This page will provide you with information that will help you in your genealogy and ancestry research for the state of New York. It includes a timeline for the state, when the state began recording vital records, what US and State census records are available, a map of the counties in the state and link to page showing when counties were formed, and links to a variety of genealogy and ancestry resources for the state of New York.
1609 – Henry Hudson explores the Hudson River and claims the land for the Dutch.
1624 – The Dutch build Fort Orange which will become the city of Albany.
1625 – New Amsterdam is established. It will become New York City.
1664 – The British take over New Netherlands and rename it New York.
1754 – The French and Indian War begins. It will end in 1763 with the British winning.
1775 – Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys capture Fort Ticonderoga at the start of the American Revolution.
1776 – The British defeat the Americans at the Battle of Long Island and take over New York City.
1777 – The Americans defeat the British at the Battles of Saratoga. This is a turning point in the war in favor of the Americans.
1788 – New York becomes the 11th state to join the Union.
1797 – Albany is made the permanent state capital.
1825 – The Erie Canal opens connecting the Great Lakes to the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean.
1892 – Ellis Island opens as the central immigration center for the United States.
1929 – The New York Stock Exchange crashes signaling the start of the Great Depression.
2001 – The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center are destroyed by terrorists.
Not until the mid-nineteenth century was any attempt made by the state of New York to mandate the keeping of vital records. This makes the use of ‘substitutes,’ such as church, cemetery, census, and newspaper records, that much more important. A few vital records were entered into some early town records on Long Island and later in some towns along the eastern border, the latter evidently by New England settlers bringing with them a long-standing tradition of such practice. The mass migration into New York just after the Revolution, however, took place at a time when vital event recording slacked off greatly, even in New England.
Statewide Birth, Death and Marriage Records Begin: 1880.
Marriage – Earliest items that could be classified as vital records in New York were marriage licenses, issued from 1639 to 1783. See online book Names of Persons for Whom Marriage Licenses Were Issued by the Secretary of the Province of New York, Previous to 1784.)
See New York Vital Records, originally written by Roger D. Joslyn, CG, FUGA, FGBS, FASG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, for more details about when records began in New York.
Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org both have a variety of online collections. I have included links to many of them in the links section below.
Industrial and Agricultural Schedules
Union Veterans Schedules
Colonial and State
Census Every 10 years from 1825-1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, 1925 (pre 1825 and 1855 to 1905 were destroyed in 1911 state library fire except for fragments of the 1790 state census.)
Marriage Licenses Previous to 1784 in the province of New York – Book
New York State Department of Health
Albany County Records
Albany RDC Records
Records of the Reformed Dutch Church of Albany, New York, 1683-1809
Early New Netherlands
Huguenot Hist Society
Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness – New York
GenealogySpot – New York
GenealogyBuff.com – New York
Genealogy Toolbox – New York
NY Hist Soc
NYS Offline Resources
Northern NY Hist Newspapers
Northern NY Genealogy
Old Fulton Postcards
Olive Tree Genealogy NY
People of Colonial Albany
PCA Bio Index
Tri-Counties Gen Hist
Ulster County Families
Book: “History of New Paltz, New York and its old families (1678 to 1820) including the Huguenot pioneers and others who settled in New paltz previous to the revolution“. Online Full Text.
Datges and Events.org – New York
Ducksters – New York State History
A Timeline of New York City
Timelines of History
NY Hist Timeline
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