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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS)

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City is known worldwide for its genealogical holdings. Millions of microfilm reels and books make up the FHL's extensive collection. Some of their holdings have been donated, while others are purchased. The church is independently microfilming records in 44 countries in what is known as the Controlled Extraction Program.

The Mormons believe that families can be united for eternity. To this end, the living are encouraged to actively pursue their family history to identify new ancestors. These ancestors can then be given temple blessings in the Mormon church, so long as the deceased accept it.

Pros: The FHL, while based in Salt Lake City, has regional centers throughout the world. Many of the records one seeks can be found here. The fees for microfilm loans and photocopies are minimal. The FHL has an online database where you can search their IGI. The IGI shows listings of births, deaths and marriages for specific time periods for most regions of the world. Access to this database is free.

Cons: Many people do not live by a regional FHL center and therefore cannot access the records. Also, the online database IGI also contains what is known as Patron Submissions. These should be treated with extreme caution.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

The National Archives is an independent federal agency, established in 1934, to oversee the management of all federal records. NARA consists of 33 facilities, including regional centers throughout the United States. Their holdings include 21.5 million cubic feet of text from the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government. The multimedia collection includes 300,000 microfilm rolls and over 5 million maps.

If you do not live near a regional center, it is possible to "borrow" the microfilm from NARA through two options:

1 - Microfilm Rental Program: For a small fee, NARA will send you a start-up kit that includes their full collection of census catalogs. From this, you will be able to order the microfilm. For full details on this program, please see NARA.

2 - Interlibrary Loan: NARA will allow microfilm to circulate to public libraries for a fee. Your local library will keep the microfilm for 30 days for your viewing. You are required to pay a per microfilm roll rental and shipping fees. For more information on this program, contact your local public library. NOTE: Census films do not circulate.

New York State Library (NYSL)

The New York State Library in Albany has an impressive genealogical collection. It includes vital records indexes, a surname card file to compiled genealogies, an extensive New York State DAR collection and local histories.

The NYSL will participate in the interlibrary loan system. Only certain items will circulate, such as microfilmed newspapers. Their genealogical holdings do not circulate and must be viewed on site at the library. To view the catalog of the NYSL genealogical holdings, please see NYSL. The library will not conduct searches for you. However, they will provide you with a list of volunteers to do this.

New York State Archives and Records Administration (SARA)

The State Archives is the official repository of original New York government records. Its holdings include vital records indexes, land grants and patents, maps, military records and state censuses.

The staff will do limited searching for a fee. Most of their holdings do not circulate. For more information, please see SARA.

New York Public Library (NYPL)

The New York Public Library and its branches hold 40,875,016 items; 13,274,403 of which are books. It consists of a research library that is useful to genealogists. However, nothing from the research library circulates. The library and its resources are open to anyone, irregardless to New York City residency

For more information on their extensive holdings, too numerous to list here, please see NYPL.

Municipal Archives of New York City

The five borough's main repository for genealogical records. Search forms can be downloaded online. Please see website for current fees.

Four million records from the Kings County Clerk's Office were turned over to St Francis College on permanent loan at the James A Kelly Institute for Historical Studies. The Institute closed down in 1988 and most to these records were transferred to the Municipal Archives.
Due to budget restrictions, the Archives have not cataloged or microfilmed these records. For a brief listing of some of these records, please see NYGBS.

The Library of Congress America's Library
Main Microform Reading Room
Thomas Jefferson Building, Room LJ 139B
Washington DC 20540-4660
The Library of Congress should not be overlooked while conducting genealogical research. It holds approximately 7 million pieces of microform, including city directories, newspapers, genealogies and foreign records. Their microform holdings do circulate. Be sure to read the interlibrary loan policies.

Brooklyn Public Library - Central Branch
Grand Army Plaza
Brooklyn NY 11238
The BPL has 13 departments and 3 million books, magazines and different kinds of media. The Brooklyn Collection, housed on the second floor, includes books, 35,000 photographs, newspapers, maps and 'the morgue.' 'The morgue' contains the newspaper files of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 152 different filing cabinets. The Eagle is also on microfilm in the Periodicals Room for the years 1841-1955 and 1960-1963. Items in the Brooklyn Collection do not circulate.
The website offers e-resources, an online database. Many of these databases require a BPL library card. Residents of New York State, outside of New York City, can obtain a library card without a fee but are required to renew it yearly. Residents outside New York State must pay a fifty-dollar fee for the card, as well as renewing yearly.
The website also offers an Ask A Librarian service, where librarians will answer brief questions by email.
The BPL has 60 locations throughout the borough of Brooklyn.

Queens Borough Public Library - Central Branch
89-11 Merrick Blvd
Jamaica, NY 11432
The Queens Public Library is the second largest library in the United States in terms of holdings. It consists of 62 branches. The Long Island Division holds all records documenting the history of four counties of Long Island: Queens, Kings, Nassau and Suffolk. It houses 32,000 books, newspapers and manuscripts along with over 100,000 photographs. The Division is known for its extensive collection of newspapers on microfilm. You can view their newspaper holdings on their website. Genealogical holdings include 1800-1850 and 1870 federal censuses, 1880 and 1900 census soundex, enumeration district maps for the 1910 & 1920 censuses, 1850-1880 mortality schedules, 1915 and 1925 state census for Queens County, city directories and passenger lists. The library also offers Infoline's Ask A Librarian, where librarians will answer brief reference questions by email. You must live, work, go to school or own property in New York State to be issued a library card.

Westchester County Archives
2199 Saw Mill River Road
Elmsford, NY 10523
Established in 1985 to preserve the records of the Westchester County government. Includes some records of the Bronx prior to its incorporation into the city of New York. Holdings include photos, wills, deeds and maps. The Archives also offers several online databases.


June 2001