Based on population, New York is the fourth largest state in the United States. However, it still has a population greater than many of the world's countries. Its population would make it the 59th most populous country in the world if it were ranked as a country. Just for interest sake, the other three states with larger populations, in order, are California, Texas, and Florida.
If you also consider its historically strategic location on the North American continent, you can understand why it is a topic of interest to many genealogists, especially those in the United States. I have selected three general categories of records out of the thousands that exist to illustrate the types of records you can find online. For example, Ancestry.com alone has over 10,000 different collections
of records that pertain to New York State. Here is a sample of some of the online records.
I list cemeteries as first in importance because so many people have lived and therefore died in the state over the years. Of course, you should always check the huge cemetery database programs, but here is a list of those plus a few more dedicated to New York State.
- Interment.net - This website has a specific page devoted to New York State
- The Tombstone Transcription Project - Part of the USGenWeb there is also a page for New York State
- NYGenWeb.net - The New York GenWeb has an extensive list of cemeteries
Previously mentioned the New York State Census records that are available from 1825, every ten years to 1875 and then again in 1892, 1905, 1915 and 1925. Both FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com have the state censuses from 1855 onward. The earlier state census records are available from the website of the New York State Library on a web page entitled, "Census - New York State."
There are also some county censuses available as follows:
- 1720 Albany County Census
- 1714 Dutchess County Census
- 1702 Orange County Census
- 1689 Ulster County Census
Genealogists generally use the term "vital records" to mean birth, marriage and death records. However, many other types of records are often included in that broad category. For this reason, some of the online websites with genealogically important records have started creating a category for only "birth, marriage and death" records. The remaining records that have been included in the broad category of vital records are now usually found categorized as court records. In some cases you will also see the following:
- Birth Records include both baptism and christening records that are usually church records
- Marriage Records also include divorce records
- Death Records include burial, cemetery, and obituary records
These types of records can be found scattered online in websites from digital newspaper websites to local genealogy society websites. This is an area of genealogy that defies generalizations. In every case, you are looking for a specific record. For some assistance, you can see the FamilySearch.org Research Wiki article entitled, "How to Find United States Birth Records." There are similar articles on the other components of the vital records category. For a more general starting point, you can also begin with United States Genealogy in the Research Wiki. Here are a few of the websites with lists of New York State online websites excluding the large websites such as FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com.
- New York State Archives, Genealogy Resources
- NYGenWeb, Your Gateway to New York Genealogy and History
- American Ancestors, New York Resources
- Plattsburgh State University of New York, Special Collections Online Resources
- Cyndi's List for New York
- New York Heritage Digital Collections
- Polish Genealogical Society of New York State
- The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, Resources of the New York Public Library of Special Interest to Family Researchers
The more you look the more you will find.
The first post in this series can be found here: