From Our eLibrary: New York Genealogical & Biographical Society Member Biographies

IMG_8557Early in the twentieth century, NYG&B members were asked to complete a four-page, ledger-sized questionnaire regarding the member’s life and family. The stated purpose for the requested information was “the preparation of the Biographical Sketches of Members of the Society.”

Members were asked to provide “full and specific” replies and to use extra pages to complete the information when necessary.  This member requirement was relatively short-lived, from the 1890s until the 1940s. However, those 545 NYG&B members who dutifully filled out and sent back the forms, often accompanied by family trees, press clippings and other ephemera, gave the Society a wonderful resource regarding their personal family histories.

Search Tips:

Many of the questionnaires were completed by hand, and are unable to be machine read. However, NYG&B members have access to an index completed by some of our wonderful member volunteers. It is by far the best way to search for names in the biographies, especially handwritten names.

If you use the search options available at Findmypast, a FULL TEXT SEARCH will yield the best search results. Even for names, a FULL TEXT SEARCH should be utilized, as a “name” search may not find names which are broken up between one line of text and the next, or one page and the next. However, be warned that the search features will not work with handwritten information, which is the majority of the collection.

Click here to browse the collection in our eLibrary at Findmypast.


One thought on “From Our eLibrary: New York Genealogical & Biographical Society Member Biographies

  1. Sam

    Hello. I read through a list of the names of people who filled out these questionnaires. I noticed that three people with my last name we’re on that list. Many descendants of my family settled in early New York after the French and Indian wars. It seems likely that these are some of my ancestors. I went online and looked up those who were buried in Hebron from that time. This looks like a very good lead. Now I just have to get access to these papers so I can compare it to the family genealogy book. Many thanks for the great lead


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