New York Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections

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This entry was originally written by Roger D. Joslyn, CG, FUGA, FGBS, FASG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
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the New York Family History Research series.
History of New York
New York Vital Records
Census Records for New York
Background Sources for New York
New York Maps
New York Land Records
New York Probate Records
New York Court Records
New York Tax Records
New York Cemetery Records
New York Church Records
New York Military Records
New York Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
New York Archives, Libraries, and Societies
New York Immigration
New York Naturalization
Ethnic Groups of New York
New York County Resources
Map of New York


The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record is the oldest continuing genealogical periodical in the state. Published since 1870, it is the quarterly of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society and has printed numerous source records, compiled genealogies, and other fine articles concerning New York history and genealogy. Some of the journal's more extensive coverage has extended to New England and New Jersey. A name and article index to the Record (1870'1998) is available from the society on CD-ROM. For a subject index, see also Master Index to this journal (1870'1982) by Jean D. Worden (Franklin, Ohio: the author, 1983). The society is currently publishing the Record on CD-ROM.

The Central New York Genealogical Society began Tree Talks in 1961. Except for some information articles and book reviews, it is essentially a journal of mostly pre-1850 source records, arranged by county, with coverage for most of the state except New York City and Long Island, with concentration on upstate New York. Its contents include abstracts of censuses, wills, administrations, guardianships, marriages and deaths from newspapers, cemetery marker transcripts, church records, family Bibles, naturalizations, tax records, and town records. A published subject index for Tree Talks (1961'88) and an every-name index on CD-ROM (1961'2001) was published by Kinship.

The Western New York Genealogical Society Journal is the periodical of that organization. Published since 1974, it includes sources of records and other material pertaining to the eight western counties of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming.

Source material for Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties is covered in The Patents, a bimonthly begun in 1981 by the Northeastern New York Genealogical Society. Among the many periodicals covering one New York county are a series of 'Valley Quarterlies' published by Arthur C. M. Kelly (60 Cedar Heights Rd., Rhinebeck, NY 12572]), including The Capital (Albany and Rensselaer counties), The Columbia (Columbia County), The Mohawk (Montgomery and Schenectady counties), and The Saratoga (Saratoga County), all with abstracts of source records. A CD-ROM indexes these quarterlies through 1999, when publication of the journals was changed to a yearly format, now titled Yearbooks.

Janet W. Foley's Early Settlers of New York State: Their Ancestors and Descendants, 9 vols. (Akron, N.Y.: 1934'42; reprint in 2 vols. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1993) contains source records and queries with concentration on central and western New York.

De Halve Maen is the journal of the Holland Society of New York (, published since 1922. It contains articles about early Dutch in the state and has some genealogies tracing the origins of Dutch immigrants.

Important quarterlies with greater historical focus are The New-York Historical Society Quarterly (1917'80) and New York History, begun in 1919 by the New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown. The Proceedings (1902'17) of the association should also be mentioned.

Journals published outside the state should not be overlooked for New York material. These include The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, National Genealogical Society Quarterly, The American Genealogist, The Genealogist, The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, and The Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazine.


The 'Newspaper Project' at New York State Library seeks to identify and preserve newspapers throughout the state. A list of what papers are available on microfilm is on the library's website. Also see Bibliographies and Lists of New York State Newspapers: An Annotated Guide, Bibliography Bulletin 87 of the New York State Library (Albany, 1981), available for $4, and A Checklist of Newspapers in Microform in the New York State Library (Albany, 1979), available for $3. Sylvia G. Faibisoff and Wendell Tripp, comps., A Bibliography of Newspapers in Fourteen New York Counties (Cooperstown, N.Y.: New York Historical Association, 1978) covers Allegany, Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Otsego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates counties.

Many New York libraries and historical societies have important collections of newspapers and often have abstracts of or indexes to newspaper items, mostly notices of marriages and deaths. Among the many published newspaper abstracts and indexes are the following:

  • Biebel, Frank A. Index to Marriage and Death Notices in the New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung, 1836'1870. New York: The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 2000.
  • Bowman, Fred Q. 10,000 Vital Records of Western New York, 1809'1850; ...of Central New York, 1813'1850; ...of Eastern New York, 1777'1834. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1985, 1986, 1987; and 8,000 More Vital Records of Eastern New York State, 1804'1850. Rhinebeck, N.Y.: Kinship, 1991. For a continuation of the latter book, see '1,100 Vital Records of Northeastern New York, 1835'1850' in volumes 118 and 119 of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.
  • DeGrazia, Laura Murphy and Diane Fitzpatrick Haberstroh, comps. Irish Relatives and Friends from 'Information Wanted' Ads in the Irish-American, 1850'1871. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2001.
  • Gavit, Joseph. American Deaths and Marriages, 1784'1829. This is a microfilm of alphabetized abstracts from New York newspapers, for which Kenneth Scott prepared Index to Non-principal Names. New Orleans: Polyanthos, 1976.
  • Maher, James P., comp. Index to Marriages and Deaths in the New York Herald 1835'1855, ...1856'1863, and '¦1864'1870, 3 vols. to date. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1987, 2000 (vols. 1 and 3) and Alexandria, Va., 1992 (vol. 2). Coverage extends beyond the New York City area.
  • Reynolds, Helen W. Notices of Marriages and Deaths...Published in Newspapers Printed in Poughkeepsie..., 1778'1825. Volume 4 of Dutchess County Historical Society Collections. Poughkeepsie, N.Y., 1930. A card file at the Adriance Library, Poughkeepsie, takes these abstracts further into the nineteenth century.
  • Scott, Kenneth. Genealogical Data from Colonial New York Newspapers (1726'1783). Reprinted from The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1982.
  • , and Kristin Lunde Gibbons, eds. The New-York Magazine Marriages and Deaths: 1790'1797. New Orleans: Polyanthos, 1975.

Nineteenth-century marriage and death notices from the New York Evening Post and Brooklyn Eagle, both abstracted by Gertrude A. Barber, are also to be checked. For a more complete list of New York City and Long Island area abstracts, see Henry B. Hoff's 'Marriage and Death Notices in New York City Newspapers' and 'Marriage and Death Notices in Long Island Newspapers,' The NYG&B Newsletter 2 (1991): 3-5 and 20-21, respectively.

Fully word-searchable online newspapers include The New York Times (1851'2001), available at major and academic libraries and through membership with The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, and The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (1841'1902) at


An abundance of manuscript genealogical material is located in the New York State Archives, the New York State Library, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, and elsewhere. The following published guides outline other major collections:

  • Breton, Arthur J. A Guide to the Manuscript Collections of The New-York Historical Society. 2 vols. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1972. Covers the society's newspaper, map, photo, and business record holdings.
  • Works Progress Administration (WPA). Guides to Depositories of Manuscript Collections in New York State. New York: Historical Records Survey, 1941'44.
  • Mango, Karin R., comp. The Long Island Historical Society Calendar of Manuscripts: 1763'1783. Brooklyn: Long Island Historical Society, 1980. Now called the Brooklyn Historical Society.
  • New York Historical Resources Center. Guide to Historical Resources in...County, New York Repositories. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1978'91. Sometimes called 'the Red Books,' this series has at least one volume for each county. Public records are not represented, and not all New York City and Long Island information was published. The material collected in these guides is now known as the Historical Documents Inventory and its data, sometimes updated and including some of what was not published, is available online through the state archives website (see New York Archives, Libraries, and Societies).

The New York Public Library Research Libraries Dictionary Catalog of the Manuscript Division. 2 vols. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1967.