New York State Council of Genealogical Organizations

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New York State Council of Genealogical Organizations (NYSCOGO)

Contact Information[edit | edit source]

This organization has been disbanded as of May 2019.

Collection Description[edit | edit source]

Collections that were held by the New York State Council of Genealogical Organizations (NYSCOGO) are being transferred to the New York State Library Special Collections located in Albany.

History of the NYSCOGO[edit | edit source]

Written by: Joyce H. Cook, Charter member, newsletter editor, secretary, co-editor of Researching Native Americans in New York State and The Balloting Book.

At a summer, 1990, genealogical conference in Rochester, several leaders of NYS genealogical and historical societies realized they wanted to know what others were doing in their groups, perhaps create some sort of association that could interact with state government agencies, and even help to educate beginners on how to do genealogy. That fall they met at the Fulton Public Library in Oswego County, NY, to discuss this and determined there was enough interest to form a viable statewide organization.

In April 1991, a constitution and bylaws were adopted at the next meeting in Fonda, NY. Officers and trustees were elected, appointments were made, and the organization was underway. The purposes of this organization were stated in Article II of the Constitution: "to promote an interest in genealogy; to facilitate communication between researchers and genealogists; to provide a forum for local and statewide action; to utilize various educational means to further genealogical knowledge."

It was decided to produce a newsletter to keep the lines of communication open. The Lifeline, the quarterly newsletter, began in 1991. The consecutive editors relied on members and delegates from member organizations to contribute information in a timely manner for inclusion in the newsletter.

At various times, the Council was composed of over thirty organizations and over fifty individuals; most of the organizations were from New York State, including public libraries. Many individual members also belonged to their local genealogical or historical society, which may or may not have been a NYSCOGO member. Each member organization named two delegates to the semi-annual business meetings, usually held in conjunction with a half-day workshop or other genealogy-related activity.

To further genealogical research in New York State, members met with officials from the Department of Health to secure better access to the state's vital records in Albany. Eventually, the DOH placed indexes to these birth, death, and marriage records at the State Archives. Since then those indexes have been distributed to other locations around the state, and also on the Internet.

NYSCOGO published Naturalization Records of New York State in 1996. This listed the location, by county, of the naturalization records existing in NYS repositories. This publication was the result of teamwork by many members, who visited their local county offices and compiled the information.

In 2004, the mission of NYSCOGO was broadened to provide leadership in facilitating the work of nonprofit organizations with genealogical and/or family history orientations, to encourage the development of genealogical and family history-oriented organizations in areas of NYS not currently served by such organizations, to identify and create resources which have statewide genealogical and/or family history significance, and to represent the interests of NYS genealogists in state and national venues.

The second NYSCOGO publication was Researching Native Americans in New York State, in 2007. Again arranged by county, it listed the locations of research opportunities for those who face the difficult task of finding their Native American ancestors in New York State. The large first section covered each reservation, listing on-reservation resources.

In 2011, another helpful publication for state researchers was published by NYSCOGO: The Balloting Book. This was a directory of those Revolutionary War soldiers who received land grants in Central and Western New York for their war service. Not only did it list the locations of their lands but also named who bought their land. It served as the first land record for many New York State counties.

From 2012 to its demise in 2019, NYSCOGO worked with Internet resources and social media communications to help fulfill their missions. However, lack of support from genealogical and historical organizations in the state as well as the burgeoning availability of Internet source materials resulted in declining membership and participants to maintain a viable organization.

At a May 2019 meeting it was determined to disband NYSCOGO, giving the official records to the New York State Archives as well as any remaining treasury funds. Therefore, the organization no longer exists.

Alternate Repositories[edit | edit source]

Here is a list of other repositories that may have information about your New York ancestors:

  • New York Public Library Genealogy Division has an outstanding collection of American history at national, state and local levels; international genealogy and heraldry in Roman alphabets; Dorot Jewish collection; photos; New York censuses, directories, and vital records.
  • New York Public Library Branches over 90 in New York City.
  • New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, national in scope. Over 100 million name database, of vital records, genealogies, journals, over 200,000 books, 100,000 microfilms, and over 20 million manuscripts with emphasis on New England and New York since the 1600s.
  • National Archives at New York City, censuses,, military, pensions, bounty land, photos, passenger indexes, New York port and shipping, naturalizations, inventions.
  • National Archives at Boston (that is Waltham), censuses,, military, pensions, bounty land, photos, passenger indexes, naturalizations, African Americans, Indians.
  • Stadsarchief Amsterdam (Amsterdam Municipal Archives) early Dutch notarial records of New York.
  • Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, holds 450 computers, 3,400 databases, 3.1 million microforms, 4,500 periodicals, 310,000 books of worldwide family and local histories, civil, church, immigration, ethnic, military, and records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana, premier periodical collection, genealogies, local histories, databases, military, censuses, directories, passenger lists, ethnic collections, and Canadians.
  • Library of Congress, Washington, DC, Local History and Genealogy Reading Room is part of the world's largest library including 50,000 genealogies, 100,000 local histories, manuscripts, microfilms, maps, newspapers, photographs, books, strong in North American, British Isles, and German sources
  • Newberry Library, Chicago, genealogies, local histories, censuses, military, land, indexes, vital records, court, and tax records mostly from the Mississippi Valley, eastern seaboard, Canada, & British Isles.
  • Mid-Continent Public Library Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, MO, national censuses/indexes, 80,000 family histories, 100,000 local histories, 565,000 microfilms, 7,000 maps, and newspapers.
  • National Archives I, Washington DC, census, pre-WWI military service & pensions, passenger lists, naturalizations, passports, federal bounty land, homesteads, bankruptcy, ethnic sources, prisons.
  • Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 85,000 volumes about the Jewish Holocaust, largest yizkor book collection.
  • New York State Library, Albany, has local histories, genealogies, atlases, church, cemetery (including DAR), city directories, microfilmed newspapers, censuses, passenger lists, and periodicals.
  • New York State Archives, Albany, has manuscripts, vital record indexes, land grants, maps, military, court, alien depositions, prisoners, Erie Canal passenger lists, wills, estates, and state censuses.
  • New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, New York City has censuses, city directories, church, cemetery, Bible, land, probates, genealogy, local history, and manuscripts.
  • New York Historical Society manuscripts, newspapers, periodicals, histories, directories, maps, photos.
  • Vital Records Section of the New York State Dept. of Health, Menands, NY, for outside New York City births and deaths (1881-present), and marriage licenses (1880-present). Also, all divorces since 1963.
  • Municipal Archives has New York City birth, death, and marriage records; the 1890 police census; city directories; voter registrations; almshouse records; and municipal government records.
  • Courts: city, state, and federal.
  • Brooklyn Historical Society includes finding aids and collections guides to archives, manuscripts, oral histories, photographs, paintings, oral history database, and maps.
  • Columbia University Libraries, history, biography, ethnic studies, newspapers, government documents.
  • Holland Society 7,000 New Netherland family and local history books, Dutch Reformed Church records.
  • Huguenot Historical Society open by appointment: history, settlement, genealogy, biography, theology.
  • YIVO Institute for Jewish Research East European Jewish immigrant studies, gazetteers, yizkor books (Holocaust town memorial books), biographical directories, Landsmanshaft records.
  • Leo Baeck Insitiute preserves family and community histories about Jews in German speaking countries.

Sources[edit | edit source]