Sunset at Gowanus Bay

Sunset at Gowanus Bay
Sunset at Gowanus Bay, Henry Gritten, 1851

Thursday, July 5, 2012

AmericanAncestors.org

AmericanAncestors.org is the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Membership in the NEHGS is required for access to the full site. There are, however, some aspects of the site that are free, including some free databases.

Founded in 1845, the NEHGS was the first, and is the oldest, genealogical society to have been established in the U. S. Although for the majority of its existence the NEHGS was focused on genealogical research and preservation in New England, they have in recent years (especially since the advent of internet based genealogy research) expanded their reach to include areas outside of New England. The one region that has received the most attention is New York, and those of us who have research interests in the families of colonial New York, and New Netherland, are well served by some of the newest additions to the catalog of databases that the NEHGS offers to members via the website.

Some examples:

The two most recent database additions are Brooklyn Cemetery Inscriptions, 1707-1882, and Brooklyn Baptisms and Marriages in the Reformed Dutch Church, 1660-1719. Both of these databases were created from records published by the Kings County Genealogical Club between 1882 and 1898. While the preferred source for citing baptism and marriage records in the Brooklyn Dutch Church is A. P. G. Jos Van der Linde, Old First Dutch Reformed Church of Brooklyn, New York: First Book of Records, 1660-1752, New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983), this book can be difficult to locate and access, and the new online database offered by the NEHGS is searchable and available online from any computer with a membership.

Other databases that would be of interest to New York researchers are:

Abstracts of Wills, Administrations and Guardianships in NY State, 1787-1835
Pearson's First Settlers of Albany County from 1630 to 1800
Settlers of the Beekman Patent, vols. 1-7 (Dutchess County)
Death Notices from the New York Evening Post, 1801-1890
Deaths in the Christian Intelligencer (Reformed Dutch Church), 1830-1871
Dutchess County, NY Marriages, 1776-1805
Pearson's First Settlers of Schenectady, from 1662 to 1800
Marriage Notices from the New York Evening Post
Marriages in the Christian Intelligencer (Reformed Dutch Church), 1830-1871
New Netherland Connections (all 15 volumes, searchable and downloadable as PDFs)
New York Genealogical & Biographical Record (currently vols. 1-20, 1870-1889 are available and searchable with more to be added periodically).
New York Wills, 1626-1836
New York, NY: Parish Register of All Saints' Church, 1824-1862
Abstracts of New York County Wills, 1662-1801
Albany County Deeds, 1630-1894 (this is the index to the deed books)
Long Island Cemetery Inscriptions, 1652-1910
Onondaga County, NY Abstracts of Wills, 1796-1841
Onondaga County, NY Guardianship Records, 1815-1849
Otsego County, NY Newspaper Records
Records of Deaths and Marriages from the Albany Argus, 1826-1828
Rensselaer County, NY Death Records, 1847-1851
Syracuse, NY Marriages preformed by Rev. Ezekiel W. Mundy
Syracuse, NY Records of St. Paul's (P. E.) Church, 1830-1853
Thurman, NY Estate Assessment Rolls 1806-1809 & 1812
The Van Deursen Family

And also:

The American Genealogist (presently vols. 1-68 are available, features many articles on New Netherland and New York families)
Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine (presently vols. 1-25 available)
New England Historic and Genealogical Register (all volumes to date available) which periodically has articles focused on New York families and records

I suspect that much more will be added in the future and hopefully the NEHGS will expand its databases to include New Jersey as well. Compared to other websites which offer genealogy databases for a fee (such as Ancestry.com and the NYGBS website) access to AmericanAncestors.org through an annual membership is a terrific value. I recommend it to anyone with genealogical research interests in New York and New Netherland. It is the genealogical website that I often log into first when starting on a new research subject.

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