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

New York Public Library Digitizes 137 Years of New York City Directories

New York Public Library is digitizing its collection of New York City Directories, 1786 through 1922/3, serving them free through the NYPL Digital Collections portal. The first batch—1849/50 through 1923—have already been scanned, and the 1786–1848/9 directories are right now being scanned. The whole collection will be going online over the coming months.Read More ›

Talking U.S.A. Death Records

A death record is a legal statement of fact that provides information for purposes other than the apparent fact that the subject individual is dead. Read More ›

The Last Nostrand Streetcar: Max Hubacher's New York Photography

A prolific amateur photographer and local historian, Hubacher documented New York City and its environs with a seemingly objective eye, the typed or handwritten captions on the verso of each photograph often markedly specific in terms of date and location.Read More ›

Genealogy Tips: Probate Records in New York

In New York City, there are three ways to get started researching probate records.Read More ›

Genealogy Tips: Searching the Census by Address

Ever wondered who lived in your home before you? Or having trouble finding great-grandparents in old census records? If you are so inclined, and want to search the census by address, to see who lived in your American house many moons ago, this post explains how you can do that. Even better, all the information is available online for free. You will need an address... Read More ›

Ports of Embarkation and Arrival: Brief Passages in U.S. Immigration History

Each Fourth of July finds more Americans kicking back under the fireworks to celebrate the birthday of the USA. In the years after the Revolutionary War, about five thousand immigrants arrived in the U.S. annually; in 2014, one million people obtained lawful permanent residency. Read More ›

The Writing on the Wall: Documenting Civil War History

As June turned into July in 1863, the residents of Vicksburg, Mississippi faced an increasingly dire summer. The city's newspaper, the Vicksburg Daily Citizen, was remarkable in that it both documented and physically represented the effects of the siege.Read More ›

Things to Do in New York City with Kids: Time Travel Edition

A look at forgotten pastimes as well as classic activities that children can enjoy today with guidebooks for families, past and present.Read More ›

Celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month 2016

Happy Immigrant Heritage Month! The Library is proud to be hosting a wide array of events throughout the month of June to celebrate. Read More ›

From Suburb to City and Back Again: A Brief History of the NYC Commuter

Facing more incoming commuters than any other county, Manhattan’s population nearly doubles each day. Learn about the history and rise of commuter culture in New York City.Read More ›

The Run for the Roses: An Exciting Two Minutes of Bluegrass Local History

The peak season of professional horse racing breaks from the gate this Saturday at 6:24PM, as 20 thoroughbreds contend nose-to-nose down to the wire for the 142nd Kentucky Derby, at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky. Read More ›

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 ›
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