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Posts from the Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy

The OldNYC App Is Here! We Spoke with Its Creators

The OldNYC experience is now available on mobile phones—discover what was there at thousands of locations across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. We talked to the developers to learn more about their work with our collections.Read More ›

Emigrant City: A Collaborative Resource

Find your great-great-uncle or the former owner of your apartment building: We’ve built an interface for you to browse records after searching names, addresses, and other fields.Read More ›

3 Reasons to Use Find My Past for Family History Research

Find My Past holds many useful records for furthering your family history research. Here are three reasons to explore this database and continue your genealogical journey:Read More ›

Santa's New York Roots

How was the iconic image of Santa born? Several New Yorkers inspired the personality, appearance, and traditions of this holiday favorite.Read More ›

Using Postcards for Local History Research

Postcards are a fantastic visual resource for a place’s past that are often underutilized by scholars. They offer rich evidence of culture and architecture as a visual record of the past.Read More ›

Remembering Manhattan's Little Syria

Centered on Washington Street and Rector Street on the west side of Lower Manhattan, was once a neighborhood known as Little Syria. Located near the now-gone Washington Market and just south of the current location of the World Trade Center, it was a vibrant neighborhood characterized by store signs in Arabic, men and women in cultural clothing including veils and fezzes, and food such as Baklava in the cafes.Read More ›

Emigrant City: Two Stories

The recently digitized ledgers contain details of 6,400 mortgages held by customers at the bank, between 1851 and 1921, information that, until now, was available only on microfilm.Read More ›

Emigrant City: An Introduction

NYPL Labs and the Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy are excited to announce the launch of Emigrant City, the Library's newest, online participatory project.Read More ›

How to Research Dutch Ancestors

Primarily focusing on library collections, this guide presents a select list of materials useful for researching Dutch ancestors in New Netherland and colonial New York. Find information on research strategies, family histories, early directories, church records, Dutch genealogy periodicals, and more.Read More ›

Books We Know by Heart

Reading a book aloud to a child is one of life’s sweetest pleasures, and children sometimes ask to repeat the experience with the same book over and over. And over. And over.Read More ›

Down the Rabbit Hole

Lewis Carroll’s creative masterpiece turns 150 this fall, and NYPL is celebrating with a major exhibition—and, of course, with book recommendations.Read More ›

Blue Pencil in the Blue Room: City Tabloids, Old Laws, and the Painted Ladies

This past month in New York City, political issues have surrounded the Painted Ladies of Times Square like googly-eyed tourists with cameras on selfie sticks. The uproar fittingly abides the municipal brouhaha over the last 100 years that has possessed the behavioral pressure cooker of Times Square. 'Twas ever thus.Read More ›

5 Ways to Research Your Italian Heritage Without Leaving Home

Over four million Italians entered the United States between 1880-1930. Are your ancestors among them? Get started now exploring your Italian roots.Read More ›

Sea Blazers and Early Scriveners: The First Guidebooks to New York City

The first guidebooks to New York City were written by the navigators, explorers, crewmen, trail-makers, and settlers who sailed west from Europe across the Atlantic Ocean in the 16th and 17th centuries. Read More ›

Occupying Ellis Island: Protests In the Years Between Immigration Station and National Park

Ellis Island is powerfully symbolic in American culture. For many it marks the beginning of their American identity. For Native Americans and African Americans, it became a powerful place to stage a protest in the 1970s.Read More ›

Independence Day Booths: Fourth of July Feasting in 19th Century New York

Ready for Fourth of July barbeques? Of course you’ll be having some pickled oysters, egg nog, and lobster, right? If you think these are some interesting cuisine choices for Independence Day festivities, 19th century New Yorkers would disagree.Read More ›

Names Have Meaning: A Research Guide for Baby Names and Family Names

Like any word in the dictionary, a person’s name has meaning. The study of names is called onomastics or onomatology. Onomastics covers the naming of all things, including place names (toponyms) and personal names (anthroponyms). Given names, often called first names, and surnames, often called last names, usually derive from words with distinct origins.Read More ›

Researching New York City Neighborhoods

Redefined by the city’s growth, changing populations, and the plans of real estate developers, New York City neighborhoods are ever-evolving entities. They can be researched through our collections—useful materials include neighborhood and borough-specific histories, NYC guidebooks, city agency reports, local newspapers, clippings, statistical data, and maps.Read More ›

Subway Construction: Then and Now

Recent photos, compared side by side with photographs of the construction of New York’s first subway, which opened in 1904, provide stark contrasts. They are evidence of an industry drastically changed: the methods of construction used, the condition and expressions of the workers, and the scale of the projects differ in striking ways.Read More ›

The Internet Loves Digital Collections: April 2015

What was the most viewed image on NYPL's Digital Collections platform in April 2015?Read More ›
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