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Emigrant City: A Collaborative Resource

Emigrant City, a project for transcribing 19th and early 20th century real estate records from the Emigrant Savings Bank, launched last November. As the Library’s newest participatory project, we were excited to share it and are even more excited about the support and contributions of the last four months. There have over 475,000 contributions by over 5,000 participants! Those are impressive numbers! A hearty thanks to all the remarkable participants collaborating on this project!

The work of accurately transcribing these historic mortgage records is broken into three tasks. With every box drawn in Mark, entry made in Transcribe, and vote cast in Verify, that contribution count grows and we rapidly approach the end goal of a complete, searchable index of names and mortgage details. 

Record Browse Screenshot

As of this week, contributors have identified some 9,370 records. It’s time to start sharing these records! We’ve built an interface for you to browse the records after searching names, addresses, and other fields. If you’re eager to find your great-great-uncle or the former owner of your apartment building, our Tips & Tricks page will get you started.

You can also download a bulk data set of all the project data in JSON format. Remember, with your help this resource is still growing! You can still contribute to the project by transcribing and verifying data. The browsable and downloadable records will be refreshed weekly with new contributions as we continue to complete the dataset.

This resource is only possible with your help. In addition to building the records available to browse, your contributions informed the design and format of these records and the project. Frequently asked questions, such as how to deal with multiple mortgage numbers on one record, have helped hone help text and clarify the process for the next volunteer. (If you do come across multiple mortgage numbers, mark them each individually!) If you’re interested to hear more about how the project was built, read Paul Beaudoin’s post on Scribe, the new framework powering Emigrant City.  Thanks again for lending and hand and working with us. We hope you enjoy perusing the records you’ve helped create.

Additional Resources

Emigrant City provides a resource for discovering individual records. The entire physical collection is accessible at the Library's Archives & Manuscripts portal, and digitized materials are available for exploration and download on our Digital Collections website (including the records indexed in Emigrant City.) The Library also provides on-site access to Ancestry Library Edition which includes digitized resources from the Deposit-Account Ledger, Index Book, Test Books, and Transfer, Signature, and Test Books of the New York Emigrant Savings Bank records from 1850-1883.


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.

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