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New York State Library Genealogy


New York State Library


Tracing Your Immigrant Ancestors

Getting Started | Naturalization Records | Passenger Lists | Alien Deposition Records |

There is a wide diversity of resources available for researching an immigrant. The following references are only some basic tools of research. Library call numbers have been included for your convenience.

Getting Started

"Tracking Immigrant Origins," in Arlene H. Eakle & Johni Cerny, The Source: a Guidebook of American Genealogy, Ancestry Publ., 1984, pp. 453-516. (R,929.1072073,qS724,84-35448)

Miller, Olga K. Migration, Emigration, Immigration Principally to the United States and in the United States. Two volumes. Everton Publ., 1981. (R,016.929373,qM649,79-23513) This bibliography lists many sources of information about immigrants. An excellent starting place.

Neagles, James C. and Lila Lee Neagles. Locating Your Immigrant Ancestor: A Guide to Naturalization Records. Rev. ed. Everton Publ., 1996. (R,929.1072073,N338,90-48898)

Ptak, Diane S. A Compilation of American and Canadian Passenger/Emigration Registers. D.S. Ptak, 1993. (R929.37,qP975,94-73731) Supplement, 1995. (R,929.37,qP975,94-73731,1993b)

Naturalization Records

Albany: The Albany Hall of Records holds Naturalizations and Declarations of Intentions for Albany County from 1821 to 1991 with indices (indices available online at The Hall of Records address is 95 Tivoli Street, Albany, NY 12207, (518) 436-3663. Search room hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Colonies: England and other countries naturalized individuals in the American colonies before 1775. "Naturalizations of Foreign Protestants in the American Colonies Pursuant to Statute 13 George II, c.7," edited by M.S. Gueseppe in Volume 24 of the Huguenot Society of London's [Publications] Quarto Series (J,284.5,qH892) Lists immigrants naturalized in the American colonies during the 1700s.

Scott, Kenneth. Denizations, Naturalizations and Oaths of Allegiance in Colonial New York. Genealogical Publ., 1975. (A,929.3747,S427,76-285) Denization is a British term referring to an alien admitted to residence and to certain rights of citizenship in a country.

New York City: Photographic copies of naturalization documents filed in Federal, State, and local courts located in New York City, 1792 to 1906, and a name index for this file are held by the National Archives and Records Administration, 201 Varick Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10014. Telephone: (212) 337-1300; E-Mail: G6

New York State Records: Naturalization records for the period dating from September 27, 1906 until April 1, 1956 may be requested from the Immigration & Naturalization Service. Requests should be submitted to the office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service nearest you. Call or write the office to obtain the proper form for your request.

Scott, Kenneth. Early New York Naturalizations: Abstracts of Naturalization Records from Federal, State, and local courts 1792-1840. Genealogical Publishing Co., 1981. (R,929.3747,S427,81-34067)

Other Places:
Filby, P. William, ed. Philadelphia Naturalization Records: an index. Gale Research, 1982. (R,929.373,qP544,83-25418)

Upstate New York: Naturalization records of upstate New York for the period before 1906 are usually found in local and state court records generally filed in the county clerk's office of the county where the proceedings occurred.

Passenger Lists:

Filby, P. William, ed. Passenger and Immigration Lists Bibliography, 1538-1900; a guide to published lists of arrivals in the United States and Canada. Gale Research, 2nd ed., 1988. (R,016.929373,qP287,82-20465)

Filby, P. William, with Mary K. Meyer, eds. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index. Three volumes and supplementary volumes. Gale Research, 1981. (R,929.373,qP2873,81-26439)

Glazier, Ira A. and P. W. Filby, eds. Germans to America: lists of passengers arriving at U.S. ports, 1850-1855. Scholarly Resources, 1988--. 48 vols. (R,929.308931,Ge7e,88-53316)

Glazier, Ira A. and P. W. Filby, eds. Italians to America: lists of passengers arriving at U.S. ports, 1880-1899. Scholarly Resources, 1992--. 4 vols. (R,929.308951,I88,93-2263)

Mitchell, Brian, comp. Irish Passenger Lists, 1847-1871: lists of passengers sailing from Londonderry to America on Ships of J. & J. Cook Line and the McCorkell Line. Genealogical Publishing Co., c1988. (R,929.109416,I68,88-43802)


National Archives and Record Service. Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, 1820-1846, 103 rolls of microfilm. (MA/FM,929.37471,I38,83-29199) Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, 1897-1902, 115 rolls of microfilm. (MA/FM,974.71,I38,88-59141) Microform Area.

Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index, 1820-1824. Accelerated Indexing Systems International. c1986. (R,929.373,qS193,87-060396)

Tepper, Michael. American Passenger Arrival Records: a guide to the records of immigrants arriving at American ports by sail and steam. Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988. (R,929.1072073)

The National Archives has some customs passenger lists for ports on the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico and a few inland ports; these lists date mostly from 1820-1945. For information you may write Reference Service Branch (NNIR), National Archives and Records Service, Washington, DC 20408.

Alien Deposition Records

New York State required aliens intending to buy property to file a deposition of the alien's intention to become a citizen. Those records containing useful genealogical information were transcribed by Kenneth Scott and published as New York Alien Residents, 1825-1848. Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978. (R,929.3747,S427,81-34236)




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New York State Library



Collection Scope

Onsite research

Related Pages: Genealogy Research Series | Other Genealogy Web Sites

We've provided descriptions of the New York State Library's genealogical resources for the convenience of researchers who are planning a trip to the Library. The Library's Web site cannot provide access to the records themselves because our genealogical records are not in an electronic format.


The Local History and Genealogy Section is one of the busiest sections of the New York State Library. It is used by people who are tracing the history of their families, as well as by professional genealogical researchers, biographers and historians who are seeking information about the collective history of families or the domestic life of a period in American history. We welcome onsite researchers to use our large collection of family genealogies, local histories, DAR records, church records, census records, early newspapers on film, city directories, and other materials.

In general, genealogical materials cannot be borrowed; they must be used on site at the Library during regular Library hours. For more information, see:

An Introduction to Genealogy at the State Library

Using the Library

Collection Scope

The Genealogy Area of the State Library contains an extensive collection of printed histories on individual families. The collection is national in scope, but with an emphasis on New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New England families. Reference works and guides to genealogical research in foreign countries are available, but separate family histories for families outside of the United States are not collected. The Library also has the FamilySearch CD-ROM series.

Excelsior, the Library's online catalog, provides access to information about the Library's collection through author, title, and subject searches. Also listed on Excelsior are records collected during the Historical Documents Inventory, a Statewide survey of manuscripts and archives collections in repositories that are open to the public. These collections are not held at the New York State Library; the catalog record for each item or collection will indicate the name and address of the repository where it is located.

See Surnames - A Pathfinder for information on searching Excelsior for family names.

See Local Histories for information about searching for histories of New York counties, cities and towns.

Card files, which are available on site at the Library, provide access to materials in the following collections:

surname records,

vital records,

city directories, and

the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) collection.

Some genealogical materials are also held by the New York State Archives, which is located in the same building as the State Library.

Onsite Research

See also: An Introduction to Genealogy at the State Library

Library staff members will provide on-site assistance in the use of the collection, suggest research strategies, and provide referrals to sources not available in the State Library. However, Library staff cannot conduct genealogical searches for you. For those who cannot visit the Library themselves and wish to engage the services of a professional genealogist, Board for Certification of Genealogists maintains a database of genealogists who are certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists and who reside in or have a "special interest" in New York.

(For more information on the Library's policy, see "Guidelines for Response to Genealogy-Related Letters".)

Volunteers: Both the State Library and the Library's users are fortunate that volunteers from the Capital District Genealogical Society are available for assistance. The volunteers are eager to explain the resources of the Library (including the online catalog) and to help users get started doing research. The volunteers use a desk located close to the service desk. Please feel free to consult with them as well as with the Reference Services staff at the Local History/Genealogy Service desk.

Genealogy Research Series: Library staff have prepared information sheets to guide you in your search and answer many of your questions. These sheets are available at no cost in a display rack in the Local History and Genealogy area. The Genealogy Research Series is also available online.

Photocopying: Because the handling involved in the act of photocopying can be hazardous to rare and fragile volumes, please do not photocopy any of the Local History/Genealogy material unless you have received specific approval from a library staff member. Many volumes have been microfilmed or microfiched, and the Library has an ongoing program to film more material. Please check with the staff before photocopying, and make copies from a microform version if one is available. Please join us in protecting the materials of the collection and ensuring that they remain in useable condition. See also Photocopying fees.

Microform Area: The Microform Area is located on the 7th Floor, adjacent to the Local History and Genealogy Area. Staff members at the Microform Desk are available to assist you, in person and over the telephone, in locating and retrieving materials from the microfilm and microfiche collections. The Microform Area is equipped with numerous microfilm readers, microfilm printers, microfiche readers, microfiche printers and micro-opaque readers for the public to use. The Microform Desk staff provides Library users with instruction in how to use this equipment to read and/or make copies from microforms. If you have questions about materials in the microform collection, you may call one of these desks:

the Microform Desk at (518) 474-3092,

the Local History/Genealogy Desk at (518) 474-5161, or

the Reference Desk at (518) 474-5355.




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