New York Biography

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Local Research Resources

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Biographies in Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • Biographical information is often found in state, county, and town histories.
  • Towards the end of the 19th century, began publishers soliciting short biographical/family histories from local founding families, offering to publish them in an upcoming local history. This then became an incentive for family members to buy a copy of the book.
  • Families represented were not necessarily prominent. Practically everyone living there, especially in the Midwest, counted as an early settler.
  • These biographies often start with the first member of the family to settle in the area, and detail their descendants at the time of publishing. They may tell where the family moved in from. Children's marriages often are given, with maiden names included.

Finding Biographies[edit | edit source]

  • The county Wiki page lists several county histories. It also lists local libraries, and societies which probably have copies of local histories.
  • Many histories are no longer under copyright and can be found in the following online, digitized book collections. Search with keywords "History" and "the name of your locality" (state, county, or town).
  • The FamilySearch library has extensive collections of these local histories. Many are digitized. Search the FamilySearch Catalog under your locality for the topics "Biography" and "History".

The New York State Library[edit | edit source]

The New York State Library and New York Public Library have extensive collections of published biographies. There are numerous state, regional, and county histories with biographical information, but there is no comprehensive index to these.

New York State Biographical, Genealogical, and Portrait Index

This index, compiled by Gunther Pohl, is an excellent resource. It is a card index to over 500,000 names from more than 6,000 sources:

  • Histories
  • Biographical compendia
  • Periodicals
  • Atlases
  • Other sources.

Biographical Encyclopedias[edit | edit source]

Many state, regional, and county biographical encyclopedias are included in the Genealogy and Local History collection described in New York History.

The following are examples of excellent biographical encyclopedias for New York:

  • Fitch, Charles Elliott. Encyclopedia of Biography of New York. Four Volumes. New York, New York: American Historical Society, 1916. FHL fiche 6048146-49; book 974.7 D3f One to two page sketches.
  • Janet Foley, Early Settlers of New York State: Their Ancestors and Descendants, 2 vols. (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub., 1993). At Various Libraries (WorldCat). FHL Book 974.7 D25e 1993.
  • Greene Nelson ed. History of the Mohawk Valley . . . 1614–1925. Four Volumes. (Chicago, Illinois: S. J. Clark Publishing, 1925.) FHL films 1036045–46; book 974.7 H2mo Volumes three and four are biographical. Half- to one-page sketches.
  • Greene, Nelson. History of the Valley of the Hudson . . . 1609–1930. Five Volumes. (Chicago, Illinois: S. J. Clarke Publishing, 1931.) FHL film 1000230; book 974.7 H2g Volumes three to five are biographical with one- to two-page sketches.
  • Hamm, Margherita Arlina. Famous Families of New York. Two Volumes. (New York, New York and London, England: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1902.) FHL book 974.7 D2h Digitized version available through FamilySearch Catalog entry. Also on FHL film 930243. About a dozen pages per family and usually including several generations.

Websites[edit | edit source]