New Record Guide for New York City

Overlapping jurisdictions are always a research challenge–so this new guide is an essential item for your research shelf:

Aaron Goodwin. New York City Municipal Archives: An Authorized Guide for Family Historians. New York: New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 2016.

31 Chambers Street, Manhattan NY was the Surrogates Courthouse, the Hall of Records until 1962. Today it houses the Municipal Archives and the New York State Supreme Court, Division of Old Records.

I have heard it identified just by the address–31 Chambers Street.

This guide is a reference tool you will wonder how you ever survived research in New York without it–

  1. Examples are really mini-case studies–matching entries in a specific record with other records in the archives. Evidence is carefully evaluated as to how the potential ancestor relates to others, with the same surname or with similar characteristics living at the same address or found in the same record set.
  2. Record inventories for each record category are presented in tables so you can scan them easily. Indexes are presented in the same format.
  3. Bibliographies with related articles, books, reviews, and printed record abstracts are included.
  4. Legible, clear scans of sample documents are easy to read.
  5. An Appendix of Old City Wards for the city, now the Borough of Manhattan, is especially useful.

The book is available from NYG&, 36 W. 44th St, New York NY 10036 or your favorite bookseller. It has been widely praised already and I highly recommend it. Arlene Eakle

PS Examining a record inventory of the actual records themselves is always instructive–watch the date carefully and ask yourself are these dates inclusive without identifying record gaps? Does the record I need cover the right time period for my ancestor?

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