New York Biography

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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.

The New York State Biographical, Genealogical, and Portrait Index compiled by Gunther Pohl is an excellent resource. This is a card index to over 500,000 names from more than 6,000

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

You may write to have a search made. In the initial letter please enclose particulars about the ancestor, and send a self-addressed stamped envelope. Gunther Pohl will check the index for a fee. His address is:

Gunther Pohl
24 Walden Place
Great Neck, NY 11020
Telephone: 516-482-6037

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 book 974.7 D3f; fiche 6048146–49.) One to two page sketches.

Greene Nelson ed. History of the Mohawk Valley . . . 1614–1925. Four Volumes. Chicago, Illinois: S. J. Clark Publishing, 1925. (FHL book 974.7 H2mo; films 1036045–46.) 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 book 974.7 H2g; film 1000230.) 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; film 930243.) About a dozen pages per family and usually including several generations.

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