Genealogy Tip: Don’t Forget the Card Files!

Many novice family history researchers assume that everything they need is online. Unfortunately, we all eventually realize that this is not the case, and venturing into archives, libraries, and other repositories is necessary.

One resource that seemingly has moved entirely to the digital space are catalog listings – even if you have to find a source in person, at least you’re able to search online to find it and essential information about its location.

But even here, there are notable exceptions that you cannot afford to overlook – there are still many treasures that cannot be easily discovered without using “old fashioned” card catalogs. Our The Winter 2016 issue of The New York Researcher details numerous collections of card files found throughout New York State and New York City.

Read the latest issue of The New York Researcher online

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#GivingTuesday: Help Support New York Genealogy

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.

Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

On this Giving Tuesday, we ask you to consider choosing the NYG&B for your charitable donations.

Click here to donate

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Slideshow: Knickerbocker DAR Chapter and NYG&B Joint Luncheon

Earlier this month, the Knickerbocker Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution co-hosted a special luncheon with the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. The event took place at Sarabeth’s Park Avenue South.

Thelma Adams – author of the recently published Last Woman Standinga historical novel written from the perspective of Josephine Earp, a New York Jew who moved out west and married famed lawman Wyatt Earp – was the featured speaker at the event.

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“New York children will appear in fantastic garb. Will beg on the street. Pedestrians who do not give will be swatted with stockings full of flour and missiles of all kinds.”

So wrote the Logansport Reporter (including the bold headline) on November 25, 1908 – the day before Thanksgiving.

The article – understandably puzzling to the modern reader – is referring to an old New York City tradition that many have forgotten: Thanksgiving Masking, also known as “Ragamuffin Day.”

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New York City Marriage Licenses 1930–1949 now open for research at the NYC Municipal Archives

The New York City Municipal Archives (31 Chambers Street, Room 103) has received the 1930–1949 marriage licenses from the New York City Clerk’s Marriage Bureau. As of today, these important materials are available to the public in the reference room.

Previously researchers were required to request these records from the Marriage Bureau on Worth Street.

The marriage license records can contain a wealth of information as described by Leslie Corn in her article, “City Clerk’s Marriage Licenses, New York City, 1908–1937: One of 20th Century Genealogy’s Best Primary Sources.” NYG&B Newsletter (now New York Researcher), Spring 1999. Members can view an updated version (2003) published as a Research Aid article on the NYG&B website.

Can’t visit the New York City Municipal Archives in person? The NYG&B’s Mini-Search service can help! Discover how to access these records through the NYG&B Mini-Search.

Looking to learn more about the records at the New York City Municipal Archives? Check out the NYG&B’s latest research guide series, New York City Municipal Archives: An Authorized Guide for Family Historians.

Happy Researching!

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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