New York

New York Genealogy and Ancestry Resources

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.

New York State History Timeline

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.

New York Vital Records

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. and both have a variety of online collections. I have included links to many of them in the links section below.

New York Census Records


Population Schedules

  • Indexed: 1790, 1800, 1810 Cortland and part of Broome County – missing , 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860 Chenango and Columbia counties – damaged, 1870, 1880 Suffolk County and New York City Wards 21 and 22 – damaged, 1890 fragment – parts of Eastchester (Westchester County) and Brookhaven (Suffolk County) survived., 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.
  • Soundex: 1880, 1900, 1920

Industrial and Agricultural Schedules

  • 1820 (industrial only), 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880

Mortality Schedules

  • 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880

Union Veterans Schedules

  • 1890 (indexed)

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.)

Maps of New York Counties

New York Counties Map
New York Counties Map

New York Resource Links

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

NY GenWeb


Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness – New York

GenealogySpot – New York – New York

Genealogy Toolbox – New York

NY Hist Soc

NYS Archives

NYS Offline Resources

Northern NY Hist Newspapers

Northern NY Genealogy

Old Fulton Postcards

Olive Tree Genealogy NY

People of Colonial Albany

PCA Bio Index

Schenectady DHA

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.

New York History Timelines