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Researching the Bronx

Panorama of the Borough of the Bronx issued by the Bronx Home News. Image ID: 5082781

At the Bronx Library Center we frequently receive calls from all over the country from folks who had their origins in the Bronx and are looking to research their family history, find a news article, an obituary, a high school yearbook or general historical information about the Bronx. We also receive a lot of in-person queries from students writing papers on various current socioeconomic, health, environmental, and other aspects of the Bronx. In this post, I have put together a small list of online resources available through The New York Public Library where one can find information to answer some of the more popular questions asked. To access some of these resources outside the library, you will be asked to enter the barcode of your New York Public Library card. Find out how to obtain a card if you do not have one.

Demographic data on the Bronx: age, race, income, education

American FactFinder
A searchable collection of data collected by the United States Census Bureau. Type "Bronx" into the search box and you will be able to browse general population data based on the 2010 census—age, race, income, education and more. This database is also searchable by zip code, town and city.

Bookmobile, Bronx, 1950s. Image ID: ps_mss_cd7_95

Scholarly articles on the Bronx

Academic Search Premier
A multi-disciplinary database of more than 4,600 magazines and journals, including full text for nearly 3,900 peer-reviewed titles. In addition to the full-text, this database offers indexing and abstracts for 8,470 journals.

A searchable, digitized archive—from the first date of publication to the last three to five years—of major scholarly journals in many academic fields. (Can be accessed at any NYPL Library location)

Birth, marriage or death certificates from the Bronx

Center for Disease Control/Where to write for vital records
Provides addresses of where to write and the fees to get birth, marriage and death certificates.

Bronx Historic newspapers

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers This database has a wide variety of newspapers from across the USA from 1690 - present. Click on the "US Newspaper Directory, 1690 - Present" tab on the right. Select "New York" in the state field and "Bronx" in the county field. Click "search". Your results list will have 70 items. Click on each one to see publication data. Go further down to the end of the entry and click on "View complete holdings information" to see which institution has the publication and the format.

For obituaries, advertisements and historical news, see also:

Ads from the Bronx 1940 Telephone Directory

Look back at the way things were: browse the 1940 telephone directory for the Bronx

Note: you won't be able to dial the numbers now, as they were 5 digits then.

DirectMe NYC 1940
An experimental NYPL website features digitized 1940 telephone directories for New York City, which, combined with powerful search tools enable patrons to convert residential street addresses into census enumeration districts (ED), which leads to the 1940 Census records via the National Archives. Select the "Bronx" to see Bronx telephone listings.

Find historic images from the Bronx

Just type "Bronx" in the search box, press enter, and browse a variety of old images from the Bronx including maps.

Gasoline station, Tremont Avenue and Dock Street, Bronx. Image ID: 482811

Books and other materials on the Bronx

The New York Public Library Catalog
Type "Bronx" in the search box and press enter and you will be able to browse over 2,700 records of items (books, journals, etc) available in the New York Public Library system. Some items are for in library use only, while others can be checked out with a library card.

Journals and periodicals from the Bronx

Ulrich's Periodicals Directory
This database has listings of over 300,000 periodicals from around the world. Type "Bronx" into the search box and press enter to see a list of periodicals from the Bronx and their publication status. Please note some contemporary newspapers are not listed.

Some of the titles are available in the New York Public Library. Search the catalog by title to see location of available issues. The Bronx County Historical Society Journal (2007 - present) can be found on the E-journal portal.

Authors, literary organizations, and libraries in the Bronx

The New York State Literary Website
On the top, right click on "NYC Literary Map", then "Bronx County" on the pop-up map. You will be able to access a list of authors who lived in the Bronx. Click on each name to get biographical as well as other general information.

Yearbooks and other school publications from the Bronx

A few can be found by searching by title of the publication or the name of the school in the New York Public Library Catalog. If the title you're looking for is not available in NYPL, try the New York City Municipal Library.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. To access the full robust list of over 700 databases available at the New York Public Library visit our databases page.


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.


Great insight - thank you.

5 digit phone numbers

They really were 7 digit numbers not 5. The exchange was the first two letters of the location JE-rome, TR-emont or 53 and 87 respectively.

Telephone Numbers

You're numbers had 2 letters + 5 numbers. You could tell where someone lived by their telephone exchange. The most famous of these old exchanges - BUtterfield 8. Title of the movie starring Liz Taylor.

Bronx Research

The Bronx County Historical Society is another good resource. Here is the link to their website:

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