A Guide to New York Historical Resources

For inquisitive residents of any state, it is often interesting to gain a better understanding of the historical background of a state and its people. As the third most populous state in the nation, New York is most famous for the global hub of New York City, which is itself the most populated city in the US with 8.1 million residents. New York, like other large Northeastern states, has historically been a hot spot for employment, inspiration, change and growth. Skyscrapers create a distinctive skyline in the cities, while the rural areas of the state produce a large portion of the nation's agricultural products including apples, vegetables and dairy products. It is no wonder that the history, genealogy and cultural background of New York State are so interesting to so many people. Use the following resources to help you get a better grasp of this amazing Northeastern state, or to assist you in establishing your New York roots.

New York: A History

In terms of US States, there are very few with as rich of a history as New York. From the arrival of the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century to the ratification as a state in 1788, New York is a center point of US history. Watch videos, examine maps and scan over timelines using these online resources as you learn more about New York.

  • Official Tourism Organization of New York At I Love NY brush up on your history of New York with information provided prior to 1900.
  • Electronic Journal from University of Albany History Department Learn about the Civil War, the Normal School and the Albany Common Council in the American Revolution.
  • New York State from 1523 to 1927 Read a comprehensive history of New York State as written by former New York State Historian Dr. James Sullivan.
  • 86 Historical Societies Check with these New York State historical societies to learn about particular histories, such as of counties or ethnic groups.
  • Online Research Library Peruse the New York State Historical Association Research Library online to find information about New York State history and maps.
  • History Time Line Find a comprehensive time line of important events, dates and milestones of New York State by e-Reference Desk.
  • Timeline from 1754 to 1996 See a list of important events including openings of major buildings on this timeline.
  • Videos and Images of New York Go the History Channel to find a wealth of information about New York State including historical facts, landmarks, famous people, videos and images.
  • 103 Museums and Historic Sites Find a comprehensive list of the state's museums and historical sites as provided by New York History Net.
  • Historic Sites Locate historic sites throughout the state according to amenities or region to aid in in-person visits of architectural masterpieces, residences of founding fathers and important sites of Native Americans.

Genealogy Resources

As one of the nation's most populated states, there is overwhelming demand for genealogical resources in New York. Also, New York has historically been the central place for immigration thanks to Ellis Island, which has created a genealogical web that connects with citizens in every other state in the US. Use these resources to find death, birth and marriage certificates. Locate your ancestor's military records or census data, in addition to copies of historic newspapers and family histories.

  • Vital Records Resource At the New York State Department of Health find genealogy records including birth, marriage and death certificates.
  • 5 Research Databases for New Yorkers Go to the New York State Archives to discover several applicable databases including a Civil War database and ancestry of New York resource.
  • Family History Records Check with the New York State Archives for a variety of resources including the New York Archives Magazine.
  • Cemeteries and Census Records Access the New York Genealogy and History Resources to find information on cemetery records, census data and military records.
  • Historic Maps from 1526 to 1895 Thanks to Stony Brook University, you can view or download maps of historic New York State.
  • Historical Newspapers Scroll down to the New York section to find links to dozens of historical New York newspapers.
  • Genealogical Collections Search an online genealogy research catalog by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.

The Culture of New York

Culture involves everything from religion to social structure to style, and the culture of New York is certainly distinctive. Find out about families living in New York along with important individuals from the past using the following resources. Discover laws that are distinct to the state of New York. You can also check out artifacts and folklore from New York. Then read articles written about events related to the military in New York.

  • Family Resources Locate a variety of resources including online and print materials related to children and families in New York.
  • Library Research Go online to the New York Historical Society Museum and Library to find out about impressive individuals and fascinating facts.
  • Encyclopedia of New York Read through an encyclopedia of New York State that features selected entries including diners, Joe DiMaggio and Reader's Digest.
  • Military Resources At the New York State Military Museum, check out dozens of free articles related to the New York military throughout history that were published by college students and military personnel.
  • The Fine Arts Learn about the fine arts produced in New York via the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, which is considered one of the most extensive university museum collections in the nation.
  • New York State Government Learn about legislation and laws of New York State as provided by the New York State Assembly.
  • Artifacts, Paintings and Furniture Take an online tour of the latest exhibitions at the New York State Museum.
  • Folklore and Folk Music Discover the early sounds and stories of New Yorkers thanks to Voices on the Radio and Voices in Print, both accessible online.
  • Urban Folklore Learn more about the constant changes of New York's urban centers, as well as the preservation of landmarks and historical locations.