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3 Reasons to Use Find My Past for Family History Research


Find My Past Logo

Find My Past is the newest addition to NYPL’s collection of genealogy databases. Available at all NYPL locations, this database holds many useful records for furthering your family history research. Here are three reasons to explore this database and continue your genealogical journey:

McCoy Sisters
"McCoy Sisters"Image ID: MOMA_0256V

1. UK and Ireland Records

In addition to holding United States records, Find My Past provides access to a trove of UK and Ireland genealogy collections.

Millions of English, Scottish, and Welsh records are accessible through Find My Past, some dating as far back as 1200. Collections include parish records, censuses, passenger lists, British Army service records, birth, marriage, and death records, and more.

Also search for Irish ancestors in the largest collection of online Irish records, many of which are only available on Find My Past. Vital records, court records, land records, and military records are just some of the collections available. For more on researching Irish ancestors at NYPL, see the class: Irish Genealogy: Resources and Research Methods.


Find My Past is the only place you will find the up-to-date PERSI (the PERiodical Source Index). With indexing for over 8,000 periodicals, PERSI is the largest and most widely used index to genealogy and local history magazines, newsletters, and journals—including many held at NYPL.

Genealogy periodicals are valuable (but often underused) resources. Find helpful information such as indexes and transcriptions of records, family histories, advanced research strategies, and beginner tips. Established and maintained by the Allen County Public Library, PERSI provides references to over 2.5 million articles—just search by family name and location.

The Periodical Source Index, Find My Past

While this index is useful in itself, PERSI now contains a growing number of digitized articles, providing instant access to genealogy and local history periodicals throughout the US and UK.

Learn more about NYPL’s collections of genealogy periodicals in the class: Genealogical Research with Newspapers and Periodicals.

Portrait of a Couple
"Portrait of a couple" Image ID: 3884220

3. New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Collections

Find My Past also provides access to a number of collections from the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B), an organization devoted to New York family history research.

Collections include The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 1870-present, family Bibles, church records surveys, and NYG&B member biographies. Also browse the NYG&B’s digital book collection for family genealogies, local histories, and transcribed and indexed records such as cemetery records, coroner reports, marriage records, estate and probate records, immigration and naturalization records, and more.

Donated in 2008, the complete NYG&B library is also available at NYPL.

Family Portrait
"Family portrait" Image ID: G91F004_001F

Discover more Find My Past collections through browsing the “A-Z of record sets” option under “Search.” Also find a variety of research guides under “Help,” and more genealogy articles via the Find My Past blog.

Keep in mind that newspaper collections are not included in library subscriptions.

Find My Past has replaced the former Origins database.


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