Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation
This page has been archived. It is no longer updated.

Milstein Division FAQ

Can books and other materials be checked out from the Milstein Division?
The Milstein Division is part of the Research Libraries of The New York Public Library and all materials must be used on Library premises, except where otherwise stated.

Where can I obtain copies of New York City Birth, Death and Marriage records?
The Milstein Division has indexes to New York City Vital Records in the Milstein Microform Reading Room 119 , as follows:

  • Index to Births, 1888-1909
  • Index to Deaths, 1888-1948
  • Index to Marriages (Grooms), 1888-1937
  • Index to Marriages (Brides), 1869-1937

Depending on date, copies of the certificates are held by the New York City Municipal Archives or the Department of Health.

What are your U.S. Census holdings?

The U.S. Census of Population schedules, 1790-1940 are available to search onsite via subscription databases Ancestry Library Edition and Find My Past, and free online at FamilySearchThe Milstein Division also holds microfilm copies of the U.S. Census of Population schedules, 1790-1940 for selected states. Our holdings vary according to Census year but are complete for New York. 

Do you have copies of ships passenger lists?
Ancestry Library Edition holds ship passenger lists for the United States, 1820-1950s, and is available onsite in all branches of The New York Public Library. In addition, the Milstein Division has copies of passenger lists and indexes to the lists published in book form, as well as microfilm copies of lists and indexes in the National Archives. 

Is it possible to research an ancestor's U.S. military service in the Milstein Division?
The Milstein Division collects materials pertaining to all U.S. wars up through and including the Spanish-American War, and holds a number of indexes to veterans' records in print. Some service records pertaining to veterans of the Revolutionary War through the Spanish-American War may be found at Ancestry Library Edition and Fold3. Additionally, we have an extensive collection of unit or regimental histories from all branches of the armed services for this period. Materials on 20th century wars, including unit histories, can be found in the General Research Division.

Do you have city directories?
The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building has an extensive collection of U.S. city, telephone, business, and address directories in the Milstein Microforms . City directories may also be available online, via NYPL Digital Collections, or onsite through Ancestry Library Edition and Fold3.

Are any Milstein Division collections available online?
Although all of the books and most of the periodical collections of Milstein are now listed in the online catalog, you must come to the Library to read them. Older books may be avaialble online via Hathi Trust, the Internet Archive, or Google Books.

Can copies be made from Milstein Division books, periodicals, and microfilm?
Yes, depending on physical condition of the originals, and within fair use guidelines of the Copyright Act. A self-service photocopier and printers and digital printers for microform materials are available to researchers in Milstein. If the condition of the originals is fragile, other copying methods are available: scanning, microfilming, or custom photography: contact Copies and Reproductions for more information..

For those unable to visit the Library, can you supply the names of researchers for hire?
The Library has a fee based research and document delivery service, NYPL Research Services. The names of New York City based researchers can be found online. The Board for Certification of Genealogists maintains a roster of accredited genealogists as does the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Do you have photographs of New York City?
Many historical images of NYC from NYPL collections are available online - the Milstein Divisions extensive Photographic Views of New York City, 1870s-1970s for instance - via The New York Public Library's Digital Collections portal. 

Do you have resources for research on New York City buildings or neighborhoods?
The Milstein Division has an extensive collection of histories of New York City, its buildings and its neighborhoods. We also have clipping files on individual streets and neighborhoods, as well as scrapbooks, real estate brochures, city directories, and collections of photographs of individual buildings. The Milstein Division, along with the Art and Architecture Collection and the Map Division, is an excellent place to learn the history of your building and neighborhood. Please consult this guide for further information.

What genealogy databases are available at the Library?
Visitors to the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building have access onsite to an extensive array of databases that are of interest to genealogists and historians. We have subscriptions to Ancestry Library Edition, Fold3, Find My Past, HeritageQuest, and American  Ancestors among many others. In addition we provide access to digitized historical newspapers via ProQuest Historical Newspapers, America's Historial Newspapers, and many others.

How can I donate a genealogy or local history book to the library?
Donations of printed genealogies and local histories help to build our collections. Please send gift copies of your books to:

Milstein Division of U.S. History, Local History and Genealogy
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building - Room 121
The New York Public Library
Fifth Avenue & 42 Street
New York, NY 10018

We accept bound volumes and typescripts, but regret that we cannot accept CDs or other electronic formats.