Monday, April 7, 2014

April 5th Saturday Workshop Review =- New York Research

The April 5th Saturday Workshop meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society at the Bonita-Sunnyside Library featured two discussions about "New York Research."

In the first hour, CVGS Member Shirley Becker provided a historical overview of New York, along with a discussion of county formation and record jurisdictions during the colonial and early statehood periods.  She was born in New York and has worked on her family history for over twenty years, and has done extensive research at the local, county and state level.  

Perhaps the most important concept is record jurisdiction - the state, county and towns or cities have unique records, and it is important to understand where to find specific records.  Then there are villages and hamlets.  In their early history, counties often divided into several smaller counties, and original towns often divided into several more smaller towns, so knowing when  counties and towns were formed is critical.  Each town has a town historian who should know what town records are available, and where they can be accessed.  
In the second hour, CVGS Member Randy Seaver provided a quick look at online resources for New York genealogical research.  He visited and demonstrated use of these websites (and his handout had many more links to online resources):

*   New York Wikipedia article  for basic history and demographic information

*  Cyndi's List page for New York for links to New York resources

*  FamilySearch Research Wiki for New York State for information about New York genealogy

*   FamilySearch List of Online New York Resources with links for New York online databases 

*  Family History Library Catalog to search for place names

* Family History Wiki for New York 

* Card Catalog - put "new york" in the Title or Keyword fields

*  Steve Morse's One-Step Web Pages has N.Y. immigration and vital records

*  New York Land Records, 1630-1975 collection on FamilySearch - need to browse this collection.

*  New York Probate Records, 1629-1971 collection on FamilySearch - need to browse this collection.

*  U.S. Dutch Reformed Church Records, 1660-1926 collection on has some church records.

Randy spent quite a bit of time explaining how to get to the actual records for the land and probate collections, since the collections are not indexed and must be browsed, using "waypoints" to find records for a specific person.  In general, the waypoints are the County and then a number of "books" in each county.  Index books can be used to find book volumes and page numbers for deeds or probate records, and then the specific volume needs to be searched to find the digital image with the specific page.  

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