories of a great many ethnicities and nationalities intersect with New York in one way or another.

This guide offers a selection of resources and strategies for New York local history and genealogy research. These include the print and digital collections of the Library of Congress, as well as external repositories and web sites key to finding forebears in the Empire State.

About Local History & Genealogy Reference Services

The Library of Congress has one of the world's premier collections of U.S. and foreign genealogical and local historical publications, numbering more than 50,000 compiled family histories and over 100,000 U.S. local histories. The Library's genealogy collection began as early as 1815 with the purchase of Thomas Jefferson's library.