Births + Marriages + Deaths = Family History
The equation above, however overly simplified, represents the foundation of a family history. In this blog post I want to introduce a few guidebooks and indexes in section 15 of our open shelves. Section 15 focuses specifically on vital records of New York City, mainly records produced by places of worship or notices from newspapers. Below are three items from this section:
To start, let’s revisit the Works Progress Administration’s Guide to Church Vital Statistics in the City of New York, which I mentioned in a blog post a couple of weeks ago. This guide outlines the places of worship, churches and synagogues, in the five boroughs and lists the types of records (baptisms, marriages and funerals) held in each. Though the guide was created in 1940, it can still be helpful for locating vital records especially where public records are not available.
For those of you interested in early New York City vital records, it helps if your ancestors were Methodist. In addition to the Methodist Episcopal Church records available in the Manuscripts Division, we also have New York City Methodist marriages: 1785-1893, which is composed of a bride index and a groom index. The indexes refer to other collections within the Family History Library which you can order for use in a Family History Center.
We also have the Index to Marriages and Deaths in the New York Herald from 1835-1876. This is a great resource to use if your ancestors’ marriages of deaths did not make the New York Times which started in 1851. Since the New York Herald is not digitized for this entire period, this index makes marriage and death announcements much more accessible. The index provides you with the date of the event and refers you to the date and issue of the newspaper.
If you’re working on family histories of ancestors from New York City these are just three of the many reasons for you to visit us.