Monthly Archives: October 2016

Unnatural Death in New York City: Coroner’s Reports & Proceedings

Evidence of an ancestor’s death can be located in numerous types of genealogical sources – newspaper obituaries, municipal or religious death records, tombstones and more. One overlooked source – which will be an absolute goldmine if your ancestor turns up here – are Coroner’s records.

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society holds several works in our eLibrary that capture years worth of mysterious, suspicious or otherwise unnatural deaths that were investigated by the Coroner’s Office.

For family historians, these records can solve (or create) family mysteries that will remain share-worthy stories for years. For general students of history, these documents help shed light on the dangers eighteenth and nineteenth century New Yorkers faced on a daily basis.

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Sign outside of Tombstone, Arizona

From Brooklyn to the O.K. Corral: The Gripping Tale of Josephine Marcus Earp

Did you know that Wyatt Earp married a New Yorker?

Josephine Marcus is the heroine of her own Wild West tale, which is every bit as exciting as that of her husband. Born in Brooklyn to a Jewish immigrant family, she experienced the California Gold Rush, ran away from home at a young age, and became a major player in the historic Western city of Tombstone, Arizona.

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Digitizing Dutch Records at the New York State Archives

This blog post is based on an article by James D. Folts, PhD, FGBS and Monica Gray, entitled “Dutch Records at the New York State Archives and the Current Digitization Project” in the most recent issue of the New York Researcher. Members can read the full article online or in the Fall 2016 issue, which is in the mail. 

For much of its history, New York’s Dutch roots were glossed over by scholars, who focused instead on the English colonization of early America. However, beginning in the latter half of the 20th Century, scholarship on New Netherland began to increase substantially, thanks in large part to the Dutch records held in the New York State Archives.

Now, access to these remarkably complete and deep historical documents is set to increase, as expert scholarship and digital technology are coming together to put more of these Dutch records online in multiple formats.

Today, we take a look at exactly what these records contain; why they are so significant; and some tips to get the most out of them.

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Who did your ancestors vote for? Joshua Taylor can help you find out

Discovering the political leanings of your ancestors can help color their stories, and can lead you on a fascinating journey through this important historical aspect of American culture.

D. Joshua Taylor, President of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society and co-host of the Genealogy Roadshow, will teach us how to explore the politics of our ancestors on October 12 at the New York Public Library. This worthwhile pursuit is often overlooked by genealogists due to the types of records used for investigation, which aren’t always found in standard genealogical repositories.

We recently spoke with Josh to ask him a few questions about the upcoming talk. His answers are italicized below:

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The Forgotten Impact of Henry Alsberg

Sometimes the most interesting characters of history slip through the cracks.

Such is certainly the case with Henry Alsberg – this native New Yorker faced immeasurable dangers as a war-time foreign correspondent; advocated for the release of international political prisoners; organized aid for Jewish refugees and pogrom survivors in Eastern Europe; and led the Federal Writers’ Project of the WPA, whose legacy has benefited generations of genealogists.

Until recently, no one source told the gripping tale of Alsberg’s life from start to finish.

Thankfully, Susan Rubenstein DeMasi took on the challenging task of sharing his story with us all. She’ll be giving a book talk on her recently published work, Henry Alsberg: Driving Force of the New Deal Federal Writers’ Project on October 19th at the NYG&B.

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