Genealogy research in New York State is difficult, at all periods of time. Even the census records are difficult–some cities are omitted from the microfilmed schedules—Syracuse is an example. And although original county schedules exist for parts of the 1850 census in local county archives, the version available on microfilm in most libraries is a copy made for the National Government–which may or may not include all the entries in the originals–Steuben County is an example. To see the originals you have to visit the local county archives or send an agent in your behalf.
The 1855 New York State census gives county of birth if your ancestor was born in the state of New York. Every once and a while, the clerk includes counties of birth for persons not born in New York!
Genealogists are at work to remedy the problem:
Dilts, Bryan Lee. 1890 New York Census Index of Civil War Veterans or their Widows. Salt Lake City UT: Index Publishing, 1984. Also available on FHL microfiche, #6213550.
Dollarhide, William. New York State Censuses and Substitutes. Bountiful UT: Heritage Creations, 2005.
Index to Tree Talks County Pages. CD-Rom, Central New York Genealogical Society, 2004. Available from Kinship, 305 Cedar Heights Rd, Phinebeck NY 12572. Includes early census records for counties west of the Hudson River Valley.
Jensen, Howard M. Aid to Finding Addresses in the 1890 New York City Police Census. Heritage Books, 2003. The 1890 Census is available on 59 microfilm reels through the Family History Library. Some portions are also on Ancesty.com.
Joslyn, Roger D. “New York City Censuses for 1816, 1819, 1821,” New York Genealogical & Biographical Society Newsletter (Winter 1992.).
New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer, New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 2013. More than 100 genealogists and historians have contributed to this new guide. Covers census records in all 62 of New York’s counties.
New York State Census Records, 1790-1925. New York State Library, Bibliography Bulletin 88, 1981). Reprinted editions can be found in genealogy research libraries.
Scott, Andrew Bartley, “Cumberland County New York Census for 1771,” Vermont Genealogy, 17 (Spring 2012) 60-96.
New York Genealogical and Biographical Society http://www.newyorkfamilyhistory.org: 1855 New York State Census, Manhattan Ward 17. Significance of the 1855 NY State Census—it is the only surviving state census between 1855 and 1905 for New York City. Significance of Ward 17—bounded on north by 14th Street, on east by Avenue B and a part of Clinton Street, on south by Rivington Street, and on west by the Bowery and small part of 4th Ave—much of the East Village and the Lower East Side. This area was heavily immigrant and densely populated. It was missed when the census was microfilmed. NYG&B has indexed all 4 volumes of this census. Both census and index are available to members–eLibrary online. To anticipate spelling variations of immigrant names, use the free phonetic-matching and Soundex Code available at http://www.stevemorse.org.
New York State Archives http://www.archives.nysed.gov. Poorhouse Census Records. The New York State Archives holds a Census of Inmates in Almshouses and Poorhouses, 1826-1921, bulk 1875-1921 (A1978). This series contains personal data for residents of county and city poorhouses. The series is not indexed. Archives staff will search the censuses only if name of resident and place and dates of residence are provided. The censuses are available on microfilm for use onsite or through interlibrary loan, or online with index to New York State residents through Ancestry.com/New York.
State Census Records:
The New York State Archives holds the original schedules of the State population census for 1915 and 1925 (series A0275, A0276). The schedules are not indexed, and Archives staff will not search them except to provide legal proof of age. The 1915 and 1925 census schedules and key maps for large cities are available on microform at the NY State Library and online to New York State residents through Ancestry.com New York. Manuscript schedules of the State census for 1801-1905 were destroyed by fire in 1911. Some county clerks’ offices hold duplicate copies of some of these State censuses taken 1825 and 1925. See “New York State Census Records, 1790-1925” (N.Y. State Library Bibliography Bulletin 88, (1981).
A new webpage with free access for New York State residents (use zip code as login). The records on this page are also available through Ancestry.com with a regular subscription. And some of these sources can be accessed through AncestryInstitution at local public and genealogy libraries, including the Family History Library:
__New York State Census—1892, 1915, 1925
(Being added—1855, 1865, 1875, 1892, 1905)
__New York Census of Inmates in Almshouses and Poorhouses, 1830-1920
__Civil War Muster Rolls, 1861-1900, abstracts for NY
__Town Clerk’s Registers of Men who serve in the Civil War, 1861-1865, for NY
__US Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880, for NY
__US Non-population schedules, 1850-1880, for NY
__US 1880 Schedule of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes, for NY
__World War I Service Cards, for NY (being added)
The site will add naturalization records, and other sources. Also on Ancestry.com you will find one of the largest collections of records for New York City on the internet, including Methodist Church records, births, marriages, and deaths.
Have you searched these indexed records yet? Your favorite New York genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
PS Just when I think I have the technology licked–and I am still taking classes–they update my machine, and challenge my growing skills. Ugh!