New York Genealogy Statewide Conference Planned

logo1The Central New York Genealogical Society and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society are cosponsoring what they are calling &#8220the first-ever statewide genealogical conference in New York.&#8221

New York State poses numerous challenges for even the most experienced family history researcher.  The New York State Family History Conference is hoped to help break down research barriers and provide a forum that brings people together to share their research knowledge and problem-solving experiences and to collaborate on key research issues. Future conferences are expected to be scheduled at regular intervals. Read more

NY Genealogical and Biographical Elects New Fellows

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society announces the election of two leading New York genealogists as Fellows of the Genealogical and Biographical Society (FGBS), Suzanne McVetty and Meldon J. Wolfgang III.

The designation of Fellow of the Genealogical and Biographical Society, the oldest such designation in the genealogical field in the nation, is reserved for people who have contributed to New York genealogical research, writing, speaking, and advocacy at the highest level of proficiency. There are currently fourteen Fellows.

Suzanne McVetty, who became a Certified Genealogist in 1987, has been researching and writing family histories for over twenty-five years. She specializes in New York City and Long Island subjects. She also has experience searching for missing heirs in partnership with trusts and estates attorneys. She has written articles for leading genealogical publications, has written research guides for the New York Researcher and the Society’s website, and has spoken at many regional and national genealogical conferences. Her topics include Using Land Records in Genealogical Research, Using Probate Records in Genealogical Research- Bright Lights- Urban Research- and Vital Records: Building Blocks of Genealogical Research.

She has served as president of the Genealogical Speakers Guild, treasurer of the Association of Professional Genealogists, a volunteer at the National Archives Northeast Region, and for over twenty years was chairperson of the Nassau Genealogy Workshop. For 16 years she has served on the Education Committee of the NYG&B and regularly serves as an expert consultant at Society programs, including the biennial “Research in Albany” program.

Meldon J. Wolfgang III is a native of Albany, NY, and the founder-owner of Jonathan Sheppard Books. Mr. Wolfgang has been a genealogist since the 1960s and has a national reputation as a scholar and speaker on a wide range of genealogical topics. He has published articles on family history in national publications, and since 2005 he has written the genealogy column for New York Archives, the quarterly publication of the New York State Archives Partnership Trust. His wide-range of speaking topics includes Uncommon Research Tools- Deconstructing City Directories- Using Archival Collections in the 21st Century- Beyond the Basics for Using Newspapers in Genealogical Research- Prosopography, Cluster Studies, and Record Linkage Techniques- Tracing German Ancestors in Europe- Germans and German-Americans in 19th Century America- and Using Maps in Genealogical Research.

He served as Commissioner of Human Resources for the city of Albany, a member of the Albany Historic Sites Commission and a Trustee of the Albany County Historical Society. He also served as a trustee of the Albany Public Library, was president of the Upper Hudson Library System and was one of the original appointed trustees of the joint Albany City-County Archives.

Mr. Wolfgang received his undergraduate degree from McGill University in Montreal and completed further graduate study at Columbia University. He serves on the Education Committee of the NYG&B and on the Advisory Board of the New York Family History School.

NYGB Offers Cutting-Edge Genealogy Event

On Saturday, September 24th, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society will present Dick Eastman, Ruth A. Carr, and David Kleiman in a full-day program designed to enhance your online genealogical searches. The program will take place in the South Court Auditorium of the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York, NY.

Dick Eastman is the publisher of “Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter,” the daily genealogy technology newsletter with more than 60,000 readers worldwide. He will deliver two lectures: Genealogy Searches on Google: Extract the Most Genealogical Information Possible from Everyone’s Favorite Search Engine and The Latest Technology for Genealogists: An In-Depth Look at Today’s Technology.

Ruth A. Carr retired in 2008 as Chief of the Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy, New York Public Library where she worked for 20 years. She will present a talk on Other Places Your Ancestors Might Be Hiding: “Non-Genealogy” Databases and Internet Resources to Explore.

A genealogist and family historian for over 35 years, David Kleiman co-founded and chairs the New York Computers and Genealogy Special Interest Group and serves on the executive council of the Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc. and on the Education Committee of the NYG&B. He will deliver two lectures: Rediscovering the Globe: Maps Online, GIS, Google Earth and Technology & Design: Looking Good in Print and on the Screen.

The program begins at 9:30 a.m. at the NYPL’s South Court Auditorium and will end at 5:00 pm- there will be a break for lunch on-your-own. Registration for NYG&B members is $60, non-members is $90. Register online at For additional information, contact Lauren Maehrlein, Director of Education, at 212-755-8532, ext. 211, or by e-mailing [email protected].

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society has been a primary resource for research on New York families since 1869. The NYG&B seeks to advance genealogical scholarship and enhance the capabilities of both new and experienced researchers of family history through a rich schedule of programs, workshops, and repository tours- through its quarterly scholarly journal The NYG&B Record and its quarterly review The New York Researcher- and through an E-Library of unique digital material on its website

NY Genealogical & Biographical SocietyNew Digital Resources For Members

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) has announced that all issues of the NYG&B Record are now accessible online to the Society’s members. The entire run of the NYG&B Record comprises 563 issues at this writing and forms the largest single collection of published material on families that lived in New York State. The collection is every-word searchable and is accompanied by a new surname search engine based on an index to more than one million names from the pages of the Record. Originally created by Jean Worden, the search engine will simultaneously search every issue from 1870-2009 and will be updated every October when the year’s annual index is released.

Continuously published since 1870, the NYG&B Record is the second oldest genealogical journal in the country and one of the most distinguished. Published quarterly, it concentrates on people and places within New York City, State, and region and features compiled genealogies, solutions to problems, and unique source material.

Access to the digital version of the Record is available exclusively to NYG&B members through the Society’s growing E-Library of unique material on its website.

Other New Content: Expanding the digital content available to NYG&B members is one of the Society’s foremost goals. Book one of the 1855 New York State Census for Ward 17 of New York City, including an every name index was recently posted to the E-Library. Ward 17 was often the first home of new immigrants who arrived in the middle of the 19th century. The original census returns were damaged by fire and sat unused for many years. Thanks to an extraordinary effort by NYG&B volunteers and interns these records are now being made available. The remaining books will be posted once the indexing is complete. Also in progress is the posting of more than 500 biographical sketches of NYG&B members from the first half of the 20th century. Personally completed by each member as part of their application to the Society, these biographies contain exceptional firsthand narratives, family trees, and ephemera.

About the NYG&B: The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society has been a primary resource for research on New York families since 1869. The NYG&B seeks to advance genealogical scholarship and enhance the capabilities of both new and experienced researchers of family history through a rich schedule of programs, workshops, and repository tours- through its quarterly scholarly journal The NYG&B Record and its quarterly review The New York Researcher– and through an E-Library of unique digital material on its website

New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Gives Up Collection

Now that the news has trickled down that the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, popularly known as the &#8220G & B,&#8221 has given its enormous genealogical collection (75,000 volumes, 30,000 manuscripts and 22,000 reels of microfilm) to the New York Public Library &#8211 I thought we’d take a look at the fall out.

First a recap of the news from the New York Times:

Faced with a dwindling endowment, the members-only G & B, as it is known, sold its four-story building on East 58th Street in Midtown Manhattan last year for $24 million. It bought an office condominium in Midtown where it will now focus on grant-giving, tours, lectures and other means of encouraging genealogical research. One of the first grants was about $1 million to the library for a four-person staff to process and catalog the G & B collection within two years.

The heaviest criticism comes from members themselves. Dick Hillenbrand of the Upstate New York Genealogy Blog has been following the struggle inside the G & B for over a year. Members posting to the blog decried last year what they called a plan to &#8220disenfranchise all members of the NYG&BS and absolutely and forever empower a board of 15 to unilaterally make decisions about the NYG&B’s assets and future.&#8221 They were apparently right about that.

Hillibrand’s latest post laid out some of the opposition positions:

Looks like the present total membership of the G&B of 15 members, made an unrecoverable decision. If you are a former member and donated your time, money, effort, books and manuscripts to the G&B because you thought that they would be there forever, guess what? When you voted your rights away and became former members it was all over.

The statements that we were told about moving the society to new quarters to be able to keep the collection available to all former members, well would you consider those as untruths? . You will never be able to roam through the open stacks of your old friends. At the NYPL you must fill out a call slip of the book you want and wait for a runner to bring it to you. You will never again have the pleasure of finding the rarity treasure sitting on the shelf right near the item you were interested in.

The official blog of Genealogy Bank, took no position, but had this context to add:

The NYPL’s genealogy collection &#8211 more formally called: The Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy has long been known for its strong collection of research materials gathered for over a century &#8211 from the founding of the NYPL in 1848.

When I first began using the NYPL in the 1960s it was administered by Gerald D. McDonald who served from 1945-1969 and then by Gunther Pohl (1969-1985) and John Miller (1985-1987). The Division is currently under the capable leadership of Ruth Carr long serving Chief of that Division.

Randy Seaver, blogging at Genea-Musings said: &#8220I welcome this move since it brings records out of the &#8216-members only’ repository into a public repository. Of course, I wasn’t an NYG&BS member and I don’t have an emotional attachment to NYG&BS or NYPL.&#8221 He also called on the NYPL to:

1 &#8211 Put the NYG&BS catalog on their web site &#8211 either as part of the current NYPL catalog or as a separate catalog until the NYG&BS material can be integrated into the NYPL catalog. That way, researchers in the genealogy world can identify records of interest to be searched.

2 &#8211 Digitize as many unique records as possible and make them publicly available on a web site, subject to copyright restrictions.

3 &#8211 As NYPL catalogs and/or digitizes the NYG&BS collection, index the names in the manuscript and/or estate papers collections? The records that nobody knows what’s in them. If they can’t or won’t do that, would they please request volunteers to do it with them or for them?

Schelly Talalay Dardashti at Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog condensed the NY Times historical context:

G&B was founded in 1869 and moved into the recently sold building in 1929. Early members were interested in 17th-18th century Dutch and English roots. Holdings include censuses, deeds, baptisms, births, deaths and wills. However, after WWII, the group had almost disappeared with members conflicted about its direction, despite the increasing popularity of genealogy following the major impact of &#8220Roots,&#8221 Ellis Island’s restoration and database, and commercial websites devoted to family history.

Here is the press release from the NYPL.