Getting Started--New York and New England Genealogy

New Canaan (CT) Public Library

Fall genealogy series, 8 October 2016

Today I spoke at the New Canaan library, focusing on easily accessible, mostly online, sources for discovering details about your New York and New England ancestors. As different as these two regions are both in their history and record-keeping practices, it is important to consider them together because their borders have always been fluid, and most of us living in the northeast have ancestors in both areas.  As promised, here are some of the most useful websites we discussed today. – free to use at the New Canaan library.  Access your state’s collections through the card catalog rather than the main search engine. – Heritage Quest, Census records, Hartford Courant (1764-1922)

(Free to use for holders of CT public library cards)


New York Collections on

Highlights include:

·      New York, various county marriages, 1847-1848; 1908-1936 (indexed)

·      NYC birth, marriage, death indexes; 1890 police census

·      New York, county probate records (not indexed)

·      New York, county land records (not indexed)


Connecticut Collections on

Highlights include:

·      CT marriages, 1640-1939 (index)

·      CT, district court naturalizations (index only)


Massachusetts Collections on

Highlights include:

·      MA, town birth, marriage, death records (indexed)

·      MA state census, 1855, 1865 (indexed)

·      MA, county land records (not indexed)

·      MA, probate files for Plymouth and Worcester county (not indexed)


Vermont Collections on

Highlights include:

·      VT state vital records (indexed)

·      VT, town records (indexed)

·      VT, land records, 1850-1900 (not indexed)

·      VT, probate files for limited number of probate districts (not indexed)


New Hampshire Collections on

Highlights include:

·      NH, town birth, marriage, death records (indexed; limited years)

·      NH, some county naturalization records (not indexed)

·      NH, county probate files (not indexed)


Maine Collections on

Highlights include:

·      ME, county births, marriages, deaths (indexed)

·      ME, cemetery transcriptions (indexed)

·      ME, probate records for a limited number of counties (not indexed)

·      ME, land records for a limited number of counties (not indexed)

·      ME, some county naturalization records (not indexed)


Rhode Island Collections on

Highlights include:

·      RI state census 1885, 1905, 1915, 1925, 1935 (indexed)

·      RI town clerk records (limited coverage; indexed)

·      RI some county naturalization records (not indexed)



Congregational Church archives --


Digitized Books -- consolidated Library catalog


Genealogical Societies -- New England Historic Genealogical Society -- New York Genealogical and Biographical Society


Maps -- The interactive version of the Newberry Library’s atlas of historical county boundaries is currently unavailable, but you can download a .kmz file for your state to use with Google Earth or Google maps.

www.digitalcollections.nypl -- Search on keyword “maps,” also “New York City Directories,” etc.





State Archives -- Digital Collections

MA-- State Archives volumes (18) searchable index:

MA--Passenger Manifest indexes (1848-1891)

MA--vital records index search:

CT – colony of Connecticut public records

CT – State Library digital collections


Tombstones and Cemetery Research