Genealogy Blog & Resources

  • Italian Genealogy

    Posted on: May 28, 2024

    I was asked recently to recommend some websites helpful in researching Italian ancestors. Here are some suggestions to help researchers get started.

    These Wiki pages can help you get started. The Wiki sites provide information on Italian research in general and also includes links to online records.

    Italy online genealogy records

    Italy Record Finder

    Portal Antenati has an extensive collection of civil registry books from various regions of Italy. The records are free and open to all.

    Portale Antenati

    The Italian Genealogical Group, a long Island based organization, has on its website databases and information helpful in finding information on an immigrant ancestor.

    Italian Genealogical Group

  • Irish Genealogical Resources

    Posted on: March 17, 2024

    It's St. Patrick's Day and what better way to celebrate the day than researching your Irish heritage? If you know what county in Ireland your relatives were from and you have enough information to identify them in records, here are some websites that might interest you:, , (for Northern Irish records).

  • 1931 Census of Canada Index

    Posted on: January 23, 2024 has recently announced that they have completed their indexing project of the 1931 Census of Canada. An index to the census, which was released in June, has been available on, but the provides free at home access.

  • Old Fulton NY Post Cards

    Posted on: November 8, 2023

    The Old Fulton NY Post Cards Facebook announced today that 2,000,000 more old newspaper pages have been uploaded to the website. If you haven't searched it recently, now might be a good time to check it out again.

  • Genealogy for Beginners

    Posted on: September 20, 2023

    Here are some useful links in getting started in researching your family

    FamilySearch Research Wiki

    Midwest Genealogy Center Family History Forms

    FamilySearch: Evaluate the Evidence

  • The Connecticut Genealogy Index

    Posted on: August 31, 2023

    If you are searching for information on an ancestor who was born, married, or died in Connecticut, you should check out the new website title The Connecticut Genealogy Index ( Reclaim the Records launched the free searchable database of modern vital records that were filed with the Connecticut Department of Health. The site does not provide the vital certificates, but it can help confirm dates. Information on how to order records is provided on the website.

  • Historical Queens and Bronx Naturalization Records Online

    Posted on: August 14, 2023

    If you had an immigrant ancestor who may have been naturalized in Queens or the Bronx, this news will interest you. A recently launched website "Naturalization Records From Queens & The Bronx"( gives public access to around 400,000 naturalization records signed in the courts of Queens and the Bronx between 1794 and 1952. The project was made possible through a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, an affiliate of the National Archives and Records Administration. The records are free and open for all to view on the website

  • Long Island University, “Digitizing Local History Sources”

    Posted on: July 27, 2023

    Through a grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation the Palmer School of Library and Information Science at Long Island University is digitizing local history materials in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The initial $1.5 million in grants awarded in 2016 and 2017 provides fellowships for master’s and doctoral students to assist with the project. In December 2022, the Robert David Lion Gardiner established an additional $1 million endowment for “Digitizing Local History Sources.” There are currently 46 Long Island historical organizations whose records have been or are currently being digitized and added to the online records archive. You can view the collection and learn more about the project by going to the website

  • 1931 Canadian Census

    Posted on: June 15, 2023

    The 1931 Canadian Census was released this month (June 1, 2023), 92 years after the data was collected. You can search and view the 1931 census (and other years) for free when using the Canadian government's Library and Archives website at

  • Catalog Surprises and a Lesson Learned

    Posted on: May 2, 2023

    Like many of you, I search the catalogs of and looking for records of the places my ancestors lived. For example, a branch of my family hailed from Troy, New York. I have, over the years, picked through all the records for Troy in the catalog that I thought might include useful information for my research. Somewhere along the line I came across a series of five digitized microfilms titled “Burial Records, 1833-1928, of Mt. Ida Cemetery..” I never bothered looking at these, because I knew no one in my family was buried at Mount Ida Cemetery, so why bother? However, when I discovered that an indirect relative was buried there, I was curious and took a look at the online records. To my amazement I discovered that the collection was not just a burial listing for the one cemetery, as the title implied, but rather a collection of civil death records for the city of Troy, no matter what cemetery a person was buried in. The records contain the death date, address, cause of death, place of birth, age, parents and place of burial for the deceased individuals. Many of my ancestors not buried in Mount Ida are listed, and most of these relatives’ deaths predate the main New York State vital death records beginning in 1880. The "Burial Records, 1833-1928, of Mt. Ida Cemetery” on, which I discounted for years and never looked at, turned out to be most valuable in researching my Troy relatives. The lesson in this is to be careful about relying the description of a catalog entry, because it just might not be giving you the full story on a collection.

  • Links

    Posted on: March 15, 2023 (a genealogical website owned and maintained The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is well-known for its genealogical records, however it also offers other helpful less-known services. Here are the links to services mentioned in the talk given at our library.

    FamilySearch Library Record Lookup Service

    List of Online Classes in the Learning Center

    Online Genealogy Consultations

    FamilySearch Community
    “Where you can find your answers from others who may know.”

  • RootsTech 2023

    Posted on: January 31, 2023

    This year RootsTech will be an in-person and virtual event scheduled for March 2-4. The in-person event will be held in Salt Lake City and the ticket fee is $98. However, you can avoid the conference fee and travel costs to Salt Lake City by registering for the free virtual lectures and events to watch in the comfort of your own home. To register go to the website

  • A History of New Year Eve Celebrations in New York City

    Posted on: December 19, 2022

    As the holidays approach, I wondered how my New York City ancestors may have rung in the New Year.
    To find out I turned to old newspaper articles and books from the time period to get a glimpse into what
    New Year’s Eve activities went on in New York City before the 20th Century.

    I found out that the tradition of congregating in Times Square and watching the ball drop is a relatively
    recent development, at least in my eyes, beginning on December 31, 1907. Before then people
    gathered at Trinity Church (Wall Street) to hear singing societies and groups perform popular airs and
    the church bells ringing in the New Year. Descriptions of the New Year Eve’s gatherings at Trinity Church
    can be found in the New York Times articles ( and at
    Google Books ( Another source, the “Living Church”
    (Volume 17, 1894, found in Google Books), states that on New Year’s Eve the whole lower part of
    Broadway and the streets near Trinity Church were packed with an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people.
    At 11:30 pm, the church bell ringer, began the countdown by ringing changes on nine bells. At the last
    chime, “bedlam broke loose”, with the blowing of thousands of horns simultaneously by the gathers.
    Singing of popular, traditional tunes followed, until half an hour of the New Year had passed, wrapping
    up with “Home, Sweet Home.”

    Why the change of venue for the New Year’s celebration? A January 5, 1908, New York Times article
    explains the move from lower Broadway to Times Square as a result of the city progressing northward
    and the “Great White Way” becoming more of a factor in the city’s life, with it being “natural that the
    merrymakers should seek to be nearer to the centre of things.” The journalist also explained that there
    was a desire to desert the old graveyards (referring to Trinity Church’s cemetery) and “fly to where the
    lights were brightest.”

    Of course it is impossible to know for sure where our own individual ancestors gathered for New Year’s
    Eve, but I do like to imagine them attending the celebrations at Broadway and Trinity Church, with a
    very traditional, old-fashioned sense of good cheer. I wish you all the best of health in the New Year, as
    well as much happiness and major breakthroughs in your genealogy.

  • Some Resources for Researching Your House

    Posted on: September 23, 2022

    Here are just some historic resources that might be helpful in researching a house or
    property on Long Island.

    Beginning Research in United States Land Records
    ords is a free genealogical website that can provide you with research tips
    and records. This research wiki is recommended to help you better understand what
    records are available.

    Deeds and index, 1660-1926 (Suffolk County, New York)

    These are digital images of the indexes (1660-1926) and deeds of Suffolk County.
    However, in order to view the records you must register for a free account.

    New York Public Library Digital Collections
    Some of the historic maps of Long Island on this free website provide the names of
    house or property owners.

    Town of Islip Historic Building-Structure Inventory
    The Building-Structure Inventory project began around 1972, although many of the
    inventories in this collection were done in the 1980s, when Long Island historical
    societies were asked by the State Division of Historic Preservation to modernize their
    definition of "historical."

  • Accessing Some New York State Records for Free on

    Posted on: September 20, 2022

    Did you know that some New York records are available for free? Several New York repositories have formed a partnership with to digitize records. These records are accessible for free to those who reside in New York State. However, to access these records you must create a free account at

    Here are some the digitized and indexed New York records are available free to New Yorkers via

    New York, Pension Claims by Disabled Revolutionary War Veterans, 1779-1789

    New York Sales of Loyalist Lands, 1762-1830

    New York, War of 1812 Payroll Abstracts for New York State Militia, 1812-1815

    New York, Town [and City] Clerks' Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War, 1861-1865

    New York, Registers of Officers and Enlisted Men Mustered into Federal Service, 1861-1865

    New York, Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts, 1861-1900

    New York, Grand Army of the Republic Records, 1866-1931

    New York, Veterans' Home [at Oxford] Resident Case Files, 1897-1963

    New York, [Abstracts of] Spanish-American War Military and Naval Service Records, 1898-1902

    New York, [Abstracts of] Mexican Punitive Campaign National Guard Muster Rolls, 1916-1917

    New York, Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917-1919

    New York, Abstracts of National Guard Service in World War I, 1917-1919

    New York, World War I Veterans' Service Data, 1913-1919

    New York, New York National Guard Service Cards, 1917-1954

    New York, New York Guard Service Cards, 1906-1918, 1940-1948

    New York, Alien Depositions of Intent to Become U.S. Citizens, 1825-1871

    New York, Census of Inmates in [City] Almshouses and [County] Poorhouses, 1830-1920

    New York, Prisoners Received at Newgate State Prison, 1797-1810

    New York, Discharges of Convicts, 1882-1915 [only discharges by commutation of sentences]

    New York County, New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1658-1880

    New York, Estate Inventories and Accounts, 1666-1822

    New York, Executive Orders for Commutations, Pardons, Restorations, and Respites, 1845-1931

    New York, Governor's Registers of Commitments to Prisons, 1842-1908

    New York, Clinton Prison Admission Ledgers, 1851-1866, 1926-1939

    New York, Sing Sing Prison Admission Registers, 1865-1939

    New York, [Chancery Court and Supreme Court] Naturalization Papers, 1799-1847

    New York, State Census, 1915

    New York, State Census, 1925

    New York, Tax Assessment Rolls of Real and Personal Estates, 1799-1804

    From the New York State Library (Albany):

    U.S. Census Mortality Schedules, New York, 1850-1880

    U.S. Census Non-Population Schedules, New York, 1850-1880 [agriculture and industry schedules]

    U.S. Federal Census - 1880 Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes

    From the New York Military Museum (Saratoga Springs):

    New York, [Civil War soldier] Cartes-de-visite, 1860-1865

    New York, Military Service Cards, 1816-1979 [NYS Militia and National Guard officers only]

    New York, Veteran Burial Cards, 1861-1898

    New York, U.S. National Guard Enlistment Cards, 1923-1947

    New York, National Guard Monthly Roster, 1940-1945

    New York, Record of Award Medal, 1920-1991

    New York, WWII Enlisted Men Cards, 1940-1945

    From other agencies:

  • Family History Library Webinars

    Posted on: August 17, 2022

    The Family History Library is continuing their free webinars. These instructional online lectures are given by experts. To view the September calendar (which also has the registration links) click on the below link or copy and paste to your browser:

  • Free Access to British and Irish Historical Newspapers at FindMyPast until June 6, 2022

    Posted on: June 1, 2022

    In celebration of the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, FindMyPast is making its entire newspaper collection completely free until Monday, June 6. The newspapers in the collection date back to the 1700s and up to the 2000s, although the majority are from the 19th century. You are also able to download or print the articles. To search the papers go to the website

  • New York City Vital Records Available for Viewing

    Posted on: March 18, 2022

    Because New York City has uploaded millions of birth, marriage, and death certificates on to their website, you will no longer need to go to a LDS family history center or the Municipal Archives to view the records. The new online NYC collection is also free and does not require registration. The project is reported to be 70% completed with more records expected to be added in the future. To search and view the records go to

  • National Archives 1950 Census Webinars

    Posted on: February 28, 2022

    The National Archives is offering a special genealogy series focused on the 1950 Census. The seven part series will begin on Wednesday, March 2 at 1:00 pm with an overview of the 1950 census and will continue into May covering various 1950 census topics. Anyone can participate in these free meetings. To view a calendar of the webinars and instruction on how to join them go to

  • The Nineteenth Century German-American Immigrant: Finding Their Hometown in Germany

    Posted on: February 28, 2022

    Because a few people asked for the website links mentioned in the last genealogy lecture, I am posting my notes which include the links. NEWSPAPERS “Old Fulton NY Postcards” Website: GERMAN GENEALOGY GROUP Helpful online tools and services Website: GERMAN GAZETTEER Meyers Orts-und Verkehrslexikon Website: ONLINE GERMAN TELEPHONE DIRECTORY Http:// GERMAN VITAL RECORDS (some) are available on the following websites (French records that include Alsace and Lorraine). (Subscription site) German Church Records (online databases—not indexed). (German Catholic church books) free, but a work in progress.

  • Family History Library ( Webinars

    Posted on: January 14, 2022

    The Family History Library ( is continuing their free webinars into 2022. A list of the upcoming presentations are available on the website

  • Ancestry Library Edition - Temporary Remote Access for Public Libraries is Ending

    Posted on: December 30, 2021 has released the following statement: “After nearly 2 years of temporary remote access, Ancestry has made the difficult decision to end it. Remote access for Ancestry Library Edition will no longer be available after December 31, 2021.” The good news is that you will still be able to access records for free when using a library computer or your own laptop connected to the library’s free WiFi.

  • New Jersey Geographic Birth Index, 1901-1929

    Posted on: December 2, 2021

    Reclaim the Records announced yesterday that they have obtained the New Jersey Geographic Birth Index, 1901-1929 and have uploaded it onto The images of this New Jersey Geographic Birth Indexes, now on, were scanned from microfilms, and they are expected in the future to appear on other websites, such as, where they presumably will be made into a text-searchable database. To find out more about the New Jersey Geographic Birth Index and other Reclaim the Records projects go to

  • Plainview Family History Center

    Posted on: November 29, 2021

    The following is an update on the Plainview Family History Center that was emailed to me a few days ago. "The Plainview Family History Center will be Reopening on Tuesday November 30th! Masks ARE required and there will be limits on the number of persons allowed in the library at one time. Other rooms MAY be available for use utilizing your own personal device with access to the FamilySearch WiFi. There are new changes to access to some of the records we most oftenly search including New York City Vital Records held by the Municipal Archives. Access is only available through a Family History Center Computer. There will be time limits for Center computers if other Patrons are waiting. Bring your own personal computing device and a storage device such as a flashdrive. The center is staffed by Volunteers and subject to closure due to inclement weather and church activities. Please check the website or call the Center for updates. We ask for everyone's patience while we re-open and adjust to new records access limits. Updates will be posted on the Plainview Family History Center's website (Bookmark this Page) and on the website:"

  • 1921 Census for England and Wales

    Posted on: October 29, 2021

    The National Archives of the United Kingdom announced a few days ago that the 1921 Census for England and Wales will be published online by Findmypast on 6 January 2022. A team of Findmypast conservators, technicians, and transcribers worked for almost three years to complete the task of getting the census ready. You can find out more about what to expect from the 1921 Census of England and Wales by visiting The Connetquot Public Library subscribes to Findmypast, and you can access their records for free by using our computers or logging onto our Wi-Fi.

  • Family History Center Chrome Browser Extension

    Posted on: September 13, 2021

    Although the family history center I usually go to (in Plainview) is still closed, I am getting ready for the day it reopens. Part of this has to do with changes in the way one can access some of the restricted image sets on FamilySearch that are limited to access through the FHC. Apparently security changes now require that anyone wishing to use their personal computer on a FHC Wi-Fi for that purpose will have to use a certain browser extension, which I have now installed. A link to a discussion about this can be found below: The Family History Center Premium Content extension for the Chrome browser on MS Windows essentially checks whether or not one is connected to a valid FHC Wi-Fi or not, and let's FamilySearch know. If it is an FHC Wi-Fi, the computer then has access to premium websites and record sets accessible only from a Family History Center. It is expected that extensions for other browsers and operating systems should be forthcoming. You can get the free Family History Center Premium Content extension by going to the Chrome Web Store at this link: So if you plan on using your laptop to view records at a family history center, you should consider adding this extension to your Chrome browser in order to get the maximum access possible.

  • Free Webinars

    Posted on: August 12, 2021

    Although the Family History Library in Salt Lake City has reopened (hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday), they are still offering free webinars. You can find a list of the webinars and links to register for them on their website

  • Matricula Online

    Posted on: July 21, 2021

    A friend recently recommended to me a website for viewing European church records. I was equally impressed by it and thought I should pass along the tip. Matricula Online is a free genealogical portal that currently provides access to Catholic records (mostly books of birth, marriage and death) from various European countries (currently Austria, Germany, Poland, Serbia and Slovenia). However, this is an ongoing interdenominational project with the goal of adding other churches to the collection. All the images I have viewed on the website were impressively sharp and loaded quickly. To check out the site go to

  • Ancestry,com Home Access

    Posted on: July 1, 2021 has extended home access to our library's subscription to December 31, 2021. Just remember that you have to use our link and login using your Connetquot Public Library account number (which is on your library card). The link to and all our other genealogy database subscriptions can be found at

  • Family History Library Reopening

    Posted on: June 29, 2021

    Good news! The Family History Library in Salt Lake City will reopen on Tuesday, July 6th. The hours will be Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and will expand as conditions change. Further opening information will be updated at the FamilySearch newsroom (

  • The Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File Database

    Posted on: June 2, 2021

    In 1973 a fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri, destroyed 80% of the personnel files of the army (those discharged from November 1912 to January 1950) and 75% of the air force (those discharged from September 1947 to January 1964). For more information about the fire and what was record sets were destroyed in it go to the following website: In spite of the fire, it is still possible to get some information on soldiers who served in World War II. A project to reconstruct the lost records, at least partially, has resulted in a database titled "The Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938-1946" (Enlistment Records). This database can be helpful to researchers looking to confirm that a person served in the army during that period, including WWII. The entries typically include the following information: army serial number, date and place of enlistment, grade, branch, term of enlistment, place of birth, education, marital status, and civilian occupation. To access this database go to

  • Find a Death Record

    Posted on: May 7, 2021

    It can be very frustrating to not find a death record that you know should exist, especially since no one can be legally buried or cremated without a death certificate. Here are some suggestions that might help when you’re confronted with a difficult search. 1. Consider that your ancestor may not have died where you think he did. Broaden your search to other areas. 2. Try being more creative in your index searching, including possibly using multiple wildcards to cover a variety of misspellings. The name might have been transcribed incorrectly for a number of reasons, or even entered incorrectly on the original record. 3. Look for a will or probate record. These should include a date of death and probably other helpful information tha could limit the time period you need to search in. 4. If there are voter registrations, check to see when the person was dropped from the rolls. 5. If you know the cemetery where a spouse or child was buried, check to see if the cemetery plot information includes the person of interest. If it does, it may mention their date and place of death. At a minimum the death date should be helpful. 6. If the time period is appropriate, check the federal census mortality schedules for 1850, 1860, and 1870. People who died within a year of the census are listed on the mortality schedules. 7. Use city directories and census records to narrow the date of death, based on when the person disappears from the records. 8. If you know the person’s place of worship, check to see if the church/temple has a record of the deaths in the congregation. 9. The Social Security Death Index is extremely helpful if you are looking for someone who died in 1962 or after. This is by no means a complete list of all the possible ways to get over a brick wall in finding a death record. However, these suggestions have helped me many times, and hopefully they can provide you with some alternate approaches to this problem.

  • City Directories

    Posted on: April 6, 2021

    I don’t use city directories too often, but when I do it’s usually because I have hit a brick wall. This week I had a difficult case that caused me to make use of city directories three times. The first time was to narrow a search for a death certificate. The deceased died sometime between the 1870 and 1880 census. Sometimes a ten-year gap isn’t too much, but because the person had both a common first and last name, and there were a significant number of people listed in the New York City death indexes that matched age and name, I decided to use the city directories to help me narrow it down. After looking through two years of directories, I found the subject was no longer listed, but his wife was shown as the “widow of John” with the same street address already known by me. That gave me a probable year of death, which turned out to be correct. The death certificate stated the place of burial was “Flat Bush.” This was puzzling because I had never heard of a cemetery with that name.  However, city directories often have a section that lists cemeteries, and that led to me to Holy Cross Cemetery (in Brooklyn), which was noted as being in Flatbush.  My final city directory look up was to figure out the church that one of the children of the deceased might have been married in.   Most of the city directories have a section on existing churches (for the year of that directory) and their locations. Sure enough, I was able to narrow it down to two likely churches in the neighborhood of the family.  The point to these examples is simply to remind you that city directories can be a very helpful tool in keeping your research moving forward, and not only in the ways mentioned here, but also in using addresses and occupations to help distinguish between individuals of the same name.  You can find various collections of city directories on the following websites:




    New York Public Library:

  • Searching for Microfilms at Family History Centers

    Posted on: March 3, 2021

    Yesterday someone asked about ordering Family History Library micrcofilms. The LDS doesn’t send microfilms anymore. However, some that were ordered at an early date, when the film rental program existed, could be still at a Family History Center. To find out if a film is being held at a particular FHC, you can use the “availability” option in the catalog. The drop down menu will list all the Family History Centers from which you can select the one of interest. Even though a center is listed as having the film, I would suggest calling to verify.

  • Black History Month Free Webinars

    Posted on: January 26, 2021

    This fantastic list of free African American genealogy webinars was sent to me by Jean King, a librarian at West Hempstead Public Library. I appreciate her sending me the information to pass along to you.

    In honor of Black History Month, many free webinars will be available to help you research African American roots.

    Thursday, Feb. 4 - An Introduction to African American Genealogy - 1 p.m.

    Thursday, Feb. 4 - Using DNA in Your African American Research - 6:30 p.m.

    Friday, Feb. 5 - Finding Indian Ancestors in African American Families - 2 p.m.

    Saturday, Feb. 6 - North Carolina Black History Month Genealogy Regional Conference

    Thursday, Feb. 11 - African American Genealogy: Beginner Basics - 7:30 p.m. Eastern time

    Saturday, Feb. 13 - Black History Month Conference sponsored by the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society - 10 a.m.

    Tuesday, Feb. 16 - Born a Slave: Rediscovering Arthur Jackson's African American Heritage - 8 p.m. Eastern Time

    Tuesday, Feb. 16 - A Family for Suzanne - 8 p.m.

    Wednesday, Feb. 17 - African American Genealogy Resources: Websites, Databases and Webinars - 11 a.m. Eastern time

    Thursday, Feb. 18 - African American Records and Strategies Post-1865 - Noon Eastern time and click on List of Online Classes for February 2021

    Thursday, Feb. 18 - Finding My People: African American Genealogy Workshop - 6 p.m.

    Thursday, Feb. 18 - Researching African American Ancestors: Funeral Programs and Photo Archives - 8 p.m.

    Friday, Feb. 19 - Some Great and Seldom Used African American Resources - 3 p.m. Eastern time

    Monday, Feb. 22 - The African American Experience in Three of New York's Southern Tier Counties, 1893-1960 - 7:30 p.m.

  • Discontinuation of AncestryHealth

    Posted on: January 19, 2021 has announced that they are discontinuing their health DNA tests just over a year after the launch. Existing customers can learn about accessing their information by visiting the website:

  • More Ways than One to Find a Record

    Posted on: December 18, 2020

    There are often more ways than one to find a record, and I recently proved this to myself once again while helping someone find a death record for her ancestor, who died in Brooklyn in 1889. The person knew her ancestor had died in 1889 (a cemetery confirmed this), but she could not find the record using the index.  She assumed the relative died in Brooklyn, where he had resided, but she expanded her search to the other boroughs, still with no success. I won’t go through all the many reasons this could have happened, but my first suspicion was that it could have been an indexing transcription error.  Fortunately there are multiple New York City civil vital record indexes online other than  Here is a list of many of them, including Family Search.


    German Genealogy Group                        

    Italian Genealogical Group                       

     (contains essentially the same NYC vital record index as

    One-Step Webpages by Stephen P. Morse

    Family Search                                                        Familysearch,org



    The One-Step Webpages by Stephen P. Morse has several different links to New York City Death Records. Of them, I prefer using the link called “Searching the New York City Death Index in One Step (igg).”  It includes the added search feature of the exact date of death (day, month, and year). The results in this index will also include an image link which, if you are on a family history center Wi-Fi, will bring you to the digital microfilm images. This index will also provide the certificate number to help you locate the certificate within the microfilm.  It turned out that by using the Stephen Morse website and link, I was able to locate the death certificate for the person’s ancestor who did indeed die in Brooklyn in 1889. This is a simple example of how by using other options, when available, you may finally find what you are looking for.

  • Zoom and Thanksgiving

    Posted on: November 23, 2020

    This Thanksgiving many of us might not have all the family around us that we would normally have to celebrate the holiday due to COVID-19. However, it might be of interest to some to know that Zoom, the video and audio conferencing company that many of us are using for work purposes, is lifting its 45-minute restriction on free accounts during this Thanksgiving holiday.  This will allow family members to enjoy one another's company "virtually" for an extended period of time. You will be able to share all the family news and stories that you would, if you were gathered around the dinner room table. Of course, Zooming is not exactly the same as being with family in person, but it is a pretty good option for those unable to travel this year due to the pandemic. 

  • What's New at

    Posted on: November 12, 2020

    If you would like to find out about new records added to, I recommend the blog What's New at ( It not only lists monthly updates to the record collections, but also provides other helpful information about features and tools. There is also a link on the blog to subscribe to email updates. 

  • The Importance of Addresses

    Posted on: October 20, 2020

    Years ago I got a tip from a genealogist, who was highly regarded by me, that I have found to be very helpful in my research. The advice was simply to note all the addresses that a family lived at (along with the dates of their residency), whatever the source of that information might be, on pedigree and family group sheets. This has often been helpful to me in family research projects, but especially when researching common surnames such as Miller, Smith, or Murphy. For example, I recently searched the New York City death indexes between the years 1900 and 1905 for a John Murphy in his thirties. There were 12 possibilities. The right certificate for John Murphy was confirmed when the address on one of the death certificates was found to match exactly the address on the 1900 census entry for the John Murphy of interest, who fortunately lived with a family member with a very uncommon given name. This is just a single example of how including the addresses on your pedigree charts and family sheets can give you a quick and easy way to make comparisons and identify the sought after record. Displaying the addresses on family sheets in particular, also helps give a more detailed geographical context for the family group to anyone reading it. If you haven’t already added addresses to your charts, I highly recommend you do so. I can think of no better way to thank the genealogist who gave me this tip than to pass it forward.

  • Library Edition Database

    Posted on: September 24, 2020

    Good news! has extended home access to their database until the end of December 2020. To login to (library edition) for free you must use our database link at You will be asked to type in your account number which is located on your library card.

  • New York State Census of 1865

    Posted on: September 16, 2020


    Researchers can obtain valuable genealogical information from Civil War pension records. Recently I had the opportunity to assist someone in finding his ancestor’s file in the Civil War Widows Pensions database on Fold 3. The record was a goldmine of information about the family.  


     If the ancestor you are researching has a common first and last name, the search can be more difficult, because you may find several possibilities in the pension indexes. When those files are not available on a database such as Fold3, ordering them from the National Archives can be expensive and wasteful.  In these cases, you will need to do some work to figure out in which regiment the person served. One valuable tool for that is the New York State Census of 1865. Not only does this census provide the typical population enumerations for households, but it also includes two military schedules, one entitled “Additional Inquires Relating to Officers and Enlisted Men, now in the Military or Naval Services of the United States” and the other "Additional Inquires Relating to Officers and Enlisted Men, who have been in the Military or Naval Service of the U.S., in the Present War.”  


    I recently used this census to find out what regiments three soldiers (with common names) had served in for the purpose of finding them in the Civil War Pension Index. Two lived in Rensselaer County and the other in Suffolk. The two Rensselaer men, who were father-in-law and son-in-law, were listed in the census as having served in the 2nd N. Y. Volunteers. Their ages were 50 and 46, rather mature for military service. Their length of service was 10 months and 14 with both sustaining injuries. One lost a hand and the other a finger. All this information was given in the “Additional Inquires Relating to Officers and Enlisted Men, who have been in the Military or Naval Service of the U.S., in the Present War” schedule.  The Islip, Suffolk soldier, who was still serving at the time of the census, was a private, who enlisted in the 133rd N.Y. Infantry Regiment on August 1, 1862.  This was just the information needed for me to pinpoint these individuals in the pension index.


    Unfortunately the New York State Census of 1865 does not exist for all counties. For example, New York County (Manhattan) is lost. Also missing are the censuses for Allegany, Clinton, Franklin, Genesee, Hamilton, Oswego, Putnam, Queens, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Sullivan, Wayne, Westchester, and Wyoming.  And just a little bit of warning about the New York State Census of 1865 for Islip, Suffolk County. It can be confusing for those who have looked at the census for other New York counties. At the beginning of the microfilm, there is a transcription of the entries. The original census pages follow after this. When searching the index on, you might see two results for the same person and that is because it seems that transcribed and indexed both the transcribed record and the original. 


    If you would like to search and view the New York State Census, 1865, you can do so on The link is 

    It is also available on 


  • Roots Tech 2021 is Free

    Posted on: September 1, 2020

    For the first time ever, the world’s largest family celebration event will be entirely virtual and completely free. If you are interested in attending any of their online programs, which run from February 25-27, you must register at Roots Tech

  • Quirks of New York City Marriage Records

    Posted on: August 26, 2020

    If you are looking for the civil marriage record of a New York City ancestor using, it is possible, depending on the year of the marriage, that you might find two records. One could be from the register book (Register of Marriages, New York City, 1829-1887 and the other a “Return of a Marriage” in the form of a certificate, as we are mostly used to seeing (Manhattan (New York City) marriage records, 1866-1937).

    Before 1866 there was only a register in which the groom and bride’s names, place of birth, age and place of residence, name of person who performed the marriage were recorded on a single line, after being reported in a sometimes informal way to the Department of Health. However, there are only a few marriages in these books from 1829-1847, and though this register system became standard in July 1853, there is a gap from 1875 to August 1876.  The Manhattan (New York City) marriage records, 1866-1937, on the other hand, are certificates that were filled in and returned by the person who performed the wedding ceremony. During the period that these two systems overlapped, the certificates provided the information for the register books.

    If you had an ancestor who married in New York City during the period of the overlapping records, you should look for both on I suggest this because recently while helping someone find a marriage record, I noticed her ancestor’s marriage, which occurred in 1881 in Manhattan, was indexed in both of these marriage record collections. The researcher wanted to view the marriage information because she hoped it might give the town in Germany where her ancestor was born. Both records had the same information, except that the place of birth on the register was recorded only as Germany, but the certificate gave the birthplace as the town of Seligenstadt in Hesse, Germany. The minister who married the couple had provided the name of the town, but the New York City clerk transcribed only Germany into the registry book. This illustrates the importance of looking at both records if they exist for your New York City ancestors, a good rule of thumb for most genealogical record searching.

  • Researchers Helping Researchers

    Posted on: August 7, 2020

    Here is some of the information that was exchanged at our Researchers Helping Researchers program last Wednesday evening.


    Transcribed Vital Records of Italian Towns

    “Most of the researchers concentrate on only one town, but there are some here that have done more. Most people transcribe this information from LDS microfilms in dark little rooms, but a few have had access to the actual records in their chosen towns.” 


    New York Public Library

    Because of COVID-19, New York City Public Library cards have been granted remote access to some of their newspaper databases that are usually only in-house.  One database of particular interest to genealogists is America’s Historical Newspapers.  It contains many historical ethnic newspapers. However, the search engine does not seem to recognize the German-style Fraktur typeface used in the New York German-language newspapers. 


    Civil War Research


    It’s recommended for those researching Civil War soldiers. Connetquot Public Library card holders can access this database through their home computers if they log in using the library’s database link.


    Saving Zoom Chats

    This option can be helpful when participants exchange website addresses and other information in a chat. Zoom has information about doing this on their website:


  • GEDmatch Breach

    Posted on: July 22, 2020

    GEDmatch, a free online service that compares autosomal DNA data from different testing companies, posted on their Facebook page the following information about a security breach. "On the morning of July 19, GEDmatch experienced a security breach orchestrated through a sophisticated attack on one of our servers via an existing user account. We became aware of the situation a short time later and immediately took the site down. As a result of this breach, all user permissions were reset, making all profiles visible to all users. This was the case for approximately 3 hours. During this time, users who did not opt in for law enforcement matching were available for law enforcement matching and, conversely, all law enforcement profiles were made visible to GEDmatch users.

    This was the extent of the breach. No user data was downloaded or compromised.

    We have reported the unauthorized access to the appropriate authorities and continue to work toward identifying the individuals responsible for this violation.

    Today, as we continued to investigate the incident and work on a permanent solution to safeguard against threats of this nature, we discovered that the site was still vulnerable and made the decision to take the site down until such time that we can be absolutely sure that user data is protected against potential attacks. We are working with a cybersecurity firm to conduct a comprehensive forensic review and help us implement the best possible security measures.

    This is clearly disappointing for our company, as user privacy and data security are our top priorities. We apologize to our GEDmatch users and our law enforcement customers for the concern and frustration this situation has caused.Thank you for your continued support of GEDmatch.If you have questions, please reach out to us at We will update you as soon as we have more information to share."

  • Tip for Finding More Resources

    Posted on: June 19, 2020

    When doing genealogy, we are always looking for as many useful sources of information as we can find. Most of us typically begin a search by using the large collection databases available on such sites as or  Afterwards we look for other more regional resources, which are generally more challenging to locate, especially if we are not familiar with the region or city of interest. A useful checklist of records for specific places or topics can be found at the FamilySearch Research Wiki:


    I would also recommend checking all databases you freely have access to. Recently I was assisting someone searching a family from Troy, New York.  It turned out that the website AmericanAncestors (listed on our database list) from the New England Historic Genealogical Society was particularly helpful, because it includes the records of the American Canadian Genealogical Society: Index of Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, which has indexed two Catholic churches in Troy, New York.  In summary, check the recommended resources listed on the FamilySearch Research Wiki, but also be open to looking at other less obviously applicable databases. Make sure to check their catalogs to see what records they might have for a region in which you are researching.


  • Novel NYC Records Handout

    Posted on: June 16, 2020

    To access the handout for the Novel NYC program click on the link:                                                                            


  • Zoom Novel NYC Records Program

    Posted on: June 10, 2020

    Join us on Wednesday, June 17 at 7:00 pm for our Novel NYC Records for Genealogists program. Alec Ferretti will discuss records that are typically overlooked, either because they are not well-known, or because they are not thought to be genealogically relevant. Examples include licensing records, court records, voter registrations, education records, and the 1917 Military Census. Some of these records are available at the Municipal Archives or the City Clerk, while others reside with the agencies that created them, and are only accessible by making Freedom of Information Requests. Alec will aslo discuss how to navigate through Freedom of Information Requests. This Zoom class that requires registration which you can do by going to the link If you have any question you can email

  • Cemeteries: Eternity is not forever

    Posted on: May 12, 2020

    Join us this Thursday (May 14th) at 6:00 pm for the program Cemeteries: Eternity is not Forever. This program will be presented by Susan Jaycox Murphy, President of the Genealogy Federation of Long Island and professional genealogist. Because our building is still closed due to COVID-19, the class will be presented online through Zoom. You must be registered in order to be admitted. To register go to our webpage and click on Virtual Classes. You will need the barcode/account number on your Connetquot Public Library card to complete the registration. 

  • Passenger and Immigration List Index Online

    Posted on: May 7, 2020

    The website, Passenger and Immigration List Index, has been added to our list of genealogical databases. This e-resource contains 5.2 million immigration records from more than 3,500 sources of genealogical immigration and naturalization information, including passenger lists, historical publications, naturalization records, government documents, journals, ship manifests, and other historical sources. Many of the entries include the name and age of immigrant, the year and place of arrival, the source where information was obtained, and associated family members who arrived with the entrant.

    When you click on our database link, you will be prompted to enter your account barcode (located on your library card) and a pin number. The pin number is the last four digits of your telephone number. I recommend that you use the advanced option which limits your search to just the Passenger Index List. If you have any questions, please contact us at


  • Cemeteries: Eternity is not forever

    Posted on: April 23, 2020

    Because our library building closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we canceled our April 22nd genealogy program. Fortunately, our speaker has agreed to give the program online through Zoom. You can register for Cemeteries: Eternity is Not Forever on our homepage. The new date is May 14th at 6:00 pm. Below is a synopsis of the program.

    Susan Jaycox Murphy, President of the Genealogy Federation of Long Island and professional genealogist, will discuss the law, practices of cemeteries, what can be found in cemetery research, where we can find records, and what we can do to preserve our family memorials.

  • Researching from Home

    Posted on: March 31, 2020

    Our library building is closed to the public during this covid-19 pandemic, but you can still access many of our genealogical databases through your home computer. These databases include Fold3, HeritageQuest, MyHeritage, and Library Edition (home access to Library Edition is being permitted only during this period).  You will find our links to the databases at If you have any questions or need assistance please email

  • Civil War Pensions Program Canceled

    Posted on: March 13, 2020

    Due to health concerns relating to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), our library has canceled the Civil War Pensions program scheduled for Wednesday, March 18th. 

  • Coronavirus Cancellations

    Posted on: March 13, 2020

    Below is a list of canceled genealogy programs sent to us by the The Genealogy Federation of Long Island.   The Italian Genealogy Group monthly meeting scheduled for 14 March is canceled. The Irish Family History Forum monthly meeting scheduled for 21 March is canceled. The Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island monthly meeting scheduled for 22 March is canceled.   National Archives-NYC is closed until further notice. The New York Public Library has canceled all public programs. The Association of Professional Genealogists meeting scheduled for 18 March is canceled. The METRO NYC Technology meeting scheduled for 16 March is canceled. 

  • New York City Municipal Archives: An Authorized Guide for Family Historians

    Posted on: March 11, 2020

    During his Reclaim the Records lecture at our library in January, Alec Ferretti recommended the book New York City Municipal Archives: An Authorized Guide for Family Historians by Aaron Goodwin. Published by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, it contains a detailed list of the holdings of the New York City Municipal Archives and also provides information on how to access the individual collections.  We were able to purchase the book and add it to our reference collection (R 929.1072 Goodwin).

  • Terryville Family History Center

    Posted on: March 9, 2020

    After years of being closed, the Terryville Family History Center (372 Terryville Road, Port Jefferson Station) has been reopened. At the center, you should be able to access the records limited to family history centers and the following major genealogical websites:, Fold3, MyHeritage, and more. Call or email for center hours: 631-642-2096, or

  • Links to Useful Newspaper Resources

    Posted on: March 4, 2020


    Old newspapers are a valuable resource for family researchers. The websites Old Fulton New York Post Cards ( and Chronicling America ( are commonly used by many. However, you might want to check out The Ancestor Hunt ( and its links to other free online newspaper databases. The list includes state, special U.S. Collections, Canadian provinces, and special Canada collections. Many of the newspapers you might not be familiar with, but this makes them even more interesting to view.


  • RootsTech

    Posted on: February 19, 2020

    RootsTech is a 4-day event held annually in Salt Lake City, Utah, dedicated to celebrating family and discovering family histories.  During this event there will be over 300 classes taught by professional genealogists and industry experts. The event begins on February 26th. If you can't travel to Salt Lake City to attend, you might want to watch some of the classes which will be streamed on their website. The streaming schedule can be found on the website 

  • Local Genealogy Events

    Posted on: February 4, 2020

    Would you like to learn more about genealogy and meet other family researchers? A good way to do this is to attend genealogy lectures. You probably are aware that you can learn about our programs in our newsletter, but to learn about other family history lectures I suggest you check out The Genealogy Federation of Long Island's calendar. They list upcoming events hosted by several Long Island libraries and genealogical societies on their online calendar which is located at 


  • Ordering Pre-Adoption New York Birth Certificates

    Posted on: January 14, 2020

    Starting tomorrow (January 15, 2020) people who were born in New York and then adopted will be able to requqest their original birth certificate. Information on ordering cerficates can be found on the website



  • Some Genealogical Highlights of 2019

    Posted on: January 3, 2020


    As you probably noticed, our genealogy blog was inactive for months. It needed to be revamped because of internet issues which have now been resolved. Because it is the start of a new year, I thought it would be appropriate to begin with a list of some of the genealogical highlights of 2019 for New York researchers.

    1)  New York State, Card Index to Supreme Court and Court of Chancery Documents, 1648-1848 (

    2) New York, State Employment Cards and Peddlers' Licenses, 1840-1966 (

    3) New York State Marriage Index, 1966-2017 (Reclaim the Records)

    4)  New York City GEOGRAPHIC Birth Index (Reclaim the Records)

    5)  In November, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation allowing New York adoptees for the first time to receive a certified copy of their birth certificate when they turn 18-years-old. Someone who was born and adopted in the state of New York, or a direct descendant of a deceased New York adoptee, will be able to apply for a copy of the original and un-redacted birth certificate starting on JANUARY 15, 2020.

    According to Don Eckerle's (the German Genealogy Group's Database Administrator) statistics the group had a very productive year. They added the following additional information to their online indexes:

    St. Benedict (1853-1973), Baptisms: 1853-1920 - 6,837 records

    St. Bernard (1872-1941), Baptisms: 1872-1920 - 2,778 records

    St. Francis in Field (1850-1891), Baptisms: 1,151 records

    St. Louis Church (1873-1960s) 1873-1902 - 9,234 records


    Yearbooks & Commemoratives Index

    41,547 records have been added to the yearbooks database. There is now a total of 374,724 records 

    English Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension,

    Brooklyn, NY. 658 records have been added.

    Baptism of Children (172) 1906 - 1957

    Baptism of Adults (14) 1910 - 1947

    Confirmations (214) 1909 - 1952

    Funerals (119) 1906 - 1955

    Marriages. (139) 1908 - 1958 


    Richmond County, NY marriage licenses 1908- 1938 were added to the GGG web site, a total of 29,361


  • NYG&B Live Genealogy Q&A on Facebook

    Posted on: August 1, 2019

    New York Genealogical and Biographical Society will be hosting on Friday, August 9, 2019 at 12:00 pm ET a live genealogy Q&A on Facebook. D. Joshua Taylor, President of the NYG&B, and Susan R. Miller, the NYG&B's Director of Programs will be the hosts of this event.  You can submit your genealogy questions to them by going to the  website  

  • Interesting Census Idea

    Posted on: July 15, 2019

    The Irish government announced that on their next census (which will take place in 2021) there will be a “time capsule” feature which will enable people to hand-write a confidential message that will be stored securely for 100 years. Future family researchers will undoubtedly be curious to what, if any, message an ancestor wrote in the box. If you would like to read more about this idea, here are some links to articles:

  • IRS Employees Database

    Posted on: June 19, 2019

    The German Genealogy Group has added an index of IRS employees (1862 Record Group 58: Records of the Internal Revenue Service, 1862 – 1919) to their databases.   The database consists of records of employees of the Brooklyn and Buffalo, New York offices of the Internal Revenue Service.  Each index entry includes the employee name, title, address, compensation, and appointment date, reason for termination of service, place and year of birth, prior civilian or military service, and names of relatives employed by the Federal government, volume, and page number.  The GGG also provides information on how to order a copy of a record. To search this database go to

  • Family History Brick Walls

    Posted on: May 31, 2019

    Join us on Wednesday, June 5 at 7:00 pm for an informal meeting for all family history researchers (beginners or seasoned).  This is an opportunity for us to share ideas and help each other in our research. This program is free and open to all.

  • Scottish Directories

    Posted on: May 24, 2019

    Someone recently asked if there are any Scottish directories online.  I am happy to report that the National Library of Scotland has digitized and made available online over 700 directories. The directories date from 1773 to 1911 and cover most of Scotland. You can view them for free on the website

  • Our Next Genealogy Program

    Posted on: May 5, 2019

  • Update on New York State Marriage Index

    Posted on: May 2, 2019

    Reclaim the Records recently won a Freedom of Information lawsuit to make available to the public the New York State marriage index post-1965.  However, this week New York State filed an appeal. Reclaim the Records vows to fight on. You can read more about the appeal on Reclaim the Records on the website

  • Understanding DNA Tests

    Posted on: April 8, 2019

    Join us for our next genealogy program this Wednesday (April 10th) at 7:00 pm. This program is free and open to all.

  • Bowery Savings Bank Records

    Posted on: April 5, 2019

    The New York Times recently published an article about some old records of the Bowery Savings Bank being saved from the shredder.  A group of archivists and others pressured Capital One to save these records, which were being stored at 130 Bowery, where a Capital One Bank is now located. The branch is presently being closed, and the old Bowery Savings Bank records, which were stored in the basement, were scheduled to be sent to shredding. These account records could be of great value to many family researchers. It is reported that they provide information on people’s jobs, where they lived, and how much money they had in their accounts. What will ultimately become of the records is not known yet. Some are hoping they can be digitized and made available to family researchers. Here is the link if you would like to read the full New York Times article about the records:

  • Additional Irish Research Links

    Posted on: March 20, 2019

    Here are some of the additional Irish research links that were mentioned at our Irish genealogy program this evening. Ancestry,com (in-library use only)Irish Data Collections A placenames database of Ireland developed by Fiontar & Scoil na Gaeilge. Matheson, Robert. Varieties and Synonymes of Surnames and Christian Names in Ireland Google Books: American Ancestors (in-library use only)  List of the England Historic Genealogical Society databases.

  • Irish Genealogy

    Posted on: March 13, 2019

    Join us on Wednesday, March 20 at 7:00 pm for our Irish Genealogy: Getting Back to the Old Sod program. Learn about the resources available to help you discover where in Ireland an ancestor came from. This program is free and open to all. 

  • Rootstech

    Posted on: February 28, 2019

    RootsTech (the world’s largest family history conference) is going on now through Saturday, March 2nd. The conference which is "dedicated to helping people discover their personal and family stories" is sponsored by FamilySearch. You can watch it live at  

  • Program

    Posted on: February 17, 2019

    Join us on Wednesday, February 20th at 7:00 pm for our program. Marie Scalisi will give you an overview of this important genealogical website. This program is free and open to all. 


    Posted on: February 12, 2019

    The Italian Genealogy Group has revised their website. Here is their announcement about their updates: “We will be rolling out certain upgrades and improvements in coming days and weeks, but for now some of the new features include the ability to join or renew online, the ability (for the first time!) to search ALL of our databases in one keystroke, and member-only perks like videos of past lectures, access to our newsletter archive, and more! If you’re not an IGG member, won’t you join today?”   You can check out their new website at and also try out their search all databases feature at

  • Find my Past

    Posted on: February 1, 2019

    Find my Past has announced in their newsletter that they have added over 329,000 additional New York Roman Catholic sacramental registers of baptisms. Because our library subscribes to Find my Past you can search and view these records for free when using our database link on our computers.  To get to the New York Roman Catholic collections when in Find my Past, click on search option and then A-Z record sets. Type New York Roman Catholic into the catalog search box and you should see a list of all their New York Roman Catholic record titles  

  • Italian Genealogy and Q & A Program

    Posted on: January 22, 2019

    Join us for our Italian Genealogy and Q & A program this Saturday at 2:00 pm. Our speaker will be Alec Ferretti, recent recipient of the Association of Genealogists' 2018 Young Professional Scholarship.  He will help you get started with researching your Italian family and will also answer any general genealogy questions you might have. This program is free and open to all. 

  • Useful Links to Reclaim the Records Collections

    Posted on: January 16, 2019

    It can be difficult to find a specific Reclaim the Records collection on the However, the German Genealogy Group has just made it easier by creating links to the various records. You will find these links on the GGG webpage: This also gives me the opportunity to remind researchers to keep checking the German Genealogy Group’s website because they are always adding more helpful genealogical databases and tools which are free and open for all to use.

  • Organize Your Genealogy Websites

    Posted on: December 31, 2018

    If you are looking for some ideas on how to organize all those genealogical records you collected in 2018, here are a few websites you might find helpful. Organize Your Genealogy ( Getting Organized (American Free Family Tree Tips: 23 Secrets to Organize Your Genealogy (Pittsburg Genealogical Organization)

  • DNA for the Holidays

    Posted on: December 11, 2018

    DNA test kits for genealogy have become a very popular holiday gift over the last few years. If you are thinking about giving someone a DNA kit, or should you become the recipient of one yourself this holiday season, you might want to check out the article "Genetic Genealogy Cheat Sheet" in the current issue of Family Tree magazine. The article might give you or the recipient of your gift some helpful background information about these tests and what they can tell you. You can view Family Tree Magazine through our Flipster (eMagazines) subscription.

  • New York State Marriage Index for 1881-1965

    Posted on: November 27, 2018

    Reclaim The Records, a non-profit activist group of genealogists, historians, researchers and open government advocates, has announced that they have won the right to make available online the New York State Marriage Index for 1881-1965.  The index images are now available for free on the Internet Archive website.  Reclaim The Records has also filed another lawsuit to win the rights to make available online the 1966-2017 indexes. To learn about this organization and other records they are requesting for online public access,  go to their website at  

  • Family Tree Magazine's Best Website Picks

    Posted on: November 14, 2018

    The current issue (December 2018) of Family Tree Magazine has their picks for the best free genealogical websites for researching American ancestors. The article (titled Cyber States) begins on page 18.  You can view Family Tree and many other magazines online for free by using our Flipster subscription. To do this go to our library's homepage and click on digital and then e-magazines.  You will be asked to login using your account number on your library card. 

  • Find Your Family Roots Online

    Posted on: November 6, 2018

    Join us on Wednesday, November 7 at 7:00 pm for our program Find Your Family Roots Online. Professional genealogist Rhoda Miller will show you some helpful genealogical websites. This class is free and open to all.

  • Italian Genealogy for Beginners

    Posted on: October 18, 2018

    For those who missed our Italian Genealogy for Beginners program, I have attached the handout which lists some recommended websites for finding genealogical records helpful in Italian family history research.  Italian Genealogy for Beginners

  • Irish First Names

    Posted on: September 27, 2018

    Someone had asked if there was a book that gave the variations and nicknames for Irish first names. Because other Irish family researchers might also be interested in the topic, I am posting a link to an online version of a booklet on the subject matter. The title is not listed in (Public Libraries of Suffolk County) catalog; therefore the online version is my suggestion for viewing it. Wight, Judith Eccles. A Rose by any Other Name. Provo, Utah: J. E. Wight, 1985  

  • Italian Genealogy for Beginners

    Posted on: September 24, 2018

    Join us on Wednesday, October 3, 7:00 - 8:30 pm for our program Italian Genealogy for Beginners. This class will inform you on the resources available in tracing your roots back to Italy. This program is free and open to all.

  • Stories from Ellis Island

    Posted on: September 12, 2018

    This Sunday (September 16th) our library is having Fred Voss, a tour guide at Ellis Island National Park, talk about some of his favorite stories about Ellis Island. This program starts at 2:00 pm and is open to all.  Please join us for this event.

  • Find My Past

    Posted on: September 4, 2018

    Our library now subscribes to Find My Past. The database includes genealogical records from the United States, along with England, Ireland, New Zealand, and other smaller record sets from around the globe. Researchers can also access the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) via this database.  PERSI provides access to millions of entries from historical and genealogical publications. Keep in mind that the 1939 registers and the newspaper packages on FMP are not included in library subscriptions. The database records also can only be viewed in the library.

  • New York State Birth Index

    Posted on: August 3, 2018

    There is some good news for New York family researchers. has added to its collection New York State, Birth Index, 1881-1942.  This online database makes the index more accessible for those who were unable to go to one of ten repositories to view the index on microfiche. If you don't have an account, you can access it on any computer in our library.

  • Digital Film & Slide Scanner/Converter

    Posted on: August 1, 2018

    Back in May of 2013, we posted an article on this blog suggesting a simple, no-tech, inexpensive method to digitize slides, which was dubbed the “flashlight method.”  Because our library recently purchased a Jumbl film and slide scanner for our Library of Things, we thought it was time to update the article.  For those who have a Connetquot Public Library card, you can now check out from our Library of Things a Jumbl film and slide scanner to convert you slides or film negatives to jpg files. Using the device is fairly fast and easy, and all you need is your own SD card to which you can save the images. This compact device can be plugged into a computer or electrical outlet and comes with two adapter plates, one for negatives and the other for slides.  Before choosing to save an image, you will see it on the screen.  You need to make sure your SD card is inserted, or else your image will save to the internal storage of the device.  

    This should prove to be a handy device for anyone looking to add older non-digital photographs to the family archive on their computer or other electronic device.  It is listed in our library catalog under the title: Digital film & slide scanner/converter.  If you find that it is already checked out, you can simply place a reserve on it.

  • Online New Jersey Death Index

    Posted on: July 24, 2018

    Good news for those with New Jersey roots. Reclaim the Records has announced that they have won their Open Public Records Act request filed on May 28, 2018 for access to the New Jersey Death Index for the years 1901-2017 (with some gaps). The index is now available online for free at

  • Connetquot Public Library is a FamilySearch affiliate

    Posted on: July 5, 2018

    The Connetquot Public Library is an affiliate of  Now researchers at our library will have access to more than two billion digitized records, including 400 million images that are not currently available to the public outside an affiliate library.  Although our new affiliation status provides researchers within our library with access to more genealogical records, this does not include the New York City vital records which still can only be viewed at a family history center.  

  • Free Webinar about DAR Resources

    Posted on: July 3, 2018

    In honor of Independence Day, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society is providing a free 30-minute recorded webinar that can be watched on-demand by anyone. In the webinar NYG&B President D. Joshua Taylor discusses valuable resources available on the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) website.  To view the webinar use this link:

  • Orphan Train

    Posted on: June 7, 2018

    Tom Riley spoke last night about the Orphan Train which was a supervised welfare program that transported orphaned and homeless children from crowded eastern cities of the United States to foster homes in rural areas of the Midwest.  During Mr. Riley's lecture there was a question about how to locate records.  I have listed the websites and contact information for some of the organizations that could be particularly helpful to a genealogist researching an Orphan Train relative. National Orphan Train Complex Email: Telephone: 785-243-4471 Children’s Aid Email: Telephone: 212-949-4847 The New York Foundling Email: Telephone: 212-206-4171 New-York Historical Society Museum & Library Telephone: 212-873-3400 Portions of the New York Historical Society Museum & Library collection can be viewed on FamilySearch Blog The article provides background information on the Orphan Train and links to research resources.

  • Google Books Advance Search Tip

    Posted on: May 17, 2018

    By using Google Books recently, I was able to assist someone in finding information on his ancestor. I am a big fan of Google Books and its advanced search engine, so I am happy to share this tip with anyone who hasn’t used it.  The direct link to it is  However, I admit that most of the time I just google the phrase “google books advanced search” and I find it quickly. When beginning a search I usually use the “with all of the words” search option. If my results are too numerous, I will then narrow the search. Depending on the copyright, you might be able to view a whole book, but there are times that you can’t. However, don’t be discouraged because at least you will have been provided with a list of titles that you can check out through other means.  For example, you might find other online sites for the book, or you may be able to interlibrary-loan it. The main thing is to not be discouraged if you can’t view everything directly on Google Books in order to find the information you are looking for. There is usually some other way to get that information, once you have found out through Google Books what you should be looking for.

  • Our Next Genealogy Program

    Posted on: May 7, 2018

    Join us this Wednesday, May 9 at 7:00 pm when "The Legal Genealogist" Judy Russell will speak on the topic of conflicting evidence and how to resolve it. This program is free and open to all. 

  • Some DNA Questions and Answers

    Posted on: April 26, 2018

    Since yesterday (April 25) was National DNA Day, I thought it would be a good time to share some questions that some family researchers have asked me about genealogy and DNA.1.       My siblings and I are going to have just one of us do the DNA test to see what our ethnicity results are.  Does that make sense?Just be aware that the DNA ethnicity results you receive and what your siblings can be different. My brother and I are an example of this.  According to the test, my brother is 68% Irish and I’m 40%.  My DNA shows 36% from Great Britain and while his is only 5%.  He also has 12% Scandinavian that I do not have.  I should also mention that our DNA results match both of us to people on both my mother and father’s line, so there’s no reason to think that we had different fathers.  The first thing to keep in mind is that siblings have different proportions of their four grandparents’ DNA.  The second thing is that the ethnicity estimates from any DNA test are just that… estimates, with some significant margin of error.2.       I am listed as having 7% Finland/Northwest Russia. I don’t know why that should be.  Should I believe it?When you take an Ancestry DNA test, you might find some unexpected results that appear in your Ancestry Ethnicity Estimate. For example, if you are Irish you could have Finland/Northwest Russia and/or Iberian Peninsula.  That could come from ethnic mixing of ethnicities in the somewhat distance past, but such low percentages are often considered “low confidence” estimates, so while they are possible, it’s good to take them with a grain of salt.3.       How can I learn more about DNA?If you want to learn more about DNA for genealogy, you might consider attending The DNA Group of Long Island meetings, which are on the first Saturday of the month at alternating Nassau and Suffolk locations, currently Bethpage and Patchogue-Medford Public Libraries. Their website is, and they also have a Facebook page. They give a variety lectures on genealogical DNA, and you can meet many other people eager to learn more about the subject.

  • Our Next Genealogy Program

    Posted on: April 6, 2018

    Join us for our next genealogy program on Wednesday, April 11 at 7:00 pm. This program is free and open to all.

  • Our Next Genealogy Program

    Posted on: March 14, 2018

    Join us for our next genealogy program on Wednesday, March 28 at 7:00 pm. This program is free and open to all.

  • New York Roman Catholic Parish Records

    Posted on: March 2, 2018

    FindMyPast (a subscription database) has just announced that they have added to their collection the New York Roman Catholic parish records. You can find more information about this new collection by going to the FindMyPast blog post There is also a list of the New York Roman Catholic parishes included in the collection which can be found on the website

  • Listing of Genealogical Websites

    Posted on: February 16, 2018

    Attached is a listing of some genealogical websites for you to explore. You might have to register with some of them, but you do not need a paid subscription to use their databases. If you have any suggestions to add to the list, please email them to me.  Websites of Genealogical Interest

  • Alt for Norge and a Link to Norwegian Genealogy Guidance

    Posted on: February 4, 2018

    Our Family History Roundtable program this month will feature Norwegian culture and family history. Our speaker Christine Campisi was a contestant on Alt for Norge, a popular Norwegian television show, in which Norwegian-Americans compete in a series of cultural, historical, and language challenges for the prize of meeting their long-lost Norwegian family. During the competitions, the contestants learn about various aspects of Norwegian heritage and culture. The Alt for Norge television show is proof that family history can be both entertaining and educational.  Come and join us Wednesday and learn more about the show and Norwegian culture. If you have Norwegian roots and would like some advice in beginning your family research, I would recommend the following website: This site will provide you with much advice and some links to online databases.

  • Our Next Family History Roundtable Program

    Posted on: January 26, 2018

  • Our Next Family History Roundtable Program

    Posted on: January 8, 2018

    Join us on Wednesday, January 17 at 7:00 pm for our next Family History Roundtable event.  This event is free and open to all. 

  • Preserving Recordings

    Posted on: December 21, 2017

    Preserving our memories is something many family researchers do. However, it can occasionally seem time-consuming and expensive. Years ago, as part of a Christmas present, an Irish friend sent me a recording on cassette tape. It includes some of my favorite songs, chit-chat and a segment from Big L Radio, the local radio station of the Irish city (Limerick) I once lived in. Later, this tape had even greater significance because the friend who sent it to me died a couple of years later at the age of 20 of cancer.  His tape preserved the memory of his lilting Cork accent and our college days. I haven’t listened to the tape in many years, mainly because I no longer own a tape recorder.  However, when our library purchased VHS and cassette tape converters for our circulating collection, I checked out the cassette tape converter and transferred my friend’s recording to my computer as an MP3 file. Now I can listen to the Christmas greeting my friend sent to me thirty years ago. It cost me nothing other than the flash drive I saved it on. If you are a Connetquot Public Library cardholder, you too can convert VHS and cassette tapes and preserve your memories. Making copies of family movies or recordings could also be the perfect gift for a relative.  [audio mp3=""][/audio]

  • Yearbooks

    Posted on: December 5, 2017

    Our library recently received a donation of LaSalle Military Academy yearbooks for the years 1930-1933.  For those who might be unfamiliar with the LaSalle Academy, it was a Catholic military boarding school in Oakdale, New York, which closed in 2001.  The yearbooks we received were those in the possession of Ernest Gordon Hackney who graduated in 1933. This recent donation reminded me of the importance of yearbooks for both family research and local history purposes. Of course, the information in yearbooks varies. If your ancestor was very social and involved in school activities, there might be plenty of information and photographs of him or her. An example of this is Ernest Gordon Hackney. The La Salle yearbooks shed much light on his life at the school as a young man, including that he was a leader (President of “B” and “C” Class of 1933), and he participated in a number of team sports. The yearbooks also provide further information detailing his personality, interests, and the school environment. If you would like to locate a yearbook that could include an ancestor, you might want to contact a library or historical society in the town or city in which the school was located.  There are also some online sources that could be helpful. A few include (U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2013), the Yearbooks & Commemoratives database of the German Genealogy Group, located on their website (, and the OCLC WorldCat, which is a catalog to the collections of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide. As an interesting side note I would also add that Ernest Gordon Hackney, whose yearbooks we received, was killed while serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. He is buried in Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium. We are very grateful to his son, Gordon Hackney, for donating his father’s La Salle Military yearbooks to our local history collection. [caption id="attachment_1406" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Ernest Gordon Hackney entry in La Salle Military Academy 1933 yearbook[/caption]

  • Our Next Program

    Posted on: November 1, 2017

    This program is free and open to all.

  • News about Family History Centers

    Posted on: October 20, 2017

    Back in June, I posted that was discontinuing its microfilm distribution services. Because significant progress was made in their digitization work, decided it was unnecessary to continue the microfilm program. There was some concern by researchers that this decision might eliminate access to the New York City vital records which had been available on microfilm. About a month ago, I was told by a few genealogists that the New York City vital records were accessible online  at family history centers.  Although I was eager to announce this exciting news, I waited until I could try it out for myself.  Last week I visited the Family History Center in Plainview, New York.  I brought my laptop computer and logged into the center’s internet using the password the volunteer gave me. I was successful in both viewing and downloading two New York City death certificates.  Before making a trip to a family history center, I would recommend you call ahead to find out the center’s hours and if their internet access is working.  You will find a listing of the New York family history centers at

  • Next Family History Roundtable Program

    Posted on: October 13, 2017

  • Notes from our last genealogy program

    Posted on: September 18, 2017

    At our last genealogy program, Rick Fogarty showed us the International Society of Genetic Genealogy Wiki comparison charts, which can be very helpful in selecting DNA tests. If you did not take notes or were unable to attend, here are the links: Autosomal DNA testing comparison chart Y-DNA STR testing comparison chart MtDNA testing comparison chart Attending the lecture were some members of the recently established DNA Genealogy Group of Long Island. They informed me that they are have been having monthly meetings on the topic of using DNA for genealogical research. They alternate the venue of their programs between Suffolk County and Nassau County locations. You can find out more about the organization and their links to recommended websites through the following page:  

  • Upcoming Program

    Posted on: September 6, 2017

  • New York City Marriage Records

    Posted on: August 30, 2017

    Because a number of people have expressed confusion over search results for New York City marriages in the database, “Birth, Marriage & Death,” I thought that topic would be worthy of an article. The confusion occurs when, depending on the year of the marriage, researchers might receive two results for the same couple, but with different certificate numbers and slightly different dates. The main questions I’ve been asked are the following: why is this happening, and which of the two records should I order a copy of?  To answer the first question, I will delve into some of the historical background of New York City marriage records.   Figure 1:  Example of a search using Birth, Marriage & Death Database in for a 1925 New York City Marriage. For privacy reasons, I have blacked out the bride and groom’s names on all searches and certificates shown. In 1853 New York City began recording marriages (as well as births) in register form, but in 1866, the Health Department of New York City began requiring a certificate for each marriage.  The City of Brooklyn also began creating certificates in the same year of 1866.  After the unification of the cities of New York and Brooklyn in 1898, and the simultaneous expansion of the city into the five boroughs of New York as we know them today, the city’s Health Department created and held on file marriage certificates for all the boroughs. In 1908 New York State enacted a law that required brides and grooms to fill out an “Affidavit for License to Marry.”  Produced along with that affidavit was an actual license, upon the back of which was a marriage certificate, to be filled out and returned by the person performing the marriage.  In the borough of Manhattan, the New York City Clerk was responsible for these records.  However, up until 1937 the New York City Department of Health continued requiring the creation of their own marriage certificates.  Because of that situation, couples who were married in New York City between 1908 and 1937 should normally have two separate marriage certificates held by the city: one filed with the City Clerk and associated with the affidavit and license, the other filed with the New York City Health Department. This duplication can be helpful to genealogists, because there were two separate entities producing records, so there is a greater chance of finding a marriage record.  Another helpful result of the 1908 law was that it required the couple to submit information in the affidavit and license to the city clerk before their marriage, while previously it was the responsibility of the person officiating at the wedding to collect and submit the information after the wedding. Unfortunately, too often this did not happen, so that frequently there may not be a civil marriage record for a pre-1908 New York City marriage. Years ago, the Italian Genealogy Group ( and the German Genealogy Group ( created an online index to the New York City Health Department marriage records.  It is accessible on their websites, and on (Index to New York City Marriages, 1866-1937) and ( The indexes to the New York City Clerk marriage records were only made available online fairly recently.  Reclaim the Records, a non-profit organization, got the records released, and they made them available on  Last May, added them to their collection (New York City, Marriage Indexes, 1907-1995).  Now indexes to both the New York City Health Department certificates (Index to New York City Marriages, 1866-1937) and the  New York City Clerk marriage records  (New York City, Marriage Indexes, 1907-1995) are contained and searchable in the general “Birth, Marriage & Death” collection.  The bottom line is that if you search for a marriage that occurred in Manhattan between 1908 and 1937 in it, you should get two results: one from the Department of Health records, and the other from the New York City Clerk.  If you want to order one or both, be careful to include the correct information (certificate number and date) for each request. You will find order information and forms on the New York Municipal Archives website: There is also an index to New York City marriages that occurred between 1950 and 1995 at To order a marriage record for those years (there is a 50 year requirement), you need to contact the City Clerk. The second question as to which record is better to order is a little more difficult to answer. It’s possible that the City Clerk Records could contain slightly more information or be slightly more accurate than the Health Department records, but not necessarily.  If the cost doesn’t matter, you might want to consider getting both.  Below is an example of Ancestry search results for one marriage and the documents themselves, obtained from the New York City Municipal Archives .  The first record is the New York City Clerk record.  It consists of three pages: affidavit, license, and certificate. Figure 2: City Clerk's record includes three pages: Affidavit for License to Marry, Marriage License, and Marriage Certificate. Below is the New York City Health Department search result and certificate for the same marriage.   Figure 3New York City Department of Health Certificate and Record of Marriage consists of two pages Hopefully this explanation gives you a better understanding of the complexities of New York City marriage records.  Most importantly, if you are searching for a New York City marriage that occurred between 1908 and 1937, you should know that there are usually two records available, which will have different certificate numbers and possibly slightly different dates.  If you have any genealogy questions, please feel free to email them to

  • New York City Death Indexes for 1949-1965

    Posted on: July 14, 2017 has added to their collection a New York City death index covering the years 1949 - 1965.  Unlike Ancestry's New York, New York, Death Index, 1862-1948, this one also includes the NYC Health Department index images. If you do not have a subscription to, keep in mind that you can access the database free of charge on any of our library's computers.

  • Discontinuation of the FamilySearch Microfilm Distribution Services

    Posted on: June 30, 2017

    On September 1, 2017, FamilySearch will discontinue its microfilm distribution services.  The last day to order microfilms will be on August 31, 2017.  The service is being discontinued because of the significant progress made in their microfilm digitization work and the obsolescence of microfilm technology.  For more information go to

  • German Genealogy Group's New Project

    Posted on: June 16, 2017

    The German Genealogy Group is always busy creating new indexes and databases. Recently they added the Federal Criminal Record Index, which you can search for free on their website  Their new project involves photographing the church registers of four closed Brooklyn Catholic churches (St. Benedict, St. Bernard, St. Francis Field and St. Louis).  After they are done photographing the books, volunteers will transcribe the information to create new databases. If you are looking to volunteer your services to a very worthwhile genealogical project, are undaunted by old handwritten records, and have an interest in Brooklyn genealogy, this could be the perfect project for you. If you would like to learn more, you can contact them through their website Reply Forward

  • New York State Death Indexes

    Posted on: June 9, 2017

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  • Cemetery Crowdsourcing Program

    Posted on: May 22, 2017

    Our next genealogy program will be on Wednesday, June 7 at 7:00 pm.  Our speaker will be professional genealogist and speaker Michael Cassara. This program is free and open to all.

  • Online Websites For New York Newspapers

    Posted on: May 1, 2017

    For those who missed our last genealogy program, here is a list of some of the online newspapers that were discussed.  All of the websites contain digitized New York newspapers which can be accessed for free.   Chronicling America: Historic American Newspaper (Library of Congress) Brooklyn Newsstand Old Fulton NY Post Cards NYS Historic Newspapers (includes Suffolk Historic Newspapers) Includes Suffolk County titles

  • Newspapers for Genealogical Research

    Posted on: April 14, 2017

    Our next genealogy program is on Friday, April 28 at 2:30 pm. In this program, we will explore some of the online newspapers available for family researchers. This program is free and open to all.

  • Descendant Tracing Program

    Posted on: March 30, 2017

    Join us on Wednesday, April 12 at 7:00 pm when genealogist Melissa Johnson will speak on descendant tracing. This program is free and open to all.

  • Translating Italian Records

    Posted on: March 20, 2017

    Join us for our Translating Italian Records program this Wednesday, March 22 at 7 pm. This is an introduction to understanding the genealogical information you can find in typical Italian records. This program is unregistered and open to all.

  • Websites for Irish Family Research

    Posted on: March 6, 2017

    I was asked by a few people for a list of websites for Irish genealogy, and thought that that would be appropriate for the season. I have attached a PDF file listing various Irish genealogy websites to this blog post for anyone to download. You will notice that I have also cited some books on the list. I am including them because not everything helpful for Irish genealogy is available online, and I didn't want some useful resources to be overlooked just because they cannot be found on the internet. Here is the link to the attached file Irish Genealogy

  • United States Military Records

    Posted on: February 13, 2017

    United States military records are useful to genealogists for a couple of reason. Obviously they provide service information, but they can also help in other ways to knock down brick walls.  For example, if a researcher has been unable to find a marriage record for a Civil War veteran whose widow applied for his pension, he might find a marriage certificate included in the widow’s application. Of course, there are no guarantees as to what could be found in such records, but they often contain unexpected items that can be both genealogically useful and simply of interest regarding details of an ancestor. For obtaining a Civil War widow pension, file researchers might want to check first to see what is available on Fold3, which features military records.  The database is free to Connetquot Public Library cardholders, if logged in using the library’s link and library card number.  Fold3 has a wide variety of military records too numerous to list here. Other databases on and also have United States military indexes and records, as well as other related collections such as World War I and World War II draft registration cards.  Links to the National Archives online databases can be found on their website Not everything in the way of military records is available online, so genealogists sometimes have to order records. This generally involves some time and expense. To help researchers understand availability of records, the National Archives has a brief description of their collections on their website: Also, the following links can provide information on ordering records through the National Archives. Civil War veteran records: Older Military Service Records: For more recent military personnel records (20th century), researchers need to contact the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri ( The NPRC is the repository of millions of military personnel, health, and medical records of discharged and deceased veterans of all services during the 20th century. However, a fire in 1973 at facility destroyed approximately 80% of Army personnel records from 1 Nov 1912 to 1 Jan 1960; and, 75% of the Air Force records from 25 Sep 1947 to 1 Jan 1964. Millions of military service files, including those for WWI and World War World II were destroyed. If you are seeking the record of a World War I navy veteran, the chance of surviving records are greater. To learn more about United States military records, I recommend the website It provides researchers with background information along with many links to online sources.

  • Genealogical Resources at Diocese of Brooklyn Archives

    Posted on: January 18, 2017

    Join us on Wednesday, February 8 at 7:00 pm when archivist Joseph Coen will talk about the genealogical resources available at the Brooklyn Diocesan Archives. This program is free and open to all.

  • A Tip for Beginners

    Posted on: November 30, 2016

    An interest in family research always seems to increase after the holiday season. My guess is that it is has something to do with people reminiscing during holiday family gatherings.  If you are thinking about beginning to research your family, the first thing you should do is fill out a pedigree chart, also sometimes called an ancestral chart.  This will show, in tree form, all of your known direct ancestors and the connections between the parents and children among them, along with dates and places of vital events.  I recommend avoiding the temptation to jump into any genealogical research before you do this.  Pedigree charts will help you organize the information you know and understand what you still need to find out in order to fill in blanks and extend ancestral lines. It will also provide those assisting you with the clues needed to advise you on research strategies.  You might think that filling out a pedigree chart sounds like a boring chore, especially if you are excited and motivated about diving right into old records, but in the end it will probably save you time and aggravation, while providing you with an easy to understand diagram of all your ancestors and how they connect with one another. To get started you do not need a fancy form or software. There are plenty of printable forms on the internet, which you can simply fill out by hand.  I have provided some links to free forms, as well as a link explaining how to fill them out.  You might even want to work on a pedigree chart before your family holiday gatherings. It could provide you the opportunity to ask relatives in person for some family information, and who knows what interesting facts and stories might come from such a conversation.

    Pedigree Charts

    National Archives   Mid-Continent Public Library   Brigham Young University Broadcasting  

    Instructions on How to Fill Out a Pedigree Chart

  • Next Genealogy Program

    Posted on: November 4, 2016

  • Reclaim the Records

    Posted on: October 28, 2016

    Reclaim the Records ( is a “not-for-profit group of genealogists, historians, researchers, and open government advocates who are filing Freedom of Information requests to get public data released back into the public domain.” They recently added the NYC Marriage Licenses Index (1950-1995) to the website (  It is also interesting to know what this group is working on acquiring over the next two years.  You will find the list at  If they succeed, we could be seeing some more useful databases in the near future.  

  • Our Next Family History Roundtable Program

    Posted on: October 12, 2016

  • Online Irish Civil Records

    Posted on: September 8, 2016

    Today Irish civil registers were released to, a free website owned and maintained by the Irish government.  The index contains 12.5 records of Irish births (1864-1915), marriages (1882-1940), and deaths (1891-1965). There are currently 2.5 million images of civil records that can be viewed and downloaded.  Before accessing the online index and records, you are required to fill-out an online application which is simply just providing your name and checking a box.  After submitting the online form, you will have instant access. For those who had ancestors living in Ireland during the time of civil registration, you will definitely want to check out  It makes Irish family research a little easier and convenient.    

  • Family Tree Article and Flipster

    Posted on: August 29, 2016

    Family researchers are always interested in discovering new genealogical websites, so I thought it might be helpful to mention that the current issue (September 2016) of Family Tree magazine has an article entitled Out-of- this-World Websites which provides a substantial list. Although you may be aware of, or even regularly use, many of the websites listed, there could be a few you haven’t seen. And you might be happy to know that if you are a Connetquot Public Library cardholder, you are able to view and even download Family Tree magazine free of charge by using Flipster. To do this from your computer, go to our homepage and click on eMagazines which will take you to the Flipster link. At some point will be prompted to type in your library card number. You will find Family Tree magazine in Flipster listed under the category Hobbies, Interests & DYI. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also read the magazines on your device after downloading the Flipster app. Step-by- step Flipster instructions are provided when you go to our Flipster link.

  • Worldwide Indexing Event, July 15-17

    Posted on: July 11, 2016

    The annual Worldwide Indexing Event starts this week. Their goal this year is to have at least 72,000 volunteers index as many genealogical records as possible in a 72-hour period between July 15 and  July 17.  Anyone with a computer and Internet connection can index the records.  You will find more information about the event and how to volunteer by visiting the website

  • FamilySearch Upgrade Message

    Posted on: June 26, 2016

    Because so many visit our library to do family research, I thought I should pass along the following email I received from FamilySearch: FamilySearch has been working hard to upgrade our website to accommodate the ongoing growth of new features, such as hinting in the Family Tree. As a part of this process, will undergo a technical upgrade on Monday, June 27, starting at 12:00 a.m. MDT (6:00 a.m. UTC). The site may be unavailable for up to 24 hours as we test the system improvements. Thank you for your patience as we make these changes. We are excited about this site upgrade and the increased capacity to help people around the world discover their ancestors. Thank You, Want to know more? Join the conversion on our FamilySearch Facebook Page

  • Using DNA in Genealogical Research

    Posted on: May 31, 2016

  • Ordering microfilms through

    Posted on: May 24, 2016

    I have recently been asked a number of questions on how to order microfilms.  Therefore, I thought it would be a good topic to review here. For those unfamiliar with the microfilm program, here is some background information on the program. The website is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). The LDS church has, for religious purposes, been collecting genealogical records for over a hundred years. To copy and preserve the records, as well as to make them better accessible, many records of genealogical value, especially vital records, were microfilmed.  The Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah, has and makes available to all (even non-church members) the microfilms and other resources.  Since not everyone has the opportunity to visit the library in Salt Lake City, the LDS church has established hundreds of family history centers throughout the world where they will send (for a fee) many of their microfilms.  Most of the family history centers are located in Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wards or stakes, however, there are exceptions, and Suffolk Cooperative Library System is one of them. The LDS films can be mailed to Suffolk Cooperative Library System, and they will send them to Suffolk County libraries, such as ours. Before ordering a microfilm, I would highly recommend that you check to see if it has been digitized and available for viewing on the website. The Latter-day Saints are constantly adding new records to this website.  You can easily check this by clicking on “search – records” and looking for the list of those available for the country/region you want. If there is a camera icon next to a record title, it usually indicates the images are there. You should be able to get into it by clicking on the camera.  Another method is to search the catalog for the microfilm you need.  If it is available online, it will be stated in the notes with a “click here” option taking you to the digitized images. If you do wish to order a microfilm, you must first create a account.  Creating an account is free and fairly easy to do.  You will find the link (“Free Account”) at the top right-hand side of the website.  When ordering a microfilm, you will need to be logged into your account.  You will be given the option of a short-term loan or extended loan. Short-term is for 60 days with an additional 30 days given for shipping.  After selecting the loan period, the item will be added to a shopping cart (much like online shopping).  The cost of the microfilms in your basket will be shown and when checking out you have the option of paying by credit card or pay pal.  Make sure to select the family history center (shown on the upper right side) to which you want your films sent.  If you are a Connetquot District resident and want to view the films at our library, you must select Suffolk County Cooperative Library System.  They will forward the films to the Connetquot Public Library. How long it takes to receive microfilms varies quite a bit, but it is usually a minimum of about two weeks.  If you would like to learn more, there is an online video describing the ordering process, which can be found at .

  • British Genealogy Program

    Posted on: May 5, 2016

    Join us on Wednesday, May 11 at 7:00 pm for our British Genealogy Research program. Professional genealogist Melissa Johnson will speak about researching your British ancestors.  This program is free and open to all.

  • Genealogy Show and Tell

    Posted on: April 13, 2016

    Join us this evening (Wednesday, April 13) at 7:00 p.m. for our genealogy show and tell program. Please bring your most interesting genealogical record. Tell us a story about the record or how you were able to obtain it.  You can also just come to learn from other researchers. Everyone is invited to come and share!

  • Research Tip Concerning the German Genealogy Group and Italian Genealogical Group Indexes

    Posted on: April 5, 2016

    At our last Family Roundtable program, Don Eckerle spoke about the vital record indexes available on the German Genealogy Group and Italian Genealogical Group websites. Along with all the other information he shared was an interesting tip on their use.  It could be of help to researchers who have been frustrated by not finding an ancestor in the New York City vital records indexes, but are certain they should be in them.  Don mentioned that if indexers were unable to read a name on a certificate, they indexed the last name as “unknown.”  Therefore, for example, if you know the date of death of the person for whose death certificate you are searching, but are unable to find the person, try searching using “unknown” as the last name along with the known year of death.  If you find an unknown with the exact date you are looking for, or very close to it, it just may be your person.  As a side note,  I also suggest that the website could be checked to see if the person shows up in their indexes, which in most cases have been generated independently using the original records.

  • Free Genealogy Event

    Posted on: March 23, 2016

    The Genealogy Federation of Long Island is having an all-day genealogy event at the Bethpage Public Library on April 30.  There will be two tracks of lectures through out the day and an Ask the Experts panel from 12:30-1:30 p.m. The lectures are free but you must register for the ones you are interested in and bring your free tickets to the event. To register for programs, go to: and in the search box type in Long Island Genealogy Event.

  • Database Program

    Posted on: March 13, 2016

    Join us this Wednesday, March 16 at 7:00 pm for a program about the genealogy databases available on the German Genealogy Group and Italian Genealogical Group websites.

  • A Swedish Family Research Story

    Posted on: March 4, 2016

    After having uncovered some interesting records in my father’s genealogy several years ago, I came up against roadblocks and stopped progressing. I then abandoned my research for about two years and hadn’t looked at Ancestry for myself in that amount of time.  When I accessed the database just this week I searched again the names on the Swedish side of my family and had quite a pleasant surprise with the results.   A whole “LifeStory” appeared for a great- great grandmother who previously disappeared from the records after 1872. I was thrilled when I found that Kerstin Olsdotter lived until 1940 and the ripe old age of 91! She appeared on the Arvidsson-Slakttrad family tree connected through a sibling. This was the result of the database Sweden, Selected Indexed Death Records 1840-1860, 1878-1942 being added to Ancestry.  Previously, the method for searching all Swedish records was to page through the various actual parish registers or church books that are arranged by county, then parish, then smaller place, which was often a farm. The Swedish churches kept track of the people’s life activities in these books. The church books recorded and were divided into books for births (födde), deaths (död), marriages (vigsel), household examinations (husförhör) and also movement into (inflyttning) or out of (utflyttning) the parishes. The arrangement of the books was chronological by place, but prior to 1894 there were no standard forms for recordkeeping. So multiple types of records could be kept in a book and the arrangement was up to the particular parish. Before, in searching Ancestry, you would start at the Card Catalog, go to Sweden, Church Records and drill down a series of menus to get to the book you needed to “page” through and start digitally turning pages, looking through the entries. If you flipped through too quickly, the database would often crash, bringing up a page with a picture of a little boy and a message saying the database was unavailable. I saw that little boy frequently as I got more adept at searching and was apparently going faster than the search engine could handle! In addition to the cumbersome searching method, some of the Swedish cursive is quite ornate and contains some idiosyncrasies we are not used to.  For example, in this record you can see that the third “s” in Isaksson is written differently than the previous two, more like an “f.” Also notice that “Olsdotter” is shortened to “Olsdr.” There was also a local practice of record takers crossing out names to indicate the person moved out of the area or died.  Shortcuts and idiosyncrasies abound and although learning them can be a fun and rewarding aspect of genealogy, it could take many months of hour-long sessions to find a record. So to have these records indexed was a huge relief. There are still plenty of challenges left in Swedish research.   I was excited when I saw the timeline (or in Ancestry-speak, the LifeStory) of my great- great- grandmother’s life, although as any self-respecting researcher knows, you must do the searches  yourself and realize that assumptions may have been made which led to inaccurate conclusions.  I already had some information on Kerstin Olsdotter. Some years ago I had contacted a researcher in Sweden who was willing to search for my ancestors using the database for the Sveriges Dodbok, 1947-2006, which is readily available in Sweden. From him I obtained the birthdates for Kerstin and her son and many dates and details on his life, but could not find her beyond 1872. At that time, she left the farm where she lived with her small son for the large town of Karlsham, which had several industries,and although her son was traceable through his own children’s birth records, she seemingly vanished. So once I found her name in the LifeStory I started re-doing the searches myself. From a record in the database Sweden, Selected Indexed Death Records 1840-1860, 1878-1942, I found that at the time of her death,  she was known as Kerstin Isaksson, my family name. Death Records was added to Ancestry in April of 2015 and updated again just two months later. Before this, I had Kerstin’s birth record, baptism, the record of the birth of her son and her leaving Svalemala, the farm where she lived with him, and nothing else. But with the addition of just this one database and Kerstin’s death date the whole story of her life opened up. Perhaps the reason I was intrigued by this relative was because of the bit of notoriety which surrounded her. We had always heard from my grandfather that his last name could have been Gunnarsson, but was Isaksson instead. He alluded to a scandal but never gave details and I was too young at the time of his death to press further. When I initially started my Swedish research I learned that Carl August Gunnarsson Isaksson (my grandfather’s father) had been born oäkta (meaning illegitimate) and had been given two last names.  Kerstin Olsdotter had lived on a farm (Svalemala) at the time of his birth and according to the husförhör (household survey) there were two possible people who could have been named father to her child. I have since assumed that this was the scandal he alluded to. At this time in Sweden an unmarried mother was sometimes brought to court and asked to name the father of her child. This was to force support of the child on the father. An article from states that from as far back as the early 1800s, about one tenth of the births in Sweden were to an unmarried women. The term “Stockholm marriage” referred to the not uncommon situation of  unmarried couples living together. This was more common in the larger cities and may have been a result of the churches strict requirements for the couple having a certain amount of money before they married. But in the countryside, on a farm, such a situation was most likely still scandalous as the church played a much larger part in rural areas. So had Kerstin been through the court process and refused to name the father? Or had she simply not known? Either way, prior to finding out the details of her life I had assumed, because I could find no record of Kerstin, that she had died early on or simply disappeared, a shamed woman, into an unforgiving society. Although I sensed a courageous spirit, I had always felt a sense of sadness about her life Finding Kerstin’s death date and further records transformed her story for my family because I could trace her name and the concrete events of her life. My cousin always claims we come from a tradition of warrior women and Kerstin’s story was starting to look like a heroine’s journey to me. Whatever you call it, Kerstin Olsdotter had been a single mother working on a farm in the countryside. She left for a larger town fifteen miles away, not a short journey in those times and at 35 began a 56 year marriage to Sone Isaksson.  Was this her son’s father? They shared the same last name as her son and came from the farm she lived  stayed connected to her siblings, even becoming foster mother to her sister’s daughter after her death; and she remained connected to her son her entire life: he is listed on the household survey with her and her husband until age 23, and he and his children took the last name of her new husband, eventually dropping Gunnarsson.  Carl August Gunnarsson Isaksson, Kerstin’s son, and his first several children had always been listed with two last names and he continued to be until his death, but most of his children, including my grandfather, adopted the name Isaksson.  This probably points to Carl’s paternity which I will continue to research.    In addition to Sweden, Selected Indexed Death Records, 1840-1860, 1878-1942, Ancestry added Sweden, Select Marriages 1630-1920 in January, 2014; Sweden, Find-a-Grave Index, 1800s-current, September, 2014; Sweden Select Burials, 1649-1920, January 2014. Let’s hope these pave the way to even more progress on our Swedish research.  

  • Civil War Research

    Posted on: February 18, 2016

    During the Reconstructing a Civil War Life program, our speaker George Munkenbeck recommended the following websites to those researching a New York Civil War soldier: New York State Adjutant General’s Reports: Regimental Histories—New York State: National Archives and Records Administration: Introduction to the New York State Civil War Soldier Database (New York State Archives): Databases (Subscription) Some of records of interested to Civil War researchers are listed under each database. U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865 U.S. Civil War Pension Index U.S. American Civil War Regiments, 1861-1866

    Fold 3 Civil War Pension Index New York Civil War Regiment Lists Civil War “Widows’ Pensions”

    Mr. Munkenbeck also suggested contacting veteran organizations or museums for additional information.  Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library 4278 Griscom Street Philadelphia, PA 19124-3954 Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Museum 629 South 7th Street Springfield, IL 62703      

  • Reconstructing a Civil War Life Program

    Posted on: February 12, 2016

    Join us on Wednesday, February 17 at 7:00 pm for Reconstructing a Civil War Life.  George Muckenbeck, 14th Brooklyn Regiment (Company H) Historian,  will show you how official records, archival documents, and other materials can be used to bring the experiences of a Civil War soldier to life. This program is free and open to all.

  • Links to Genealogical Websites

    Posted on: February 1, 2016

    At our last Family History Roundtable meeting, I distributed a list of genealogical websites for beginners. If you missed the meeting and would like a copy of the handout,  just click on the following link: Websites of Genealogical Interest 2015

  • Beginning Genealogy Program

    Posted on: December 31, 2015

    Join us on Wednesday, January 6, 7:00-8:30 pm for our Beginning Genealogy program. We will show you some of the basic records for tracing your family tree. This program is free and open to all.

  • Manhattan Bodies in Transit, 1859-1894

    Posted on: December 30, 2015

    Recently I was asked what the records referred to as Manhattan Bodies in Transit, 1859-1894 were all about. As the somewhat unusual title suggests, it was a New York Department of Health ledger of corpses that were transported through New York City. The information found in the records are the date of passage through the city, name of deceased, date of death, place of death, place of interment, name and residence of person having charge of the body, cause of death, and sometimes age, nativity, occupation, and attending physician. Perhaps the most notable individual listed in the records is President Abraham Lincoln, whose funeral train passed through New York City on its long journey. The collection is housed at the Municipal Archives in New York City, but it is also available on microfilm through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. It is currently being transcribed and indexed by the Municipal Archives, and the ongoing project can be viewed at

  • Good news concerning

    Posted on: December 14, 2015

    I am happy to inform you that the Fold3 database has been renewed.  You will find the link back on our eResearch Databases list. As before, you can login in to it through your personal computer by using your Connetquot Public Library card barcode.

  • Sad News

    Posted on: December 2, 2015

    It is with great sadness that I report the passing of John Martino of the Italian Genealogy Group.  He was one of the principal project managers and coordinators of the valuable on-line database indexes for New York City vital records and naturalizations, as well as other indexes that can be found on the and the websites and elsewhere.   He spoke at our library about his many projects and often attended some of our other genealogy programs. He was definitely a memorable individual, with his strong yet always amiable personality, and a no-nonsense approach to genealogical projects.   For years he was driven in his volunteer work in making family history records more readily available to the general public, from which most of us have benefited on many, many occasions. On a more personal note, I would like to add that in the field of genealogy, as in most others, you can find plenty of people with grand egos and self-promoting agendas, but John Martino was not one of them. He will most definitely be missed.

  • Thanksgiving Trivia

    Posted on: November 25, 2015

    With Thanksgiving Day being celebrated tomorrow, it seems the appropriate time to mention an interesting fact about the holiday.  Although it has been a widely celebrated holiday in the history of the United States, it was not always a national holiday observed by the states on the same day.  It wasn’t until after the battle of Gettysburg, that President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation on October 3, 1863, naming the last Thursday in November (later changed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the fourth Thursday in November) as the national Thanksgiving Day.  Before then the governors of each state separately declared the day upon which the holiday would fall.  For instance, in 1854 New York and Massachusetts celebrated Thanksgiving on a different day than New Jersey and Pennsylvania did.  So if you had some ancestors in 1854 living in New York City and others across the Hudson in Hoboken, they were probably observing Thanksgiving on different days. [caption id="attachment_1192" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Two parts of an 1854 newspaper article about Thanksgiving Day[/caption]

  • Genealogy Questions and Answers

    Posted on: November 9, 2015

    Join us on Wednesday, November 18 at 7:00 p.m. for our next genealogy program. This month you will have the opportunity to ask a panel of two experienced family researchers your questions. This program is free and open to all.

  • Italian-American Heritage and Culture

    Posted on: October 21, 2015

    Join us for our next Family History Roundtable program on Wednesday, October 28 at 7:00 p.m.  Elena Florenzano will speak on the regions of Sicily, Calabria, and Campania from the 19th and early 20th centuries  up to present day. This program is free and open to all.

  • New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer

    Posted on: October 8, 2015

    The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) has recently published a genealogical research guide to New York State records titled New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer.   The book is chock full of information for family researchers. To give some idea of the overall content of this publication, here are the titles of some of the chapters: Colonial Era, Vital Records, Census Records, Immigration, Migration and Naturalization, Military Records, Cemetery Records, Business, Instructional and Organization Records, City Directories, Tax Records, Peoples of New York, Religious Records of New York, National and Statewide Repositories & Resources. There are also geographically oriented guides for the state counties, New York City, and Long Island.  The book is in our reference collection with the call number R 929.1072 New.

  • Family History Program

    Posted on: September 15, 2015

    Join us on Wednesday, September 23 at 7:00 p.m. for a program on the Irish Potato Famine and Irish immigration to America during the Great Hunger years.   Tom O'Reilly, Ancient Order of Hibernians History,  Culture, & Traditional chairperson, will be our speaker.  This program is free and open to all. 

  • Ancestry Adds Wills and Probate Records

    Posted on: September 5, 2015

    Ancestry has made the following announcement, “More than 170 million pages from the largest collection of wills and probate records in the United States is now available online exclusively on Ancestry. With searchable records included from all 50 states spread over 337 years (1668-2005), this unprecedented collection launches a new category of records for family history research never before available online at this scale in the United States.” Although also has collections of wills and probate records from various states, including New York, I believe they are not indexed (New York, Kings County Estate files is an exception).  For this reason, the indexes to wills and probate records included on the website are a valuable addition.  You can view (Library Edition) free of charge by using a database or internet library computer.

  • Old Fulton NY Post Cards Printing Tip

    Posted on: August 26, 2015

    A library patron mentioned to me yesterday how helpful she finds the Old Fulton NY Post Cards (New York State Historical Newspapers) website in doing her family research. However, she gets frustrated by her inability to print just a single article.  She informed me that she resorts to using a magnifying glass to read the article of interest on the full page of the newspaper that she prints out.  This gives me the idea to pass along some tips I’ve learned about printing from the Old Fulton NY Post Cards website. Before I begin with my tips, let me first mention that I use Internet Explorer as my browser.  I think it opens the articles up in the Adobe Acrobat reader more easily and faster than some others.  My browser choice may or may not factor into the tips I give about printing, but I thought it could be helpful to share that information. Getting back to how to print just a single article, note that when a newspaper page is opened in Adobe Acrobat, you are able to adjust the viewing size of your page (upper toolbar), which will enable you to read the text more easily once you have printed the article.  After you have the article set to the desired size, there are a few options available for printing.  I personally like using the Snipping Tool, which, if your PC has one, you can find by clicking on your computer’s start button, typing “snip” in the Search box of the Start menu, and then clicking on the Snipping Tool that it finds to start the program. The Snipping Tool will let you select an area of the newspaper to copy, so that you can paste it into Microsoft Word or Paint, and then print.  Another way you can copy, paste, and print is by using the computer command keys Alt-PrtScn.  You can also download the page onto the computer, so that when opening it in Adobe Acrobat, it should give you the option in Edit (top toolbar) to “Take a Snapshot,” which allows you to select the article.  Click on “File” (top toolbar), and from the drop down print menu you should see as a print option “selected graphic.”  Hopefully one or more of these tips will be of use and enable you to put that magnifying glass away. And if anyone has a different approach, I would love to hear about it. 

  • Worldwide Indexing Event

    Posted on: August 8, 2015

    The Familysearch Worldwide Indexing Event has arrived (August 7-14), and it lasts for a week. Here is an opportunity for you to join with volunteers from around the world to help “Fuel the Find.”  Using your home computer, you can download a batch of records to index. For those of us who have benefited from the free website, this is an opportunity to give back. More information can be found on their website:  

  • Locate a Loved One Website

    Posted on: July 17, 2015

    The Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn now has a website titled Locate a Loved One, that has a searchable database of interments.  Cemeteries covered in the database are St. John (Middle Village), St. Charles / Resurrection (Farmingdale), Mount St. Mary (Flushing) and Holy Cross (Brooklyn).  It will provide information on the date of burial and plot location for an individual.  The website's address is There is also a Locate a Loved One App for the app lovers among us.

  • Catholic Parish Registers at the National Library Of Ireland

    Posted on: July 8, 2015

    The long-awaited day for Irish genealogists has finally arrived. The National Library of Ireland's collection of Catholic parish registers are now available online. You can view them at  

  • June Genealogy Program

    Posted on: June 9, 2015

    Join us on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. when Dorothy Doherty, National Archives Program Specialist, will discuss the records which can assist you in your genealogical research that are often missed or overlooked. This program is free and open to all.  

  • U.S. Census Records on Mocavo

    Posted on: May 28, 2015

    Someone recently sent me the following information: Mocavo, a FindMyPast company, announced that they have made US Federal Census images free for everyone. They also provide a search engine for all the years from 1790 to1940. To view the website click here.

  • German Surnames Program

    Posted on: May 8, 2015

    Join us on Wednesday, May 13 at 7:00 p.m. for a lecture on German Surnames. This program will provide some insight into the meaning and cultural significance of German names, including the context of genealogical research. This program is free and open to all.

  • Launch date for Irish Catholic Parish Online Registers is Announced

    Posted on: May 2, 2015

    The National Library of Ireland has announced that the online collection of Catholic parish registers will be freely available on July 8th.  To read the announcement click on the following link  

  • National DNA Day is April 25

    Posted on: April 23, 2015

    National DNA Day is April 25 (but being celebrated on Friday, April 24).  I admit that my technical knowledge of DNA is very limited, so I’ll leave the scientific discussions to those more qualified.  Instead I will tell you a personal story concerning DNA and genealogy.  It began when I read a blog article by a genealogist who often writes on the topic of DNA.  I like her DNA articles because they are informative but not too scientific for a lay people to understand.  In one post she lamented that she kept putting off the DNA testing of a cousin, who then unfortunately died prematurely before a DNA test was administered.  Because the cousin was childless, the genetic heritage died with her. This story inspired me to order DNA kits for my uncle, who was the last of my mother’s siblings and the last male of her family.  None of my mother’s brothers had children, so the Y-DNA (passed only from fathers to sons) would be lost when my Uncle Jimmy died.  Fortunately, he was interested and willing to take the tests.  I ordered two kits, an autosomal and a Y-DNA.  I visited him soon after receiving the kits, and brought them along with me.  When I arrived I excitedly mentioned that I had brought them along, and that we could take the samples, but he replied, “Next time you come.”  I was very disappointed, but let it go.  During the rest of the visit he recited all the usual family stories and we had a pleasant visit.  (I feel the need to mention that I recorded his family tales over the years, and they form a significant piece of family history.)  As I was leaving, I thought about that blog article and how procrastination led to the other genealogist’s missed opportunity.  It gave me the courage to try again.  I said, “Jimmy, I have the tests with me.  If you don’t take them now, I’ll have to bring them back again. Let’s get it over with.”   He thought for a moment and then agreed, and in a matter of minutes all the tests were completed and ready to be mailed back.  The next day I got a phone call from my brother informing me that my uncle had suddenly died that morning.  It seemed incredibly eerie that I had his DNA in envelopes sitting on top of my piano waiting to be mailed. About a month or two later I received the test results. It was a melancholy moment because I didn't have my uncle to share the results with.  I admit that the tests have not led to any great genealogical discoveries, but maybe one day they will.  This being National DNA Day I wanted to share my DNA story, and the thought that we should not put off preserving family stories, memories, or DNA, because we never know what tomorrow brings.  If you would like to learn more about DNA testing for family research, here are a few of links that can explain the details better than I:  

  • Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Records Online

    Posted on: April 21, 2015

    If you are researching a Lutheran family in America, you might be interested in checking out the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Records, 1875-1940, added last week to  The collection consists of an index and images of baptisms, marriages, deaths, and burial records from 2, 000 Evangelical Lutheran Churches throughout the country. Some of the churches of local interest are:  Bethany Lutheran Church (72nd Street, Brooklyn), Zion Lutheran (Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn), Trinity Lutheran (46th Street, Brooklyn), and Our Savior’s (Manhattan).  Keep in mind that only records housed at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Archives in Illinois are included.  Many more Lutheran churches, especially still active ones,  have retained their records and you will need to contact them directly for information.  

  • Upcoming Genealogy Program

    Posted on: April 2, 2015

    Join us this Tuesday, April 7 at 7:00 p.m. for a genealogy program about deeds.  This program is free and open to all.

  • and New York City Vital Record Indexes

    Posted on: March 31, 2015

    I learned from Laura DeGrazia, who spoke at our library last week, that has recently added indexes to New York City vital records.  You probably already know that for quite some time indexes to New York vital records are available at,, and  What makes the indexes a welcome addition is that they provide additional identifying information, such as parent names, and in the case of death certificates often the burial place. I can see this being useful not for just narrowing a search, but also in finding records on indirect relatives (For example, discovering sibling marriages using parent names) or just knowing where someone was buried without having to send for the certificate.  However, what information is included in a record varies and there are occasional transcription mistakes (it isn’t always easy to interpret handwriting on some certificates).  The indexes also give you the FHL film number with the link you can click on, which if you have a account makes ordering the microfilm easier. Here are the indexes that were added to on 20 March 2015: New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909; 2,795,113 indexed records, no images New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1866-1938; 1,740,063 indexed records, no images New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949; 6,192,370 indexed records, no images, 

  • Genealogy Program Next Week

    Posted on: March 19, 2015

    Join us on Wednesday, March 25 at 7:00 p.m. for the program Spanning the Great New York Abyss: Connecting Generations When No Vital Records Exist. Laura DeGrazia, genealogist and former editor of The Record (New York Biographical and Genealogical Society publication), will discuss the research strategies and alternative sources that will help locate and link your ancestors who lived in New York before 1880. This program is free and open to all. 

  • Irish Genealogy Checklist

    Posted on: March 17, 2015

    With today being St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a checklist for those of you having trouble finding out what county in Ireland your ancestors were from. These are not the only records to check, but I think they are a very good place to start. Ádhmór ort!  (Good luck to you!) Irish American Genealogy Checklist

  • HeritageQuest News

    Posted on: March 3, 2015

    HeritageQuest Online just sent me the following information: "Tomorrow morning, the switch to the new version of HeritageQuest Online will occur automatically. All existing authentication methods will remain in place and intact. When your patrons log-in to HeritageQuest Online, they’ll soon experience the brand new interface – powered by Ancestry! If they’ve used Ancestry in the past, this interface will have a similar look and feel. From the user-friendly home page to cool and helpful features such as new Research Aids and interactive Census Maps, it’s a whole new, refreshing experience…and it’s just the beginning. Even more improvements will be added in the coming months! "

  • Miscellaneous News

    Posted on: February 25, 2015

    For those of us who were unable to attend RootsTech 2015, we can view some of the sessions by going to the webpage The program videos are free and require no registration to watch. Another tidbit of news is that new episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? (the television show that explores the genealogy of celebrities) will be aired on TLC starting Sunday, March 8 at 10:00 p.m.  The featured celebrities this season will be Julie Chen, Angie Harmon, Sean Hayes and Bill Paxton.

  • Under-utilized Resources at the National Archives Program Canceled

    Posted on: February 11, 2015

    The Under-utilized Resources at the National Archives program scheduled for tomorrow evening (February 12) has been canceled by the speaker due to weather and travel concerns. We will try to reschedule the event at a later date.

  • Random Research Tip

    Posted on: February 4, 2015

    If you discover that a relative’s cause of death was described as being an accident, you might want to check the newspapers to see if there was an article about the incident.  New York newspapers back in the 19th and early 20th centuries seem to have reported such local news more often than today’s newspapers do, although I admit to having no statistics to back-up that claim.  Of course the reason you should bother searching for a news story is because it could shed light on the incident or provide more information about the deceased.  If searching by just the person's name is unsuccessful, I suggest you examine the death certificate for more ideas on useful keywords for your search.  That is because the certificate might give an exact location of death, nature of the accident, or the date of the incident and of course of the death.  These facts might have been mentioned in an article, and if used as keywords can lead to successfully narrowing the search. Do keep in mind when searching newspaper databases, that you often need to be persistent and creative and try many different keyword combinations. I have attached an example of a successful search using Old Fulton Postcards for an article on a fatal drowning accident. Example   

  • Connetquot Public Library Databases

    Posted on: January 22, 2015

    A few library patrons at our last genealogy program were unaware they could access some genealogy databases through our library. I thought this would be a good opportunity to explain how these databases can be accessed through your home computer. Click on the attached PDF to view the instructions.

  • Getting Started Tracing Your Family Tree

    Posted on: January 7, 2015

    If you are new to genealogy you should mark January 14 on your calendar. That is the date we will be having an afternoon program for beginners.  A member of the Genealogy Federation of Long Island will be here to give you a general overview of how to get started.  Feel free to invite your friends and family to attend. This is an unregistered program that is open to all. It will be held in our Community Room at 2:30 p.m. 

  • Genealogy and Calendars

    Posted on: January 5, 2015

    Happy New Year! Here’s hoping that 2015 brings you much success in your family research. The New Year brings to mind the subject of the Julian and Gregorian calendars and how they factor into family research. If you have not encountered the issue yet in your research, here is some background for you.The Julian calendar (introduced by Julius Caesar) was used by most countries, at least European ones, for centuries, but because the calendar was losing about 11 minutes a year (as compared to an actual solar year), or one day about every 128 years, it was considered flawed. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar (obviously named after him) to resolve some of the Julian calendar problems. The general rule is most Catholic countries/regions accepted the new calendar, while others, usually non-Catholic ones, took longer to adopt it, and so there was no universal and simultaneous change in the system of keeping dates. A listing of when various countries adapted the Gregorian calendar can be found at: Aside from the shift in time of the days of the year, another difference between the two calendars is when New Year’s Day is celebrated. The Julian calendar considered March 25 as the beginning of the New Year; the Gregorian calendar changed that to January 1. A common example of how the calendars factor into genealogy is the birthdate of our first president George Washington. He was born in Virginia (an English colony) during a time period when the Julian calendar was still being used in Great Britain. At the time, his birthdate was recorded as February 11, 1731. In 1752, however, Britain and all its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar, which moved Washington’s Birthday a year (the change in New Year’s Day) plus 11 days (the time slippage due to the Julian inaccuracy) to February 22, 1732. Sometimes when you come across a civil record you might see the calendar differences noted. This often happens in biographical entries for George Washington. A related issue that comes up in genealogy is when civil and church record dates conflict. Sometimes researchers unaware of the calendar change mistakenly think an ancestor was baptized before he was born, or that bans were published after a marriage took place. Such discrepancies can sometimes be explained by one date having been recorded by the Julian system and the other by the Gregorian. This is because civil registration dates might have been revised after the change over, but the church records were left in the old system. You can understand why calendars are something worth keeping in mind when doing genealogy especially in the 16th through the 18th centuries.  

  • A Special Family History Present

    Posted on: December 17, 2014

    It seems that the older I get, the harder it is for me to answer the question, “What do you want this Christmas?”  I know my usual answer of “nothing” isn’t helpful, but it really is truthful.  My father use to say the same thing to me when I’d ask him, and out of frustration, I usually bought him a box of gold toe socks.  After he died and I cleaned out the house, I found a treasure trove of gold toe socks, many of which were never even taken out of the plastic boxes. I realize now, I probably should have just listened to him when he said he needed nothing.  A few years ago, however, I did think of two things I really wanted for Christmas. One was a photo of my great-grandfather, and the other was a postcard photo of my grandmother, as a young woman, with her cousin Willie posing in an automobile in a photographer’s studio. My grandmother's uncle was the photographer and studio owner, which gave the postcard added meaning.  The reason these items were special to me was because when I would visit my grandmother, she would often show them to me when relating her family stories.  I decided to ask my uncle, Jimmy, who still lived in the family house, if he could either give me the photos or make copies of them for me.  I informed him that they would make the perfect gifts for me.  My uncle, who was a life-long bachelor, was not much of a housekeeper or well organized, and because of that, I had little hope of him fulfilling my wish list. He informed me that he thought they had probably gotten damaged somewhere along the line, and we just left the conversation at that. Last Christmas season when I visited with my uncle, he gave me a plastic store bag with papers in it.  He said he thought I might find the contents interesting.  I looked through the bag but after seeing a cremation certificate for a dog, another uncle’s old resume, my mother’s Pitman shorthand award, and other miscellaneous items, I am ashamed to admit that I just placed the bag and its contents into a back bedroom closet. I hadn’t gone through it again until my brother asked me last week, if I had a particular family document.  I pulled out the plastic store bag my uncle had given me, I went through it again. This time I was more than pleasantly surprised, because a postcard slipped out from between two sheets of paper.  It was the very same postcard I had asked my uncle for, the postcard of my grandmother and her cousin sitting in an automobile. I suspect he didn’t even know it was in with the items he had given me.  My uncle died several months ago, and if I were the type of person who believed in holiday magic, I might think my uncle were saying to me, “Here’s your Christmas present.”  So, maybe the best gift I will get this year came wrapped up in a plastic supermarket bag.  Thanks, Uncle Jimmy!  Here’s hoping that the readers of this article will also receive a family history gem this year. Happy Holidays!

  • Digitization Project for Irish Catholic Parish Records

    Posted on: December 5, 2014

    There is big and exciting news for Irish family researchers. The National Library of Ireland is digitizing their entire collection of microfilmed Catholic parish registers.  The plan is to to make the records freely available online by summer 2015.  The library's press release with more details about the project can be found by clicking on the following link National Library of Ireland.    

  • FamilySearch Photoduplication Service

    Posted on: November 24, 2014

    I received an email stating that FamilySearch has discontinued their photoduplication service.  The service will cease on December 5, but only orders that were received on or before November 22 will be fulfilled.  The reasons given by FamilySearch for dropping the service are their digitization of records and new partnerships.  This news is especially disappointing for those who relied on the service for copies of New York vital records because it was convenient, fast, and free.  Of course, there are other ways to order copies of New York City vital records, but none are free.  I also doubt FamilySearch will digitize the New York City vital records, at least not soon, so it is a great loss for researchers. 

  • Italian Genealogy

    Posted on: November 17, 2014

    If you are just beginning to research your Italian-American roots, I have attached a bibliography to help you get started. If there is something you think should be added, please email me and let me know. I hope to revise this list in the near future with some of the suggestions I receive.  Helpful information for Italian family researchers

  • Handwriting Analysis for Family Researchers

    Posted on: November 3, 2014

    The deadline for submitting a handwriting sample has passed. Thank you to all who sent us a sample of an ancestor's handwriting for this week's program (Thursday, November 6 at 7:00 p.m).  Even if you did not submit a handwriting sample, you should consider attending because Paula Feldman, an expert graphologist, will discuss not just the specific handwriting samples, but she will also give general instruction on how to analysis handwriting in general.  

  • Oakdale Historical Society

    Posted on: October 22, 2014

    Genealogy and local history often go together.  For this reason, I thought those with family roots in Oakdale might be interested in knowing that Oakdale has a fairly new historical society. The Oakdale Historical Society meets every third Tuesday of the month at 6:00p.m. at Dowling College (Study on the first floor of Fortunoff Hall). The group has a Facebook page where they post events and interesting facts about Oakdale local history. You can view their page by clicking on the following link:

  • Organizit: Reducing your Genealogical Paper and Digital Clutter

    Posted on: October 14, 2014

    Join us on Thursday, October 16 at 7:00 p.m. when Rhoda Miller, a certified genealogist, will provide you with tips on how to reduce your paper and digital clutter.   This program is free and open to all.

  • Irish Genealogy

    Posted on: October 2, 2014

    At the last Irish Family History Forum meeting held at the Bethpage Public Library, Joseph Buggy, genealogist and author, gave two excellent presentations on Irish genealogy. The first lecture was about researching your Irish ancestors in New York City, and the other was on more advanced techniques and resources for Irish genealogy. Mr. Buggy, who has spoken at our library, is an authority on Irish family research and hails from County Kilkenny, Ireland, so he is very knowledgeable about the townland, parish, and civil administrative practices on that side of the Atlantic. If you are researching an Irish family and missed these lectures, do not despair. You will find Mr. Buggy’s book, Finding Your Irish Ancestors in New York City (929.1 Buggy) in our nonfiction collection. He also has a website, "Townland of Origin," at with lots of information on resources and news items relating to Irish genealogy.

  • New Ellis Island Website

    Posted on: September 24, 2014

    If you have searched for a passenger list this month, you might have been surprised, as I was, to see that the website has been seriously revamped. First of all, when you type in the address, you are redirected to This is because they have combined the previous sites for Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Wall of Honor, and Flag of Faces into one webpage. You will also notice that you are required to re-register before searching the passenger lists. The username and password you previously used to view the passenger lists through the website will not work. Registration is free, but there is a more commercial feel to the new website. If you are one who prefers using the Gold Form, the good news is that it seems to work fine on the site, but again you will need to re-apply for a new username and password before being able to view the information. I am reserving my opinion on these changes for now, and just encourage you to check it out. However, I feel it appropriate to remind you that also has New York City passenger arrival lists.

  • Handwriting Analysis for Family Researchers Question

    Posted on: September 22, 2014

    A couple of people asked if the handwriting expert for our November program would be able to analyze the handwriting of someone who wrote in a foreign language. I asked Paula Feldman, who will be giving the program, this question, and she informed me that it is possible for her to analyze writing in a foreign language. She told me that just like in the English language, foreign script might have slanting, spacing, or other variations that can provide clues about the writer’s personality. However, she said she is unable to analyze handwriting in a different alphabet (such as Chinese or Cyrillic or possibly old German). Remember that you can submit your ancestor’s handwriting sample beginning October 7th. Only the first 15 samples submitted will be included in this program.

  • How to Research at the Municipal Archives in New York City

    Posted on: September 15, 2014

    If you researching ancestors who lived in one of the five Boroughs of New York City,  you will want to attend this week's program (Wednesday, September 17, 7:00-8:30 p.m). Carol Proven, who has taught genealogical classes at St. Joseph’s College, will inform you about the valuable genealogical records housed at the Municipal Archives. She will also provide tips on how to prepare for a trip into the archives and demonstrate how the knowledge of the history of Ellis Island can enhance your research.  A case study will be included in the program.  

  • A National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

    Posted on: September 9, 2014

    In October, the National Archives will host a live, three-day, virtual Genealogy Fair via webcast on YouTube. The free program offers family history research tools for all skill levels on Federal records including census, American Indian, military, naturalization, and immigration. For complete schedule and participation instructions, visit the Virtual Genealogy Fair website at  

  • HeritageQuest Online Upgrade News

    Posted on: September 4, 2014

    A major upgrade to HeritageQuest Online is planned for release in 2015.The following additions to content are scheduled for future release: A complete U.S. Federal Census collection with name indexes and images for all decades, 1790-1940. These will be every-name indexes. Additional US Census Schedules with name indexes and images, including: ?1850-1860 Slave Schedules ?1890 Veterans Schedules ?1850-1890 Non-Population Schedules ?1885-1940 Indian Census Rolls ?1850-1885 Mortality Schedules A complete Revolutionary War Era Pension Files and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files collection, i.e., NARA M804. Exact name, SOUNDEX, wildcard and phonetic searches for the US Census and other datasets. There will likely be additional new features in the upgrade, but specific details are not available at this time. 

  • An Irish Genealogy Website

    Posted on: September 3, 2014

    Someone mentioned to me that she recently had a breakthrough in her Irish family research when using the website Ireland Reaching Out  (  Because so many of us Irish family researchers are always interested in hearing about new ideas and success stories, I thought I would pass along her news. The website Ireland Reaching Out is part of an Irish government sponsored initiative established several years ago to help those of Irish heritage connect with the Irish parish from where their ancestors originated from.  Although it is a free volunteer-led service, you need to register and answer questions before receiving research assistance or advice.  If you don't want to take advantage of their service, you still might want to check out their listing of Irish resources by county. You can view that directly by going to

  • Update on IGG and GGG Indexing Projects

    Posted on: August 18, 2014

    Don Eckerle, of The German Genealogy Group and John Martino, of the Italian Genealogy Group, are wrapping up their current project of indexing the New York City death records (New York City Department of Health) from 1949 to 1962. The purpose of the project is to bridge the gap between the earlier New York City Municipal Archives death index and the Social Security Death Index.  If all goes as planned, the new death index will be available in about six months.  Of course John Martino and Don Eckerle, being two of the most energetic and enthusiastic people in the genealogy field, have another future project planned. What’s next? They are hoping to index federal criminal records.  As always, they need volunteers, so  If you have time and would like to help them out, you can contact them through the websites or

  • Free Webinar on United States Church Records

    Posted on: August 6, 2014

    I just received the following information that I thought might be of interest to some. "The Family History Library will present a free webinar for all who are interested in learning how to use United States church records to help them expand their family history research efforts. This webinar is part of a series of webinars that will be made available on a monthly basis through the coming year." This webinar will take place on August 14th at 6:00 p.m. mountain standard time (8:00 p.m. standard eastern time). To join the webinar go to: on August 14th.

  • Central Islip Hospital Cemetery Restoration Project

    Posted on: July 24, 2014

    The Central Islip Hospital Cemetery Restoration Project is looking for volunteers for Sundays, July 27 and August 2 at 9:00 a.m. to assist with cleaning, mapping, photographing, and documenting headstones. Participants will meet in the Touro south parking lot, the lot closest to the cemetery. If you would like to learn more about this ongoing project, visit the website

  • Who Do You Think You Are?

    Posted on: July 23, 2014

    The popular celebrity family history series Who Do You Think You Are? returns to television tonight (July 23rd) on the TLC channel. For more information go to the website  

  • Worldwide Indexing Event

    Posted on: July 18, 2014

    On July 2, 2012, a total of 49,025 FamilySearch indexers and arbitrators joined together to set the all-time record for the most indexing participants in a single day.  This Sunday (July 20th) FamilySearch is hoping to break that record. This year's goal is to get 50,000 volunteer indexers and arbitrators submit at least one batch each in a 24-hour period. If you would to participate in this event, visit the website to find out how you can.

  • Genealogical Databases

    Posted on: July 14, 2014

    Join us tomorrow (July 15th) at 2:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room, for a program about the major genealogical databases (, Fold3, and HeritageQuest) our library subscribes to.

  • Fold3

    Posted on: July 8, 2014

    The Fold3 database has been restored for us.  You should be able to access it again from your home computer by logging in using your library barcode. If you have any problems, please call us and ask for adult reference. 

  • Fold3

    Posted on: July 3, 2014

    The Fold3 database is currently not allowing full access. We have notified them of the problem and hopefully this issue will be resolved soon. 

  • Library Edition Update

    Posted on: June 19, 2014

    I have not received any official word on this, but it appears that Library Edition database is working again. 

  • Message from concerning Library Edition Outage

    Posted on: June 18, 2014

    "Around 1:30 p.m. MT on Monday, June 16, 2014, attackers targeted Ancestry with a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS). During the attack, Ancestry websites along with the Find A Grave website were clogged with massive amounts of bogus traffic that took the sites down." is working to restore all services as quickly as possible.

  • Program

    Posted on: June 17, 2014

    Join us this Thursday (June 19th) at 7:00 p.m. when we explore the genealogical website This event is free and open to all.  It will be held in our Community Room.

  • Pennsylvania Death Certificates on

    Posted on: June 9, 2014

    Someone asked me how she could obtain a death certificate for a relative who died in Pittston, Pennsylvania in 1910. She was delighted to learn that just this past April, added Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1924, to their online collection. She was able to obtain her ancestor’s death certificate free of charge by using within our library building. To learn more about these records go to

  • A Happy Ending for Some Old Photographs

    Posted on: May 21, 2014

    Years ago I rescued a box of old photographs (mostly from the 1920s and 30s) that my father was looking to throw out. Although many of the photos were of my direct relatives (father and grandparents), there were some of my father’s uncles, aunts and cousins. Even though I dislike holding on to what could eventually become clutter, I decided to keep all of the photographs. Recently I connected with a second cousin through, who was delighted to learn that I had pictures of her direct ancestors, and asked for copies of them. I scanned and emailed them to her, and I later noticed that she had posted them onto an historical website for Duryea, Pennsylvania to share with many others.  The website has a significant collection of old Duryea photographs, many of them family snapshots, but there are also others of buildings and various events. It is a website that would interest both genealogists and local historians. I am very happy to know that the photos my father was tossing out found a good home, and that they can now be viewed on So, next time you are tempted to send old photographs to the landfill, keep in mind that the internet might help you reunite your photos with their subject families and maybe even an entire community.

  • Genealogists' Declaration of Rights

    Posted on: May 14, 2014

    The National Genealogical Society unveiled at their conference last week a Genealogists’ Declaration of Rights.  The declaration is a statement advocating open access to federal, state, and local public records.  You can read more about the NGS declaration by going to the website  

  • Tracing Italian Immigrant History to the Italian Present

    Posted on: April 29, 2014

    Join us this Monday (May 5th) at 7:00 p.m. when Dr. Salvatore Primeggia, a professor of sociology at Adelphia University, will speak on the history of Italian immigration to America. This lecture is free and open to the general public. This event is made possible through the Speakers in the Humanities program with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

  • New Indexing Project

    Posted on: April 22, 2014

    John Martino of the Italian Genealogy Group in Bethpage has informed me that he will be looking for volunteers to help with a project to create an online index to the records of Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.  It is planned that the indexing process will be done directly online, and volunteers will be able to choose how much time they wish to devout to this project as they go along.  If you are interested in signing-up to volunteer, or if you would like to learn more, you can contact the Italian Genealogy Group at

  • Extra! Extra! Extra!

    Posted on: April 8, 2014

    Brooklyn Public Library has announced that they have finished digitizing the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper from 1903-1955. The full run of the newspaper (1841 to 1955) can now be found at The old Brooklyn Daily Eagle website will be phased out next month. 

  • Question about Books

    Posted on: April 1, 2014

    A couple of people, who attended our last Irish genealogy program, asked where they can find two Brooklyn genealogy books by Joseph Silinonte. Below is a list of Suffolk County public libraries that own these books. If you plan on going to these libraries to view the books, it is advised that you contact them ahead of time to check on availability because some local history rooms have limited hours. Bishop Loughlin's dispensations, Diocese of Brooklyn: genealogical information from marriage dispensation records of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, Kings, Queens, and Suffolk Counties, New York. Brentwood Public Library (Local History) East Hampton Public Library (Local History) Sachem Public Library (Long Island Room) Smithtown Public Library (Long Island Room) Tombstones of the Irish Born: Cemetery of the Holy Cross Flatbush, Brooklyn. Connetquot Public Library (Reference 929.5 Silinonte) Center Moriches Library (Long Island History) Mastic Moriches Shirley Community Library Patchogue Medford Public Library (Reference Area) Riverhead Free Library (Reference Area) Smithtown Library (Long Island Room) East Islip Public Library (Local History) South Country Library  

  • Irish Genealogy for Beginners

    Posted on: March 25, 2014

    Do you want to know where in Ireland your ancestors came from? Maybe you have already looked into it, but you find yourself at a dead end. If so, join us this Thursday (March 27th) at 7:00 p.m. when we present some useful resources that might help you find out where in Ireland your ancestors were from.

  • A Different Approach Story

    Posted on: March 12, 2014

    I always enjoy it when someone shares with me a different research approach that has helped them to break through a genealogical brick wall. It definitely helps me become a better researcher.  For that reason, I thought I would share an interesting success story that I encountered recently. I was asked by someone this week to help her find a family in the 1940 U.S. Federal Census.  After exhausting all the advanced search options on, she needed another approach. We decided to try to find the family by their address. However, the woman didn’t know what the family’s street address was in 1940, only that they lived in Brooklyn. To get the street address we went to the New York Public Library’s online Brooklyn 1940 telephone directory at Unfortunately, the surname wasn’t listed in the Brooklyn telephone directory, as not everyone had a telephone back then.  We had to find other avenues of research. Finally some good news appeared, namely that the head of household was in his 50s in 1940, and therefore he was listed in database U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942. This database consists of the World War II draft cards for older men in the age range of 45-65 (World War II draft cards for younger men are not available yet), and provides the address at which they live. Using that address and Stephen Morse's ( 1870-1940 Large-City ED finder, we found the potential enumeration district number of interest. Moving on to the 1940 census index page, we used the enumeration browse function on the right side of the page. I couldn’t believe our luck when we found the family on the very first census page for the enumeration district.  It is very nice to have a challenge that forces you to approach a problem differently, and it is especially rewarding when you are successful.  It made my evening.

  • Irish Historic Graves Project

    Posted on: March 3, 2014

    If you are researching Irish families, you might be interested in learning about the Historic Graves project. It is a community-based project consisting of volunteers who are currently taking photographs of tombstones in Irish cemeteries and uploading them onto the website This alone promises to make it valuable to family researchers, but it also contains some even more interesting features.  Volunteers are uploading old and new surveys and recorded audio and video stories of cemeteries.  There is no fee to search or view the contents on the website.  However, don't be surprised if you don't yet see an ancestor's headstone.  This is a fairly new, but on-going project. 

  • Local Genealogy Groups

    Posted on: February 20, 2014

    Since there seems to be more and more people getting started with their family research, I thought it would be helpful to list the websites of some of the more active local genealogy groups. These organizations usually have monthly meetings and lectures, and some even have help sessions for groups or individuals. It is suggested you visit the website of each individual group to learn more about what each one offers their members.  German Genealogy Group Irish Family History Forum Italian Genealogical Group Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island Genealogy Workshop of the Huntington Historical Society  African Atlantic Genealogical Society  

  • Rootstech Syllabus Materials

    Posted on: February 10, 2014

    If you would like to learn about some of the topics that were featured at Rootstech, a family history technology conference hosted by FamilySearch, the handouts are available at: They are being made available for free download for limited time. 

  • New York Vital Records Indexes on Ancestry

    Posted on: January 24, 2014

    Last week Newsday (January 16th issue) reported that the New York City vital record indexes are now available on  Although these indexes are new to Ancestry, they have, in fact, been available for years on the and the websites.  Adding these indexes to Ancestry’s vast collection will certainly make it convenient to search them along with other records, but if you would like to search the New York City vital records free from your home computer, you will have to use them on or  But if you really want to search them on Ancestry, don’t forget that you can use Ancestry free of charge within our library building.

  • Fold3

    Posted on: January 14, 2014

    I am happy to report that full access to the database Fold3 has been restored. If you have any problems using it, please call us at 631-567-5079 and ask for the reference desk.  

  • Genealogy Program

    Posted on: January 14, 2014

    Join us tomorrow evening (January 15th) at 7:00 p.m. when Don Eckerle will talk about the online indexes on the German Genealogy Group and the Italian Genealogy Group websites.  Come to this program and learn how you can search the indexes more efficiently. Don will also answer any question you might have about the indexes. This program is free and open to all.

  • Fold3

    Posted on: January 7, 2014

    Currently Fold3 is allowing Suffolk Cooperative Library System libraries access only to the Holocaust Collection. SCLS is working on the issue and I will post any updates on this matter on our blog.

  • New York State Genealogical Research Death Index added to FamilySearch

    Posted on: January 2, 2014

    Back in January 2013, I wrote a blog article about the New York State Genealogical Research Death Index on the New York State Department of Health website. It contains information on deaths that occurred in New York State (excluding New York City) between 1957 and 1963. The time span is rather recent and short, but any free online New York State vital records index is a welcomed addition. This month FamilySearch added the index to their online collection at, which is helpful, because you can now search it at the same time as all other indexed FamilySearch records. Of course, keep in mind that the actual death certificates are not be available for viewing on FamilySearch or anywhere else, just this index to them. Those wanting to order a relative’s death certificate will still have to go through the New York State Department of Health. Information on ordering a New York State death certificate can be found at:

  • Yearbook Index Project

    Posted on: December 5, 2013

    If you are interested in volunteering for a genealogy project, you might want to consider the following.  The German Genealogy Group (, a nonprofit organization, has created an online Yearbooks & Commemoratives index.  The group states on their webpage, “The database includes teachers, administrators, graduates, and random grade students compiled from high school yearbooks, college yearbooks and various student lists and commemoratives. “  Currently the database includes 365 yearbooks and commemoratives of schools from all around the country.  If you still have your high school or college yearbook and would like to include it in the database, you can email the group at and request their indexing template file, which is in Excel format.  This will be emailed to you, and after you have completed entering the names, you will email the spreadsheet back to them.  You can do all the indexing work at home on your own computer and at your leisure.  When you are finished, your name will be added to their list of contributors on the “credits and thanks” page.  If you would like to check out the database, here is the link:

  • Gmail Translation Feature

    Posted on: November 21, 2013

    If your family research requires emailing foreign archives or government agencies, you might be interested in knowing that Gmail has a translation option. When you receive a message in a language you don’t read, Gmail can instantly translate it for you.  Here is how it works.  When Gmail automatically detects that the message sent to you is in a language other than your default language, a box will appear at the top of your email. Click on “translate message” and, voila, your message will be translated into English. Of course it usually won’t be a perfect translation, but you will certainly get the gist of the message. If you don't have a Gmail account, you can, of course, copy and paste email messages into any of the free online translating services, such as Babelfish, Google Translate, or Bing Translator; but if you already do have a Gmail account, the translate feature is a nice convenience that allows you to eliminate those extra steps.

  • Genealogy Program this Wednesday

    Posted on: November 11, 2013

    Join us this Wednesday (November 13th) at 7:00 p.m. when Dorothy Dougherty of the National Archives will discuss the various types of United States military records held within the National Archives and how to order records based on service dates and location of the records. She will also review the nature of the information to be found within the records.

  • Using Addresses

    Posted on: November 4, 2013

    In the current edition of Family Chronicle (Nov/Dec 2013) there is an article by David A. Norris entitled Forwarding Addresses from the Past.  In the article, Mr. Norris discusses ways of finding old family addresses and how the information can be helpful in researching the history and former owners of an old home or other building.   If you would like to read the article, we subscribe to Family Chronicle, and you can find it in our periodicals section. On the general topic of using addresses in family research, I would like to share a tip of mine.  I sometimes type addresses into newspaper databases to see if there were any articles related to the people I’m researching.  I will occasionally find interesting tidbits of information doing this.  A lot of times the information is not directly related to the family I’m researching, but stories may come to light regarding interesting goings-on at that address.   I have found articles on murders and accidents that occurred in tenements that my ancestors were living in at the time.  This has given me some insight into the neighborhood and the environment of a relative. One of my favorite databases to research an address in is the newspaper database of the website called Old Fulton New York Old Postcards (  I use the exact phrase search option for this.  The one problem that can occur in doing this type of search is that some addresses are common to many different areas of New York.  For example, if you were researching “24 Rose Street” in Manhattan, your search results will probably include articles about 24 Rose street in Albany, Ithaca, Yonkers, and more.  You will then have to sort through the all the results looking for the locale and time period you are interested in.  It appears that the Old Fulton New York Postcards newspaper database doesn’t allow you to narrow down the exact phrase search. So I would encourage you to keep addresses in mind during your research on the internet.  It can be another angle in finding out more about your family, and it may also provide you with a glimpse, sometimes surprising, into your ancestor’s environment. 

  • Databases for Family Research

    Posted on: October 23, 2013

    You are probably aware of the genealogical and historical newspaper databases available through our library.  If you are not familiar with them, go to our website( and click on Databases, and then Genealogy for a listing of what is available to you. Besides this fairly broad collection of genealogical and historical databases, we also subscribe to others that might be helpful to you in your family research. As an example, below is a link to a video demonstrating how an encyclopedic database was used in researching an archaic medical term.  Of course, it is always tempting to just “Google” to find some quick information, but if you are writing your family history, you might want to make sure to find material that you know is from a credible source worth citing in your footnotes or bibliography.

  • Upcoming Program

    Posted on: October 11, 2013

    Join us this Thursday, October 17th at 7:00 p.m. for our There's Life in Long Island Cemeteries program.  Rhoda Miller, a certified genealogist and past president of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island, will take you on a tour of various types of cemeteries and lead a discussion about historic gravestones.

  • Genealogy Forms

    Posted on: September 25, 2013

    Genealogy charts and forms are necessary if you want to stay organized and focused in your research. It's important to find ones that work best for you and to keep updating the information on them.  Someone recently asked me if I would give her a blank copy of my pedigree chart for her to use. She likes my "old fashion symbols."  I decided to make the chart available for everyone.  If you would like to download it, just click on the following link: pedigree chart.  Also, the Mid-Continent Public Library has available on their website lots of free and useful genealogy forms.  You can access them at  

  • Case Studies: Finding the Kernel of Truth in the Family Myth

    Posted on: September 6, 2013

    Join us on Wednesday, September 11 at 7:00 p.m. when Joysetta Pearse, certified genealogist and executive director of the African Atlantic Genealogy Society, will present case studies illustrating how through her research she was able to sort out what was true and what was not.

  • German Genealogy Group Website

    Posted on: September 3, 2013

    The German Genealogy Group website has been revised.  New online databases were added and searching has been made faster and easier. A couple of the new and exciting additions are the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church ( Williamsburg, Brooklyn) and the Fresh Pond Cremetory indexes.  The search engine has been improved and now a researcher can search all the church indexes at once.  This makes it much faster to find information in their databases.  To see the new website go to:

  • National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

    Posted on: September 3, 2013

    The National Archives sent me the following information that I thought might be of interest to some: National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair, September 3rd & 4th

    For the first time ever, the National Archives will host a virtual Genealogy Fair with live lectures and chat via the website UStream and a call-in genealogy help line.

    Lectures:  This two-day program will showcase tips and techniques for using Federal records at the National Archives for genealogy research. Lectures are designed for experienced genealogy professionals and novices alike.

    Genealogy Help Line:  Call with your genealogy questions during the fair on our special hot lines. National Archives staff will be available from 1 to 4 p.m. eastern daylight time (EDT) on September 3 and 4.

    -Toll Free at 1-855-309-8404

  • Naturalization and Immigration Information

    Posted on: August 26, 2013

    Last week as I was helping someone with his research using naturalization records and passenger lists, I thought that it might also be helpful to others if I mentioned some books and resources on the topic. Although this is not meant to be a comprehensive list of resources, hopefully it will give those starting their research some ideas on what is available.


    929.1 Quillen, Mastering Immigration & Naturalization Records 929.1 Colletta, They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor’s Arrival. Both of these books provide details on what information is available on how it can be obtained.

    Background Information

    R 304.873 Brownstone, Facts about American Immigration. This reference book discusses the immigration of various ethnic groups to America with explanations on why they came and where they settled. The articles also contain charts, graphs, photos, and illustrations. Particularly useful to genealogists are the resources listed at the end of each entry.

    Online Passenger lists and Naturalization Records The site contains extensive passenger lists and naturalization records. It is free when used within our library. Fold3 This has various passenger and naturalization records. Connetquot Library card holders may access it free by logging in through our database link and using their library barcode. Ellis Island A database of 22.5 million arrivals to New York between 1892 - 1924. This is free, but you must register to view the digitized passenger lists. Castle Garden A database of the passenger list information of those arriving into New York between 1855 and 1890. Stephen Morse This site provides search engines that give more options for searching the Ellis Island and Castle Garden records. Italian Genealogy Group German Genealogy Group Both the Italiangen and theggg have free online indexes to naturalization records.

    Online Books for Background Information

    Google Books: I like getting a sense of what an ancestor experienced, so for this reason I look for books written in the time period on the topic I am researching. To do this, I use the advance search in Google Books ( I limit the publication date by using the “return content published between” option and I also select the “full view only.” Using these search techniques, I was able to view the following books that were all written in the 19th century: Wiley & Putnam's Emigrant's Guide: comprising advice and instruction in every stage of the voyage to America.  Handbook for Immigrants to the United States prepared by the American Social Science Association. Irish Emigration to the United States by Stephen Byrne The Irish Emigrant’s Guide for the United States by John O’Hanlon

  • BookScan Station

    Posted on: August 12, 2013

    Recently a family member contacted me and asked if I could send him a copy of a photograph I have. It reminded me of a tip given at our last program. Our speaker, Kathleen McGee, mentioned that we should share our documents and photographs with other family members in order to have them in more than one place. That way if our originals are destroyed or lost, we would still have access to the copies.   With this thought still fresh in my mind, I was happy to fulfill my relative’s request.  In the past, the chore of scanning and sending items would have made me procrastinate in fulfilling such a request.  However, now that our library has an easy-to-use BookScan Station in the reference department that makes scanning and emailing a snap, I don’t hesitate any more. If you haven’t used our BookScan already, here is a link that will demonstrate just how fast and easy it is to use   In just a minute or so you can store or email copies of your prized family photographs or documents, and in doing so ensure that future generations will also be able to enjoy them.

  • Building-Structure Inventory Files

    Posted on: July 30, 2013

    If you are interested in local history, you might want to check out the Building-Structure Inventory files we have added to our online collection. The Information in the inventories varies, however they often include construction date, architect, previous owners, current condition, and its historic significance.  This can be particularly useful in researching the history of a house in our area.  Here is the link to the files:

  • Disasters Happen Program

    Posted on: July 12, 2013

    Join us this Tuesday, July 16 at 7:00 p.m. for our program Disaters Happen: Learn How to Protect Your Genealogical Records.  Kathleen McGee will give you ideas and techniques for safequarding your records. She will also inspire you to get serious about preserving your records for future generations.  

  • Update on Ordering Records From the FHL Photoduplication Unit

    Posted on: July 10, 2013

    I was informed by the Family History Library Photoduplication Unit that they will no longer process a request unless it is submitted on the new form.  Click the following link to be taken to the new request form

  • Local Newspaper Death Notice Index

    Posted on: July 1, 2013

    Like many researchers, I have gathered valuable information on my family through newspapers. My experience has inspired me to work on preserving the death notice information available in local papers.  To this end, I have started an obituary index consisting of some of the local newspapers for the Connetquot area. The newspapers I am including are mainly the Ronkonkoma Review and the Islip Bulletin. If I am unable to find an edition of the Ronkonkoma Review, I use the Brookhaven Review because it appears that both editions ran the same death notices. Since gathering the information from older editions is done on my own limited time and requires me to visit other libraries, I am reluctant to attempt to estimate when the project will be completed, but you can view the ongoing work-in-process by clicking on the following link:

  • New York City Marriage Certificates: A Question And Answer

    Posted on: June 19, 2013

      Someone contacted me recently asking for advice on a genealogy research problem she has. The problem is a fairly common one for New York City family researchers, so much so that I thought it might be helpful to share my advice to her with others.  Here was her question: “Using the on-line indexes on, I found a citation that I was sure was the correct one for my great-grandparent’s marriage certificate.  However, when I received the certificate from the New York City Municipal Archives, I realized that, although the bride’s name matched, none of the other information did, including the groom’s name. Unfortunately, this particular index entry didn’t include the groom’s name, so I didn’t know before obtaining the certificate what the name was. I find no other entries in the online indexes that look right. How can I get the correct certificate? “    Here is my response.  There are several possible reasons why you are not finding the correct civil marriage certificate.   The first could be that the record was incorrectly indexed.  There are several potential reasons for that happening, the details of which I won’t bother discussing for fear of getting too far off track. What you need to do is work with the wild-card and sounds-like search options that are available on the marriage indexes.  Be very creative when you try to think of how a name could have been misinterpreted by an indexer or even the minister or official filling out the record. Since you know the groom’s name, try searching for him and checking the bride cross-references.  You might be more successful using his name.    A second possibility for why you still are not finding the marriage of interest is that the marriage did not actually take place in New York City.  Try to see where the bride’s family was living around the time of the marriage. Some suggestions for tracking down a family are to look for them in census records, city directories, or newspapers.  If for example they are listed in census records as living in New York City (i.e. Manhattan) or Brooklyn close to the time period you think the marriage occurred, check the appropriate city directories for the bride’s father to find out the family’s address. Or you might want to first try looking for a marriage announcement in a newspaper. If your great-grandparents marriage took place between 1835 and 1877, try looking in the Index to Marriages and Deaths in the New York Herald. You could also search on-line newspaper websites such as the Library of Congress Chronicling America website at  or Old Fulton NY Post Cards   A newspaper marriage announcement often states specifically where the marriage took place.    A third possible reason why you are not finding a civil marriage record is simply that one might not exist.  Many 19th century New York City marriages, and even some later ones, particularly those performed in Catholic churches, are not included in the county clerk’s office registries. Whether intentional or not, more often than many researchers assume the minister who married the couple simply did not file a marriage certificate (“Return of a Marriage,” not a license) with the municipal authorities, even though they were required to by law, and a couple was not required to obtain an actual license to get married before 1908. By the way, these licenses, which are available at the municipal archives, but are not included in the usual on-line indexes, are another resource in themselves, if you are searching 1908 or later.    If you have searched diligently and creatively without success, and believe the marriage you are looking for may not have been filed with the city, you should consider looking for the religious record of your ancestor’s marriage, because it might be the only record that exists. Use an address provided by a census record or city directory to figure out possible churches the family might have attended. Churches and their addresses were often included in city directories, which will help you, figure out which ones existed and where exactly they were located during the time period you are interested in.  If the church still exists, even if it has moved, contact them to see if they have a record of the marriage in their registry. If so, always remember to ask for all the information contained in the original church book entry.

  • Green-Wood Cemetery Program

    Posted on: June 6, 2013

       Join us on Tuesday, June 18, 7:00 p.m. for our Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery program. This is the cemetery where many famous and common New Yorkers who died during the second half of the century are buried. Jeff Richman, Green-Wood Cemetery historian, will speak on what makes this cemetery so interesting. He will also discuss the cemetery records that are available to family researchers.

  • Who Do You Think You Are?

    Posted on: May 28, 2013

        This summer the popular genealogy program “Who Do You Think You Are?” returns to television. TLC will air eight episodes, which are scheduled to premiere Tuesday, July 23rd at 9|8c .  Some featured celebrities will be Christina Applegate, Kelly Clarkson, Cindy Crawford, and Chris O’Donnell, with additional subjects to be announced.  For more information go to the TLC webpage at

  • Difficult Case Studies in Genealogy

    Posted on: May 15, 2013

        Join us Thursday, May 16 at 7:00 p.m. when genealogist Tony Lauriano will speak on some of the more challenging genealogy cases he has researched. Mr. Lauriano will use as examples some case studies on families of Italian, Irish, French, and Jewish ethnic backgrounds.

  • Flashlight Method: A Simple Way to Digitize Slides

    Posted on: May 8, 2013

       Many of us with an interest in genealogy become, by default, the family archivist. This can be a challenge, because as technology changes, we sometimes need to update our collections by converting items into other formats. Take the case of (photographic) slides, for instance. Many of us have acquired them from our families, but perhaps neither we nor the people we want to share them with have a slide projector to view them. And wouldn’t it be much nicer these days to be able to view them on a computer or tablet?    Recently someone mentioned to me that she wanted to digitize slides. Although there are places that provide this service, many companies expect you to accept the idea that the slides might get lost or damaged in the process. She wondered if there was any way for her to digitize them herself. I had never tried doing this myself, but since I had a box of slides home, I decided to experiment.    The first method I tried was to scan slides using a flatbed scanner. I found directions and tips on the Internet for doing this. I even made an origami-like box out of white paper, that was recommended to use as a light diffuser, and I tried three different scanners (although none had any special scanning features), but I was unhappy with all my results. I even attempted to adjust the resulting scanned images with computer software, but the results were unsatisfactory, and I decided it was better to look for a different method.    Someone suggested I project the slides and then photograph them. This seemed like a good idea; unfortunately I had thrown out my slide projector years ago. The idea though led to the concept of just illuminating the slide from behind and taking a photograph of it. How could I do that? Well, I thought why not try just shining a light behind a slide (maybe with a piece of white paper behind the slide as a light diffuser) and then taking a picture of it. I tried what I will call my flashlight method of slide digitization, and though the results may not be perfect, I was pretty content with this technique. It produced a decent image, cost me nothing, and was easy and fast to do. Of course, I could probably get even better results if I built or purchased a light box, but at some point I need to stop myself from getting too carried away. Attached were the steps I took in digitizing some of my slides Flashlight Method: A Simple Way to Digitize Slides  

  • American Revolutionary War Records

    Posted on: April 18, 2013

       Someone recently asked the following question:  I was told that an ancestor of mine served in the American Revolutionary War.  How can I confirm this?    There are a few online databases that our library subscribes to that have records that might confirm whether or not your ancestor served in the American Revolutionary War.  Below are the three databases I would recommend checking. Heritage Quest                                                                                                     Available records: Revolutionary War Era Pensions Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files          To limit your search in Ancestry to just Revolutionary War records, try doing a keyword search for Revolutionary War in the Ancestry catalog.  Here are some of the records they have that might be of interest: U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls U.S. Sons of the American Revolution Membership Application, 1889-1970. American Revolutionary War Rejected Pensions  Fold 3    In this database I recommend narrowing your search by going to their American Revolutionary War Archives.  Some of the pertinent records included in the collection are the following: Revolutionary War pensions Service records You can get free access to Heritage Quest and Fold 3 by going through our database links and typing in your library card barcode number when prompted.  The library edition of can be used for free, but only when accessed within our library building.

  • Digital Public Library of America

    Posted on: April 8, 2013

        The Digital Public Library of America project is being touted as the perfect marriage between Google Books and the public library system. It will make its official debut on April 18, appropriately during National Library Week. Although it is hard to evaluate this free online archive until it is seen, it promises to have potential for being useful to genealogists and history buffs. This is mainly because there is an impressive list of libraries with significant history collections contributing to this project which include the New York Public Library, National Archives and Records Administration and Harvard University. You can learn more about this project by going to the website

  • New England Genealogy Program

    Posted on: March 20, 2013

    Join us Thursday, March 21 at 7:00 p.m. for our New England Genealogy program. Marie Scalisi, a professional genealogist, will discuss the significant records of the region and how they can be obtained.

  • Another Irish Case Study

    Posted on: March 19, 2013

        In my last blog article, I discussed how I found out where in Ireland my great-grandfather (paternal line) was born.  To find out my great-great-grandmother’s (maternal line) Irish county of birth, I had to use a different approach, because Mary Shea ( Bowler) was known to be born about 1845, approximately two decades before the Irish civil birth records began.  According to family folklore she was born in Kenmare, County Kerry and immigrated to the Five Points neighborhood of New York City in the 1870s. Shea is  a common County Kerry surname, so I kept this in mind, but I began my research by going through New York City records, not Irish records.  I first looked at Mary’s 1907 death certificate at the Municipal Archives in New York City.  This gave me important identifying information, in particular the names of her parents (Jeremiah Shea and Mary Murphy).    A relative informed me that Mary Shea married John Bowler in 1874 in New York City, but I could not find a civil marriage certificate. It is fairly common not to be able to find a civil record for New York City Catholic marriages that occurred during the 19thcentury outside of national (ethnic) churches.  For that reason, I contacted the church directly (luckily my mother knew which one it was), and they gave me the complete information from the registry book.  Because church registries will sometimes include the county or town an immigrant was born, you should ask for this information when communicating with the church.  Unfortunately, the registry for Transfiguration Church did not include that information.    My next step was to look at Mary Shea’s headstone, as it was a fairly common custom for Irish immigrants to have stated on their tombstones where in Ireland they were born.  The death certificate of Mary Shea Bowler said that she was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, Queens, so I looked in Rosemary Muscarella  Ardolina’s books Old Calvary Cemetery: New Yorkers Carved in Stone and Second Calvary Cemetery: New Yorkers Carved in Stone (R 929.5 Ardolina) to see if it listed my ancestor.  Unfortunately, it did not.  Therefore, I went to Calvary Cemetery to double check for if a headstone existed, but there was none, again not an uncommon occurrence for the old grave of an immigrant.    I then searched for a death notice in New York City newspapers.  Death notices for Irish immigrants sometimes include the county of origin. I visited the New York Public Library and searched through New York City newspapers, including the ethnic newspaper Irish- American, for a notice, but did not find one.  It is quite possible, that she did not have one in any paper.  Other resources I looked at with no success were the New York Emigrant Savings Bank Records and the Search for Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements.    At this point, seemingly running out of leads and resources, I gave up on Mary Shea and decided to turn my attention towards a sibling of hers who also immigrated to New York City. Her sister’s name was Ellen and I knew that she had never married.  Being unmarried with no children and having worked all her life, Ellen probably left money to relatives when she died. My hope was that she had a will that listed relatives in Ireland.  I found Ellen’s death certificate at the Municipal Archives in New York City, and armed with her date of death, I went upstairs to the Surrogate’s Court.  I requested to see her will, and finally I hit paydirt!  It did indeed list her nephews and nieces in Kenmare, County Ireland. I was able to confirm I had the right person, because my great-grandmother Charlotte O’Donnell was listed as having received a dollar from her aunt, a fact that gave me something else to think about and to research, but that’s another story.  

  • Irish Genealogy

    Posted on: March 11, 2013

       Since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, I decided to revisit the topic of tracing Irish families.   Because both my parents were of Irish heritage, I have a fair amount of experience in Irish genealogy.   When I started researching my family, I, like many other beginners, did not know where in Ireland any of my ancestors had come from.  Some of my living relatives had ideas, but they had no documentation to confirm their hunches.  Through perseverance and a little luck, I was able to find records that stated the counties of origin, and for each family I researched, it was through different record types that I made those discoveries.  Over the course of the next few blog entries, I will discuss how I figured out which county in Ireland each of my families was from.    My first successful attempt at this research was for a great-grandfather who was born in Ireland in 1864.  It was a bit of good fortune for me that Patrick Fitzpatrick was born in Ireland during a time period when Irish civil records existed.  If my great-grandfather had been born before 1864, there would have been no civil birth records, and pursuing the research further would have been more complicated.  Although I had little knowledge of my great-grandfather, relatives I interviewed gave me important clues for tracking down his birth record.  One told me that Patrick died in 1934 in Port Jervis, New York, so I requested and received his death certificate through the Port Jervis City Clerk.  The death certificate gave his date of birth and his parent’s names.  Although the year of birth on his death certificate would later prove to be incorrect (a common occurrence because this information is given by some other than the person it is about), the month, day, and parents’ names were correct and served to be invaluable for finding the birth record.  I also obtained Patrick’s marriage record, which confirmed his parents’ names and gave me the correct year of birth.  Twenty six years ago, when I did this work to track down Patrick Fitzpatrick’s birth certificate, the research was more complicated and time consuming than today, because the website did not exist.  Back then I had to go through microfilmed indexes at my local Family History Center (LDS).  Now, all I would need to do is go to www. and type in my great-grandfather’s name and birth date along with his parents’ names, and I would instantly find out that he was born in Ferns, County Wexford, Ireland.  For those who are looking for an Irish ancestor born from 1864 onward, I suggest beginning your search on the website (a free website run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).  In my next couple of blog entries, I will discuss my more complicated Irish family research cases.

  • National Archives at New York City

    Posted on: March 5, 2013

    The National Archives at New York City reopened last month in its new facility at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at One Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan.  You can find information about the new center on the website  At this new facility, NARA will be giving free genealogy lectures. For a list of their spring 2013 programs go to

  • Yet Another Photoduplication Update

    Posted on: February 25, 2013

        It did not take long for the Family History Library's Photoduplication Unit to become inundated with requests after they began their digital copy email service. Last week I received an email from them informing me that they are "swamped" and that the time frame in fulfilling requests is now 4-6 weeks. This is not a problem for me because, like many other seasoned family researchers, I have learned to be patient when waiting for records.

  • Researchers Helping Researchers

    Posted on: February 20, 2013

    Come to our informal program (Thursday, February 21 at 7:00 p.m) to share a personal experience or  just to gain some new insights and advice. This will be a fun opportunity to learn from one another.

  • Boolean Searching and Old Fulton NY Postcards Historical Newspapers

    Posted on: February 12, 2013

         Someone commented that he gets too many results when searching for articles in the Old Fulton NY Postcards historical newspapers database (  I suggested that he try using the Boolean search option which allows a researcher to combine words or phrases by using the terms AND, OR, NOT to narrow or broaden search results.  This could be helpful in narrowing your search by combining your ancestors’ surnames and place of residence. For example, if you are looking for the Kennedy family that lived in Hyannis Port, you might try in the Boolean search option the terms Kennedy AND Hyannis Port.  On the other hand, if you are not researching the Kennedys of Hyannis Port and too many of your results were for this family, you might try the terms Kennedy NOT Hyannis Port.  What I find particularly useful for family research in the database is the Word Proximity capability.  This gives you the ability to search for words within a certain proximity to each other.  So, if I were looking for articles on John Kennedy, I could use John w/1 Kennedy.  This commands the search engine to look only for articles that have the names John and Kennedy within 1 word of each other.  It will eliminate hits where the name John and Kennedy just happen to appear on the same page.  Of course, if I thought there might be a middle name or initial used in articles, I might use w/2 instead, so articles on John F. Kennedy are not excluded.  To narrow the search even more, try combining commands.  For example, you can search using the following string of words: John w/2 Kennedy AND Hyannis Port.  For articles concerning John F. Kennedy’s wedding, you might include the name of the bride and word “wedding. “     There is no one set formula for best making use of the Boolean search. You might have to try several terms before you locate what you are looking for. However, this type of search should help you find articles more effectively in the Old Fulton NY Postcards historical newspapers. You can also use Boolean searches in some other online newspaper indexes such as the New York Times Historical.   Click for Examples of Boolean Searching If you would like more tips on searching the Old Fulton NY Postcards go to

  • Another Family History Library Photoduplication Update

    Posted on: January 29, 2013

    Just when I thought ordering Family History Library copies couldn't get easier, it just did.  To request digital photocopies from the Family History Library you can now e-mail your request to  You also no longer need to use a  form; however, if you would like to use the old form, you may. To read more about this exciting news go to:

  • Norwegian Genealogy

    Posted on: January 19, 2013

    Join us on Thursday, January 24 at 7:00 p.m when the Sons of Norway will speak on how to research Norwegian ancestors. At this program, you will be introduced to some of the Norwegian records available to researchers.

  • A Follow-up on Ordering Copies from the Family History Library

    Posted on: January 15, 2013

    On January 4, 2013, I posted that the Family History Library in Salt Lake City was emailing copies of requested records to those who provide them with an email address. I mentioned that I could not find either in my inbox or spam, the email that the Photoduplication Unit said they sent me. I thought I had accidently deleted it, perhaps due to not recognizing the sender. Shortly after that post, I followed up by faxing them another request for different records, and last night I received from the Photoduplication Unit an email with the requested copies that I was given 14 days to download. Below is the way the email appeared in my indox:

     The turnaround time was so short that I almost could not believe it was from them.  So I am happy to report that I was very satisfied with my second experience with this new ordering procedure.  It’s definitely a major improvement over the old snail mail system.

  • An Online New York State Death Index

    Posted on: January 11, 2013

    I just noticed that there is online genealogical index for deaths that occurred in New York State (excluding New York City) from 1957 to 1962. It is listed on the website An online New York State death index seemed like exciting news, so I contacted the New York State Department of Health and asked if they had plans to add more years to the index. They informed me that because of staffing and fiscal constraints, they have no plans to continue the project.

  • New Procedure for Ordering Copies From the Family History Library

    Posted on: January 4, 2013

    A few weeks ago, The Family History Library Photoduplication Unit sent me a refund check and a message informing me that they had emailed me the copies of records I had requested. This confused me, because for many years the procedure was that you filled out the Request for Photocopies form, enclosed a check (two dollars for each record), and about a month later, the records would arrive in a large envelope. I was unaware that the procedure had changed, and when I checked my email I did not see any message from the Family History Library. I mentioned this to someone who had the same experience; however she found the sent records to her in her email inbox. The email with the attached records was sent from the Photo Duplication Services, and the subject line was "Photoduplication Shared". In my case, I do not know if the email went to my spam folder or if I accidentally deleted it because I did not recognize the sender. I called the Family History Library and asked them to explain the new procedure. They informed me that they now email records without charge to those who provide an email address on the form. The Request for Photocopies form still has to be filled out. It must be faxed or mailed, but not emailed. Unfortunately, they were unable to resend the email that had been sent to me. In spite of my first negative experience with the new procedure, I welcome the change as it promises to be more convenient, money saving, and even environmentally friendly (if records are not printed out). You can find the form for requesting copies at

  • Preserving Family Holiday Recipes

    Posted on: December 22, 2012

    The Thought occurred to me as I was doing some holiday baking, that I am the only family member with my mother's recipes. As someone interested in preserving family history, I thought it was unfair to the rest of the family, that I should be the only one with them. Sometimes I get so focused on extracting information from other family members, that I forget that I also hold some valuable information. Also, everyone in my family knows I have the family pedigree charts, but they might not know I have mom's recipes and photographs of her cooking. So, I plan on creating a cookbook that will also include photos. By searching the internet, I discovered plenty of websites and blogs with interesting ideas for creating family cookbooks and albums. I figure by next holiday season, everyone in my family will be getting an additional present from me.

  • Irish Genealogy News

    Posted on: December 10, 2012

        Last month the National Archives of Ireland launched a new genealogy website. You can read about the new site and the plans to add even more records to it at

  • Questions and Answers about Obituaries and Death Notices

    Posted on: November 28, 2012

    What information can I find in a death notice or an obituary? It is impossible to say for certain what information you will find in every case.  However, a typical death notice or obituary usually includes the following information: date of death, cemetery, and where the memorial service was or is to be held.  Sometimes other information on the deceased could be given such as the place of birth, names of close relatives, occupation, home address, cause of death, club or association memberships, and military service.  Often what are referred to in newspapers as obituaries are simply death notices.  An obituary is more like a news article, and will provide more details on a person’s life than a death notice normally does.  Both death notices and obituaries can provide valuable information, but keep in mind that you could spend a lot of time searching for one, only to conclude that it may not exist.  My own experience leads me to believe that I had many more ancestors who did not have death notices than those who did. How do I find an obituary or death notice? First ask relatives if they have the obituary or death notice you are interested in. This can save you a lot of time.  If no one has it, you will need to find out the date and place of death of the person you are looking for.  Once you have that information, you might try searching in our online newspaper and genealogy databases.  A listing of our databases can be found by clicking on our database tab on our homepage at   Another suggestion for doing online searching is the Fulton Postcards newspapers website at  This free website contains a database of many New York State newspapers.  If you are looking for a death notice on someone who resided in New York City, the New York Herald in particular is a good newspaper to check. An index to the New York Herald death notices is available on some versions of Unfortunately, it does not seem to be included in the Library Edition.  However, a book index (Index to Marriages and Deaths in the New York Herald compiled by James Maher) is available at the Patchogue Medford Public Library.  For the extensive former German-speaking community in New York City in the 19th and early 20th century, the New Yorker Staats-Zeitung contains many interesting death notices, though rarely, if ever, did they mention places of birth, and a printed index to the early period (1836-1870) has been published (Index to Marriage and Death Notices in the New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung, 1836-1870, compiled by Frank Biebel). This book is also available at the Patchogue Medford Public Library.  If you would like to know what newspapers are available through interlibrary loan, I suggest that you search the New York State Library catalog at  The state library will often loan their newspapers on microfilm to public libraries, like ours.  These are just a few suggestions on how to locate an obituary or death notice.

  • Favorite Genealogy Websites

    Posted on: November 9, 2012

    Thank you to everyone who participated in our last Family History Roundtable program. As promised, I am posting the links to some of the websites that were mentioned at the last meeting.  Click here

  • Voice Your Opinion

    Posted on: October 25, 2012

    Remember to email us the links to your favorite genealogy websites. We will share them at our next Family History Roundtable program on Tuesday, November 6 at 7:00 p.m. Send your recommendations to:

  • Questions About Pedigree Charts

    Posted on: October 19, 2012

    Because pedigree charts are an important part of organizing and sharing our family information, I thought these questions and answers about them might interest you. Should women be listed under their married or maiden names?  Women should always be listed under their maiden names. If an ancestor's maiden name is unknown to you, write the first name followed by empty parentheses. Should I write the middle name or just use an initial? If you know the individual's middle name, you should write it out rather than using just an initial. How should I write the dates? The dates on a pedigree chart should have the day first, the month next, and then all four digits of the year.  For example, if an ancestor was born on February 5, 1919, you should record the date on your pedigree chart as:  5 Feb 1919 (do not write any periods or commas).

  • Houses Can Talk Program

    Posted on: October 10, 2012

    Join us on Wednesday, October 17 at 7:00 p.m. for a program on how to find information on an ancestor's house. Our speaker will be Carol Maguire, the former Executive Director of the Huntington Historical Society. Although Ms. Maguire will focus on researching homes in Suffolk, Nassau and Queens Counties, her techniques and tips can be applied to other geographical areas. The program will be held in our Community Room. If you have any questions, please call 567-5079 and ask for Diane Haberstroh.

  • New England Historic Genealogical Society

    Posted on: October 1, 2012

        You may have noticed that we have added American Ancestors to our listing of databases. American Ancestors is a collection of genealogical databases created by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.      The NEHGS is a genealogical society that was founded in 1845 and is dedicated to collecting and preserving American family histories.  Although their main focus is on New England genealogy, they also have resources helpful to those researching families outside the New England region, including New York.  Some of their databases can be viewed for free through a home computer, but others require you to register online or to become a paid member to view the information.  However through our subscription, you can view the member-only databases (all except for the “external databases”) by using our in-house database computers in adult reference.      If you have not used the American Ancestors databases, I encourage you to try it out. It contains many different types of records, and it includes more than just New England resources. Information and tips on searching the databases can be found at

  • The National Archives NYC Update

    Posted on: September 19, 2012

    The National Archives at New York City is moving to their new office at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House (One Bowling Green, New York City) in mid-October.  The last day for business at 201 Varick Street will be October 4, 2012. They are expected to re-open at their new location in early November.  You can find more information about their move by going to the website

  • New York Vital Records Program

    Posted on: September 10, 2012

    Join us this Wednesday, September 12 at 7:00 p.m. for a lecture on how to obtain New York birth, marriage and death records. Our speaker will be Jean King, a librarian who teaches genealogy classes for Nassau Community College's continuing education program.

  • Free Online Genealogy Learning Center

    Posted on: September 7, 2012

        Would you like to learn more about genealogy in the convenience of your own home?  If so, check out the website It contains the largest collection of genealogical courses on the internet. They have lessons designed for beginners and more advanced genealogists and the topics range from finding United States military records to how to decipher German script. Some lessons are taught by experts at Family History Library in Salt Lake City, but many others were contributed by experienced members of the genealogical community.     To  search for a lesson you can use a search box at the top of the webpage. Filters on the left side of the page will help you narrow your search and see all the classes that relate to your topic of interest. The lessons vary in format from e-learning, slides or video, but one thing they all have in common is that they are free. So, if you would like to learn more about genealogy this might be a website you will want to check out.

  • ED/AD Census Finders

    Posted on: August 29, 2012

         Some people have mentioned to me that they have been unable to find ancestors in censuses using the name indexes. If you are one of those people, I would recommend, but only if you have an address for your ancestor, to check on the Stephen Morse website at to see if he has an ED/AD finder tool for the particular census (federal or New York State) you are interested in. I admit that sometimes it can be time consuming to search for someone using the address method, but don’t let that discourage you.  For me, the challenge of finding someone in the census this way always feels much more rewarding than had I found my ancestor using the name indexes.

  • Newspapers for Local History and Genealogy Research

    Posted on: August 22, 2012

    If you have an interest in Long Island genealogy or local history, you should check out these newspaper databases we subscribe to: Newsday (1940-1984) Newsday (1985-present) Suffolk Historic Newspapers New York Times Historical Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online    All of the above can be freely accessed through your home computer or mobile device. To do this, you will need a valid library card and to follow these steps: 1)      Visit our website at 2)      Select Databases 3)      Choose Newspaper Articles 4)      Click on the name of the database you would like to search and when prompted to  type in your Connetquot Public Library card number.    Another database I find worthy of mentioning is the Old Fulton New York Postcards located at: This is a free website, which I wrote extensively about in a previous blog entry (January 9, 2012), and it includes lots of historical newspapers for many areas of New York State, including Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn.    If you are researching long Island history or families try out these databases.  Old newspapers can contain a treasure trove of information for local historians and genealogists.

  • Surname Mapping

    Posted on: August 14, 2012

            A common goal for many family researchers is to find out where an immigrant ancestor came from.  It is usually easy to discover what country someone was from, but pinpointing the county, town or city of origin can be challenging. To help narrow down the possibilities there are some surname mapping tools on the Internet. When using these sites, you should keep in mind that there is the chance that your ancestor did not live in a place where his/her surname was common. Also, some databases obtain their information from modern telephone listings, not historical directories. However, my experience leads me to believe that most European families remain in a geographic area for generations, so the information can still be helpful. Below is a list of some surname mapping sites:


    Publicprofiler: Worldnames An online surname tool that plots 330 million surnames in 26 countries, showing the origins of the names and where families have moved to.  It is a free website, but you do have register with providing an email address.

    Germany and Austria

    Geogen This Maps out both German and Austrian surnames by using telephone directories.


    Irish Ancestors This gives the number and location of households of a surname in Ireland during the time period of 1848-64.


    Gens A surname database that shows the areas of Italy where a surname is found. The information comes from Italian phone directories.

    Czech Republic

    Kde Jsme Maps show where in the current Czech Republic a surname appears.


    Moikrewni A cross-sectional map will show you the distribution of a surname in Poland.


    L’encyclopedie des noms de Familles

  • 1940 Census Index

    Posted on: August 7, 2012 announced several days ago that the 1940 U.S. Federal Census is now fully indexed. You can view the announcement and read some interesting facts about the 1940 census by going to the following link:

  • Mug Books

    Posted on: August 1, 2012

        At our last Family History Roundtable program a woman mentioned that she found information on her family in a mug book. Someone asked her if she was talking about the books at police stations that contain photographs of criminals, but that was not at all what she meant. According to the A Field Guide to Genealogists, mug book is a slang term meaning, “a county or commemorative history with biographies containing portraits.”  Most mug books were produced in the late 19th century by various publishing companies throughout the United States. Usually the books contained biographies on early settlers or prominent business men of a specific county in the United States. Because the books were sold through subscriptions, publishers usually included more biographical entries on living people who bought subscriptions, than on deceased individuals. The subscription rates varied depending on the length of a biography and whether a portrait of the individual was included.     The easiest and quickest way to find out if a mug book exists for an area is to simply search Google Books (  They have digitized a good selection of these books, but before you search, it helps to know the names of some of the mug book publishers. The most prolific publisher was Chapman (some years listed as Chapman Brothers). Other companies were L.H. Everts (some years listed as Everts and Abbott), D.W. Ensign and Lewis Publishing.  A search for a mug book for Suffolk County, New York, was found in Google Books by using the keywords Chapman and Suffolk County. Other places you can check for mug books are Heritage Quest (see our database links), and Internet Archive ( Of course, you can also go the traditional route and contact libraries with local history collections and historical societies.     If you have an ancestor who held some significance to an area, you should definitely check to see if he appeared in a mug book. It might provide you with valuable information.  As Chapman Publishers stated in all their prefaces, “coming generations will appreciate this volume and preserve it as a sacred treasure, from the fact that it contains so much that would never find its way into public records, and would otherwise be inaccessible.”  I think that nicely sums up mug books.

  • Fold3 Database News

    Posted on: July 25, 2012

    EBSCO Publishing has sent us the following news item concerning their Fold3 database. We are pleased to announce that in the next few days, some important enhancements will become part of your Fold3 search experience: Filtering The most significant change to the Fold3 user interface involves the ability to filter on the key facets that customers have requested:  Documents Categories and Titles in the left column; Dates, States, and Added in the Past (how recently the document was added to the collection) in the center column. It will also be much easier to decide to include or exclude documents that have no specific date or state associated with them. Viewing            During the beta test for these enhancements, respondents overwhelmingly chose to group pages from a single document into one result, rather than showing them as individual hits. This enhancement will allow for quicker visual scanning of results to find the most relevant documents. Mini-viewer An addition to the current Fold3 viewer (which has not changed) will be a mini-viewer to make it faster for researchers to decide if a document is worth exploring further. The mini-viewer will let the user view all the pages of the document, rotate the document, and zoom in and out. The «View Larger» button on the mini-viewer will take the user to the full Fold3 viewer with all of its features, including printing and downloading an image. In addition, users will still be able to access the full Fold3 viewer by just clicking on a document thumbnail, without going through the mini-viewer. Please visit EBSCO's Support Site ( to learn about all of EBSCO's products, search among thousands of FAQs, download Flash tutorials, Help Sheets or User Guides, or communicate with Technical Support at any time, using the EBSCO Online Support Form from the top right corner of th

  • Swedish Family Research

    Posted on: July 12, 2012

         For those of you researching Swedish ancestors, you might be interested in reading an article in the current issue of Family Chronicle titled “Extending  the Swedish Family Tree”.  The article was written by Leslie Huber. You might remember that she has  spoken at our library.  In her article, she explains the steps she took to discover information on her Swedish family. If you would like to read Leslie’s story or any of the other Family Chronicle articles, you will find the magazine in our periodical section of the library.

  • Ancestry's New York State Census Records

    Posted on: June 21, 2012

       At our last Family History Roundtable program, I mentioned that the 1915 and 1925 New York State censuses are now available and indexed on Here is my suggestion on how to locate them in in order to search them individually. Place your cursor over the Ancestry’s (library edition) search tab. From the drop down menu that will appear, you should select card catalog. Type in the keywords for the census you want to search. For example, if you want to view the 1915 New York State census, you would use the following keywords: New York State census 1915. Using the catalog in Ancestry may also help you find other collections by interest that you may not have known existed. If you would like to see screenshots demonstrating how to find the New York censuses in Ancestry, click on the following link: How to Find the New York State Censuses in Ancestry

  • New York State Census Program

    Posted on: June 12, 2012

    Join us on Wednesday, June 13 at 7:00 p.m. for our next Family History Roundtable meeting in our community room. At this program, we will discuss the New York State Censuses.  If you have any questions please call 631-567-5079 and ask for either Janet Eagan or Diane Haberstroh.

  • 1940 Federal Census Indexed for New York State

    Posted on: June 6, 2012

    Good news for those who have been unable to locate their New York ancestors in the 1940 census. (including the library edition) now has a name index for the New York entries. Keep in mind that you can access (library edition) free of charge on any of our library's database or internet computers.

  • Questions and Answers on Naturalization Records

    Posted on: May 30, 2012

    Since we just had a program on Ellis Island and questions on immigration-related records did come up, I thought this might be a good time to answer some of the commonly asked questions concerning naturalization records. What information will I find in naturalization records?  Will it tell me where my ancestor came from? It is impossible to state exactly what information you might find in a naturalization record.  However, as a general rule of thumb, naturalizations that occurred from September 26, 1906 on usually include the country and town of birth.  Before the federal government took control of naturalizations, the state and local courts were where immigrants went to be granted citizenship.  During this earlier period, New York naturalization papers generally just give a country of origin, but there can be exceptions.  For German immigrants before 1871, when certain naturalization forms were being used, the ruler of the German “state” that they were leaving is often named, which localizes them somewhat to an area of Germany. How do I find naturalization papers? You can start your search by going through the online naturalization indexes available on the following websites: Fold3 (You can access Fold3 for free by logging in through our database listing and then typing in your library barcode. This site not only has naturalization indexes but also has some of the actual National Archives immigration records.) Ancestry  (You can access this for free through our in house databases). Did everyone have to become a citizen? No, some people never did.  It was not required.  On the other hand, some people were granted citizenship automatically.  Up until 1922 a woman who married a citizen automatically became one and so did the underaged children of a naturalized citizen. I didn’t find my ancestor in the indexes. Does this mean he never became a citizen? No.  Remember that earlier naturalizations, before 1906, were handled by state and local courts. It is possible that your ancestor’s records are in a court that has not been indexed.  Also, keep in mind that names could be misspelled in the indexes or even on the actual records.  The federal census records from 1900-1940 might be of help to determine whether and when an alien obtained citizenship, since there were question regarding that on those censuses. Is the signature on the declaration of intention immigration papers that of my ancestor? Some people are impressed by their ancestor’s penmanship on the declaration of intention. Unfortunately, at least in the New York area in the 1800s, that is probably not their ancestor’s signature or handwriting.  The declaration of intention in many local courts was recorded in books, filled out by a clerk, but signed by the immigrant.  These original books containing the actual signature remained in the courthouse.  When the final papers were being submitted, a court clerk would typically copy all the information, including the immigrant’s signature, onto a new declaration of intention form, and submit it with the petition for naturalization.  So the declaration of intention found in the naturalization file often has the signature written by the clerk, but the signature on that final petition for citizenship should be the genuine signature of the immigrant.      

  • Ellis Island Program

    Posted on: May 18, 2012

       Join us on Thursday, May 24 at 2:00 p.m. for a program on Ellis Island. Our speaker will be Barry Moreno, a librarian and historian at the Statue of Liberty National Monument and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. He is the author of a number of books, including The Encyclopedia of Ellis Island, Italian Americans, Ellis Island’s Famous Immigrants, Children of Ellis Island, and Castle Garden & Battery Park. Mr. Moreno will share his stories and knowledge about the experiences many immigrants had entering through Ellis Island. He will also be available to answer any of your questions.

  • Some Websites for New York Researchers

    Posted on: May 12, 2012

       A couple of weeks ago, someone new to genealogy asked me to recommend websites that could help her obtain information on her New York ancestors.  I suggested our genealogical and historical newspaper databases.  These can be viewed for free by anyone within our library building, but only Connetquot Public Library cardholders can login into them from home (  library edition is not accessible from home).  The link to our databases is as follows:    But besides our databases, there are a lot of good websites that provide New York genealogical information and records. Here are a few suggestions:    The Italian Genealogical Group webpage contains some online indexes for naturalizations and New York City vital records.    This group hosts the same naturalization and vital records indexes as the However, they have indexes for a few churches of greater New York whose congregations were significantly German.    After registering with this website, you can search and view, for free, the passenger lists of the ships that came through Ellis Island.    Although this is not meant to be a New York genealogy webpage, it contains research tools that can be very helpful to someone researching New York families.    This genealogical society contains links and information about Jewish cemeteries on Long Island.    Over 18,269,000 full text New York newspapers are searchable on this website.    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints collects genealogical information from all over the world. They have a substantial collection of New York records. Some of their records are now digitized and can be viewed from their webpage.    This is certainly not a complete list in that there are more less well known yet useful and free websites for New York researchers. If you would like to suggest one, please send a comment. 

  • New York City Municipal Archives Online Gallery

    Posted on: May 1, 2012

       If you are new to genealogy and are researching New York City families, you should make a point of becoming familiar with the Municipal Archives, located at 31 Chambers Street in Manhattan. The archives contain a treasure trove of records including New York City vital records, marriage licenses, directories, insurance maps, and photographs.  It is open to the public Monday-Friday.  Check their webpage for the hours:   Just last week there was some exciting news from the Municipal Archives. It announced it was putting online a gallery of over 870,000 historical images of New York City.  Unfortunately, shortly after being released, the website crashed because of too many login attempts. Because the page is down, I am unable to view it, so I am unsure of what it contains.  However, I read that it includes maps, photographs, motion pictures and audio recording--but no vital records. One item said to be in this online gallery that caught my attention is the 1980s tax photographs. These are pictures of all existing buildings in the city at that time.  These provide the opportunity, in some cases, to see where a relative lived when the building no longer exists. The 1940s tax photos are not currently included, but more records are promised to be added to this online collection.   Hopefully, the Municipal Archives will soon have this up and running again. The address for the online gallery is:

  • Information Wanted Ads

    Posted on: April 23, 2012

       Sometimes in Irish genealogy you have to look beyond the typical genealogical records such as church and census records, to find information. If you do this, you might find a record that can give you a fascinating glimpse into an ancestor’s life. Take for example the “information wanted” advertisements that appeared in some of the Irish American newspapers, such as the Truth Teller, Boston Pilot, and the Irish American.       These ads were placed by many 19th century Irish who lost contact with relatives and friends who had emigrated, and were trying to reconnect with them.  Because so many of those being sought had common Irish surnames, the advertisements usually gave some amount of detail of the lives of the people being sought, simply in order for them to be identifiable. This can be a goldmine for a genealogist who finds an ancestor in one of these ads.  Here is an example of one:

    July 18, 1829, The Truth Teller.   

        Here are some sources to check to see if your Irish relatives were searching for one another in this country. I have included our library’s call number if we own the source. 1) "The Search for Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements placed in the Boston Pilot." Patchogue Medford Public Library owns several volumes of the transcribed ads. You can view an online index to these at 2) "Voices of the Irish Immigrant: Information Wanted Ads from the Truth Teller"               R 929.1 Voices 3) "Irish Relatives and Friends: From “Information Wanted” in the Irish-American"             R 929.1 Irish    Some editions of include Irish Relatives and Friends. Unfortunately, the Library Edition does not.

  • Irish Genealogy Lecture

    Posted on: April 17, 2012

    If you have been researching your Irish roots, you will not want to miss our next meeting on this Thursday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m.    

  • National Archives 1940 Census Website Crashes

    Posted on: April 2, 2012

         If you were unsuccessful this morning in viewing the 1940 federal census on the National Archives webpage, you were not alone. Many family researchers, including myself, were unable to access the census records after the website crashed due to a high volume of online traffic.  The National Archives has said it will add more servers to help alleviate this problem.  In the meantime, I would suggest you try the National Archives website again during off-peak hours and also see if other sites, such as and, have uploaded the schedules you need.  

  • 1940 Census Websites

    Posted on: March 30, 2012

    The following websites will provide access to the 1940 United States census: National Archives                                              Ancestry                                                              Familysearch                                                     My Heritage/World Vital Records                                                                                           Only the National Archives website is expected to have all the population schedules available on April 2, 2012. The others will start uploading the census images on April 2, but it might be months before they have the complete census uploaded.

  • Information about 1940 Census

    Posted on: March 30, 2012

         This Monday, April 2, 2012, at 9 a.m. the National Archives will release to the public the 1940 census. On that day, you should be able to access the digitized census images by going to the following National Archives webpage:

         At the time of release, there will be no name index, so if you do not want to wait until an index becomes available, you need to know the enumeration district for the area where your ancestors lived.  If you have the 1940 addresses for your ancestors, you can figure out the enumeration districts by going to Stephen Morse’s webpage ( His website also includes links to the National Archives 1940 enumeration district maps.  If you don’t have addresses, but you know your relatives lived in New York City, the New York Public Library will have beginning April 2 at 9:00 a.m., a link to digitized 1940 telephone directories (for all five boroughs) on their website

        There are Instructions on how to find a person in the census without a name index on our genealogy blog (March 15 post). Since the 1940 census is not yet released, examples are given using the 1930 census. Keep in mind that the National Archives interface for browsing the 1940 enumeration districts will probably be different than the examples given in the instructions.  

        Good luck with finding your relatives in the 1940 census.  If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at:

  • Income Questions on the 1940 Census

    Posted on: March 28, 2012

          When you find your ancestors in the 1940 census, you might discover they did not answer all the census questions. Apparently, the census questions about personal income sparked a controversy. Some people were opposed to giving this information, especially if the census taker was a neighbor or an acquaintance. Senator Charles Tobey of New Hampshire spearheaded an unsuccessful campaign to delete the income questions from the 1940 census.  Although the Census Bureau did not drop the personal income questions, they did compromise. Those who objected to giving the enumerator this information were allowed to fill out a form (without signing their name), seal it in an envelope and give it to the enumerator to be mailed by him to the Census Bureau.  So, if you come across a 1940 census entry with columns 32 and 33 blank, this could explain why.

  • Finding People in the Census Without an Index

    Posted on: March 15, 2012

       The release of the 1940 census will soon be here. As you probably know, there will be no name index when it first becomes available. For this reason, I thought it would be a good idea to review the methods of finding households in the census using enumeration district numbers. Click here for instructions on finding someone in the 1940 census.

  • Jewish Genealogy Program

    Posted on: March 13, 2012

       Join us the Thursday (March 15) at 7:00 p.m. for our Jewish genealogy program. Rhoda Miller, a genealogist and past president of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island, will talk on the basics of Jewish genealogy.


    Posted on: February 28, 2012

        Computers are changing the genealogical world, but did you know that cell phones are too? IPhone and Android cell phones are being used to photograph headstones and also to record their location. The website is asking IPhone and Android cell phone owners to take GPS-tagged photographs of tombstones and upload them onto their free website. Of course, there is an app (a free one) that first needs to be downloaded to the phone. After a volunteer uploads a cell phone picture to the webpage, another volunteer transcribes the headstone information into a searchable online database.    The program is similar to that, a website mentioned in an earlier article, but their added twist is the GPS-tagged cell phone picture, which provides a researcher with not just a photograph of a headstone but also its latitude and longitude location in a cemetery. This might not seem like a big deal to some people, but to those of you who have wandered around aimlessly in a cemetery trying to find a headstone, using just a section or lot number scribbled on a piece of paper, you understand that having the exact location on a map can be extremely helpful. Of course, if you can view a headstone online, you may not feel the need to physically visit the grave. Even so, the added GPS-tagged photo feature on is very interesting one.

  • Good News for Pennsylvania Family Researchers

    Posted on: February 22, 2012

         A library patron informed me of some good news for those researching Pennsylvania families. The Pennsylvania State death indexes are now available for free at      Another useful website for Pennsylvania family researchers is Access Pennsylvania digital repository ( The many databases that can be searched on this website include the Wilkes-Barre Sunday Independent and the Lancaster Examiner and Herald.

  • Introducing the 1940 U.S. Census

    Posted on: February 15, 2012

       Join us this evening (February 15th) when Dorothy Dougherty, of the National Archives, will talk about the 1940 census. Find out what you might learn about your ancestors in this census. The lecture will be held in our community room at 7:00 p.m.

  • SCLS has Changed FHL Microfilm Ordering Process

    Posted on: February 10, 2012

       Suffolk Cooperative Library System has announced that they have changed their Family History Library microfilm ordering process. Patrons will now be required to order and pay for microfilms directly through Also, the cost of ordering a microfilm has gone up significantly to $7.50.  According to, this increase reflects the rising price of raw microfilm stock due to a decrease in availability.  

  • RootsTech 2012

    Posted on: February 1, 2012

       RootsTech, a genealogy and technology conference organized by FamilySearch, will begin this Thursday, February 2. This conference has been “designed to bring technologists together with genealogists, so they can learn from each other and find solutions to the challenges they face in family history research today.”    If, like me, you are unable to head to Salt Lake City to attend the event, but would love to sit in on these lectures, there is no need to be disappointed, because through technology we can attend without leaving home. A total of 14 sessions will be streamed live over the internet and free of charge. Here are just a few talks that may interest you: Google’s Toolbar and Genealogy, Effective Database Search Tactics, and Publish Your Genealogy Online. To learn more about the conference, go to the webpage,    Because the lectures are being streamed live, you must be watching when they are actually being given. Keep in mind that the schedule is in Mountain Standard Time which is two hours behind our Eastern Standard Time.

  • Mark Your Calendar

    Posted on: January 30, 2012

       The popular genealogy program Who Do You Think You Are? is returning to television (NBC) this Friday, February 3, 2012. The featured celebrities this coming season will be: Marisa Tomei, Rob Lowe, Paula Deen, Rashida Jones, Jerome Bettis, Reba McEntire, Helen Hunt, Edie Falco, Rita Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Martin Sheen, and Blair Underwood. For more information visit the website

  • Social Security Death Index News

    Posted on: January 24, 2012

          The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is a valuable tool for researchers because it contains information on millions of deceased individuals with United States social security numbers whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration. Many genealogists use it for finding out death dates.       Up until recently the Social Security Death Index was freely available on, but not anymore. When you visit the website you get the following message: “Due to sensitivities around the information in this database, the Social Security Death Index collection is not available on our free Rootsweb service but is accessible to search on Visit the Social Security Death Index page to be directly connected to this collection.”  The link will bring you to Ancestry which requires a paid subscription to view the information. However, you will still be able to access the SSDI on Ancestry for free by using our database computers within the library.          Another option for researchers is which continues to provide access to the index, but only if you register (name and an email address) with them.  After registering, you will be able to view the information for free through your home computer.      All the websites will no longer show the social security numbers for anyone who has not been dead for at least 10 years. This was also done in response to concern over identity theft and invasion of privacy issues.

  • Researchers Helping Researchers

    Posted on: January 17, 2012

        Do you have a question or need some advice with your family research? Or perhaps you are someone who has some genealogical knowledge that could benefit from the varied experiences of others? If so, Join us tomorrow (Wednesday, January 18) at 2:00 p.m for this informal meeting. 

  • Old Fulton New York Post Cards

    Posted on: January 9, 2012

       You are probably familiar with the Old Fulton New York Post Cards New York historical newspaper database since it has been “finding the angels and the devils in the family tree since 2003,” but I still feel it worthwhile to mention.  I have known about this website for several years, but I never spent much time on it until recently. This was because I was under the false impression that it was basically a database of upstate New York newspapers which would not help me in my research. And then there are also certain other aspects of the website that I just don’t get. Some of it seems whimsical, which caused me not to take this valuable website as seriously as I should have, but after searching the database more, I realized this is a serious website for anyone researching a New York family that lived almost anywhere in the state.  It has become one of my favorite free genealogical websites.     The site has over 18 million scanned pages of New York historical newspapers.  Although, many of the newspapers are upstate ones, there is a good sampling of downstate papers too. For example, included in the line-up of newspapers are the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and Suffolk County News.  The Brooklyn Daily Eagle in the Old Fulton NY Post Cards database includes issues published from 1841 to 1955. This is a larger time span than what the Brooklyn Public Library’s database offers, which is 1841 to 1902. The Suffolk County Library System’s Suffolk Historic Newspaper database has Suffolk County News, but there is a gap in their coverage from 1961 up to 1996. The Old Fulton database fills in much of that gap by including issues between 1961 and 1986. There are many other interesting newspapers included in this database, and if you would like to see a list of them, you will find one on the website.     Database content is important, but a good search engine is also needed. First let me point out that Google does search and access the Old Fulton New York Post Cards. However, the Old Fulton search engine is pretty impressive, and you will probably get better or more results by using it. Once at the Old Fulton search box, you can choose from any of the following commands: all of the words, any of the words, the exact phrase, and Boolean. If you want to get the most out of your searches, I recommend reading the “FAQ Help Index” to fully understand all the searching options.  When searching for articles on ancestors by using their first names and surnames, I like using the Boolean search. This allows you to narrow your search by using the combination of first and last name within a specified closeness of each other. For example, if I wanted articles on a John Dempsey, my Boolean search might be John w/1 Dempsey.  The “exact phrase” option, I have found helpful when researching the address an ancestor lived at.  You can also select “Fuzzy Searching” to compensate for any OCR possible (optical character recognition) problems with interpretation, sometimes a very useful method.    When you click on an article of interest in your search results, the article will be brought up as a PDF file. If the search terms are not highlighted on the page, there is a plugin for Acrobat 10 you can download from Adobe that will do this, but you can still usually find the terms easily enough without it. When the article fully appears on the screen, you just right click anywhere on the page and select find. Type in the term or words you want to find in the article, and a box will appear over that area of the article in which the term appears. This article search ability feature makes looking through the results much easier and faster.    As you can see, the Old Fulton New York Post Cards website has a lot to offer, and the added bonus is that it is free (donations are welcomed). The website claims that new material is added every Sunday night, which makes it a growing archive. For New York family researchers, this is an excellent website to keep going back to.  

  • 1940 Census Update

    Posted on: December 21, 2011

    The Suffolk Cooperative Library System sent me the following update on the 1940 US Census:                                                                                                                                                           "Three leading genealogy organizations,, FamilySearch International, and, announced today they are joining forces to launch the 1940 US Census Community Project. The ambitious project aims to engage online volunteers to quickly publish a searchable, high quality name index to the 1940 US Census after it is released in April 2012 by the National Archives and Record Administration of the United States (NARA). The highly anticipated 1940 US Census is expected to be the most popular US record collection released to date. Its completion will allow anyone to search the record collection by name for free online. Learn more about this exciting initiative or how to volunteer at"

  • Find a Grave

    Posted on: December 19, 2011

       Although I have known about Find a Grave for some time, I had never used the website, except for just checking for a name in the database.  If you are unfamiliar with this website, it is basically a free online research tool that allows anyone to submit information (birth and death data, including cemetery information) on deceased individuals to the website.  After this information is used to create a “memorial,” it is added to their searchable database.  Things like photos of people, tombstones, and obituary notices can be uploaded to the memorials.  Although, Find a Grave is free and open to all, it is not a nonprofit organization and there are advertisements on their webpage.  However, you can elect to pay a small fee to have the ads removed from your memorial pages.    One very useful feature of the website is the volunteer photography service.  You can, after creating a memorial, request that a volunteer go to a cemetery and take a picture of a headstone for you.   Recently I decided to try out this free photo service.  My great-grandparents are buried in New Jersey, and for years I have been meaning to go to the cemetery to see the headstone, my hope being that there is information, such as a place of birth, which could provide me with a breakthrough in my research.  Unfortunately, I have never had a day I could devote to making the long trip to New Jersey.  There is also the discouraging thought that there very well may not even be a headstone.  Due to these considerations, their volunteer-provided photo service sounded very attractive, so, I decided to finally give this free service a try.    My first step was to check to see if memorials had already been created for my ancestors. The database allows you to search by a person’s name, or you can also browse through a list of internments for a particular cemetery.  Since there was no listing for my New Jersey relatives, I registered with Find a Grave and created memorials for them.  After I submitted the information, I then made an online request for a volunteer to photograph a headstone.  Find a Grave sent my request by email to various volunteers who lived in proximity to the cemetery in New Jersey.  I received several bounced emails, informing me that several of the Find a Grave volunteers’  email addresses were expired, or that an individual was no longer accepting requests.  I had read on the FAG website that this does happen often and not to be concerned.    At first I was very hopeful that I would quickly receive a response, and I checked my email every morning, but as weeks went by, I became less and less hopeful of seeing a picture of my ancestor’s headstone.  I made my request in early August and by October I had lost all hope of my request being fulfilled.  I also wondered if this meant that there simply was no headstone.  However, just before Thanksgiving, I received an email — “Find a Grave Photo Request Success!”  I clicked on a link in the email that brought me to a picture of my relative’s headstone which had been uploaded by the volunteer photographer to my ancestor’s memorial page.  Although the tombstone gave me no additional information on my family, I have to admit that seeing it was a moving experience.  The volunteer who took the picture chose to remain anonymous.    The positive experience led me to become more involved with the website.  After registering as a volunteer, I soon started receiving emails requesting pictures of headstones in nearby cemeteries.  Whenever I can, I accept a request and photograph a headstone for someone.  It’s a nice feeling to be able to return a good deed.  If you would like to learn more about Find a Grave visit their website at

  • Holiday Genealogy

    Posted on: December 6, 2011

      Holiday time, being that season when we often get together with our families, gives us the perfect opportunity to collect family history information and stories from one another.  As Megan Smolenyak states in her book Who Do You Think You Are, relatives can be a living library.   At Thanksgiving this year, my uncle, who has a fine memory, provided me with a lot of information on various family members.  He brought with him photographs, letters, and even a pedigree chart that my grandmother had in with her personal belongings. As he showed me each letter and picture, he recited the stories behind each one of them.  This inspired me to get back into researching certain relatives that I had neglected for years. Using information he gave me, I began finding more death notices and newspaper articles. I sent my uncle copies of what I found after our Thanksgiving dinner, and that led to us having a phone conversation and him telling me more interesting stories.   I remembered what Megan Smolenyak suggested in her book, namely that with older relatives,  less is sometimes more, that it is better to have a few mini-interviews rather than one big one.  I followed her advice when I phoned him, keeping to two very specific questions and not trying to ask him too much at once.    Ms. Smolenyak also suggests that you “chart your way,” meaning that part of wrapping up conversations with your relatives should involve organizing the information by adding it to a chart or making notes, and planning where that information will lead you.  I brought a pedigree chart with me on Thanksgiving Day-- one for my uncle and one for me. As he spoke, I made notes in a notebook and then on my pedigree chart. The pedigree chart was also a handy reference tool, since I have a couple of relatives with the same first name and surname. It helped eliminate some of the confusion regarding which specific relative he was referring to.   Hopefully you too are gathering information, or soon will be, at your holiday family gatherings. If you are expecting to talk with a relative soon, you might want to look at the following books for ideas on how to interview them, all found under call number 929.1: Best, Laura. Research Your Family History Genealogy for the First Time. Carmack, Sharon DeBartolo. The Genealogy Sourcebook. Melnyk, Marcia Yannizze. Family History 101. Smolenyak, Megan. Who Do You Think You Are?

  • Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

    Posted on: November 28, 2011

       Recently, I had a breakthrough in my genealogical research.  I discovered, after many years of searching, what county in Ireland my Ryan ancestors hailed from.  My uncle had always claimed that our Ryan family came from County Wexford, but since Daniel Ryan emigrated before Irish civil vital records became mandatory, finding any evidence of where he was born became like searching for the Holy Grail. My breakthrough came when I was trying out some advanced search techniques in one of the newspaper databases.  Not expecting to find anything, but just wanting to improve my understanding of the search engine, I put in the following terms: Daniel, Ryan and funeral. I limited the search terms to within a hundred words of each other and I also limited the date to 1918, the year he died.  I got only two results and in one of them I found my Holy Grail. In the  August 3, 1918 edition of the New-York Tribune, there was a death notice for my ancestor Daniel Ryan. It stated that he was a native of County Wexford. The newspaper database I used was Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.  This is a free database by the Library of Congress that consists of American newspapers published from 1836-1922. It contains some issues of New York newspapers such as The Sun and The New- York Tribune. You will find a link to it from our newspaper database webpage:    I have attached screen shots to help demonstrate how I was able to fine tune my search and locate my ancestor more easily. Here are the steps I took to find my ancestor

  • Historical Newsday Database is Available

    Posted on: November 17, 2011

      We have added to our collection of newspaper databases the Proquest Newsday Historical archive. This new database, when completed, will enable researchers to have online access to Newsday issues published from 1940 to 1984. However, this is a work in progress and only articles published between 1940 and 1960 are currently included. Proquest promises to complete the project by the end of March 2012.   In spite of the gap in coverage, someone looking for an article (published between 1940 and 1960), will probably find this to be a useful and convenient tool. The reason being that for a long time the only database available for Newsday included just the issues published from the current day to 1985.  If someone, for example, wanted a death notice published in 1950, he or she would have to know a date range in which the obituary was published and then search through the issues of Newsday on microfilm that fell in this time period. This was made even more complicated by the fact that not many of the libraries owned the microfilm, so a researcher had to either visit a library that owned it, or request it through interlibrary loan.   This new historical database promises to take the hassle out of finding old Newsday articles. It allows someone to search for and view the older articles at our library or through a home computer. If you would like to try this database using your home computer, go to our listing of newspaper databases at:

  • Essential New York Databases Program

    Posted on: November 4, 2011

  • Griffith's Valuation

    Posted on: November 2, 2011

    I took Kathy McGee’s suggestion (see post titled “See notes from the last meeting/dated September 27”) and searched Griffith’s Valuation ( to research my Irish ancestors. I know the name, county and parish of one, and so searched Griffith’s using this information. I found some of the “codes” and groupings in the table confusing, so I did some research and found the following information and websites useful: 1. In towns, individual tenements were arranged by street 2. Holdings in common are bracketed together 3. Land valuation indicated soil fertility, to some extent 4. Valuation was also an assessment of the land’s potential, as perceived by the valuators (this sounds similar to our current tax assessors!) 5. The £, s, d headings under the Land, Buildings, and Total Annual Valuation of Rateable Property columns stand for Pound (of course), Shilling, and Pence. 6. The website allows you to translate the purchasing power of British pounds from 1264 to Present (actually to 2009) 7. When “a” and “b” appear in the “No. and Letters of Reference to Map” column they refer to the different soil types on the land (see below for further explanations of soil types) 8. The book A Practical Guide to the Valuation of Rent in Ireland: with an appendix by James F. V. Fitz Gerald and Sir Richard John Griffith is available in its entirety on Google Books and contains “some extracts from the instructions given to valuators in 1853 by the late Sir R. Griffith.” While it may be way more information than you are looking for, and contains no rules that I could find on how the names were recorded, it is fascinating and gives a picture of life in Ireland at the time. American imports were a big worry to the Irish and are discussed in the chapter beginning on page 108. On page 24 of the text, the author describes the typical diet of those on farms and in towns; on page 29, a Mr. Johnston talks about the improved work performance of laborers after their wages were increased, they were given a cottage to live in, some potatoes and a garden. I invite you to share what you’ve found to make deciphering the information in Griffith’s Valuation more valuable to the genealogist.

  • Online Ordering for Local Family History Centers!

    Posted on: October 26, 2011

    The Family History Library online ordering system is now available for local New York Family History Centers including the Plainview and Terryville centers. Payment is made by using a credit card or a PayPal account.   If you have ordered FHL film or fiche through the Suffolk Cooperative Library System, you will find this online ordering very similar to what SCLS has been doing for the past few years.  Here are the instructions for this new online ordering: 1. Go to and sign into FamilySearch using the sign in link located in the top right corner of the screen. If you do not have an account, click on create an account below the online film ordering title. 2. Locate the microfilm number(s) you want to order from the Family History Library Catalog located on Before ordering any film, check to see if the Family History Library Catalog has a digital copy available online. 3. Select your loan type, enter the microfilm number, and click Search. Repeat this step for each additional item.   4. When you are ready to submit your order, click the shopping cart in the upper right section of the screen.  Before ordering, I recommend that you view the demonstration available at the website This will give you a good preview of the ordering process. Keep in mind that your still have the convenient option to  have Family History Library microfilm or fiche sent to your local Suffolk County public library through the Suffolk Cooperative Library System.  To get to the SCLS form, use our ordering link at the top of this page.  

  • November's Meeting

    Posted on: October 20, 2011

      The Town of Islip historian had to cancel his lecture at our library in November. However, we will have John Martino and Don Eckerle talk on the New York genealogical databases on the Italian Genealogy Group and the German Genealogy Group websites on Wednesday, November 9 at 7:00 p.m.  Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at how these databases were created and get tips on how to get better results when searching them.  

  • News from Suffolk Cooperative Library System

    Posted on: October 12, 2011

      Suffolk Cooperative Library System has changed the form for ordering Family History Library microfilm and microfiche.  Our order link will take you to this new form. SCLS has also announced that they will be increasing the price of microfilm to $6.50 and $1.50 for microfiche beginning January 1, 2012.

  • Scottish Directories

    Posted on: October 6, 2011

       I recently came across a treasure trove of Scottish city and post office directories on the internet that can be viewed for free.  What are post office directories, you ask? They are basically an annual listing of residents who lived and worked in a city, and their addresses. Think of them as being just like city directories which were discussed in a previous article on this blog.  The website I found ( has a significant collection for many Scottish cities. For example, the listing of the annual directories for Glasgow runs from 1783 to 1911. This can be very helpful to anyone tracing a family that lived and worked for generations in Glasgow.    Where do you find these directories? There are two websites on which you can view them: and I recommend the latter, even though it just links to the first site mentioned, because it is better organized for finding an exact location and year that you might want to search in.    When viewing a directory I like to use the “view book online” option because it is very user-friendly. Although you can search for a surname in a particular directory, the search engine does not always find a name that is actually listed, so sometimes it is necessary to look directly in a given directory. I find flipping through the pages of a directory on the site to be quite fast and easy, so it is not a major inconvenience, and it ensures that I find any entry of interest that the search engine might miss.    So if you are researching Scottish ancestors, I recommend you take a look at these directories.  You might find them to be very helpful in your research, and you may come across some unexpected and interesting items.  

  • Notes from the Last Meeting

    Posted on: September 27, 2011

    If you missed our genealogy questions and answers program, you missed a very informative meeting. We had questions about researching families from many different areas including Connecticut, Jamaica, and Italy. There is just too much to talk about in just one blog entry, but here is one thing we would like to pass along to those who could not attend. During our meeting, someone asked for a recommendation of websites for Irish family research. Kathy McGee, one of our panel members, suggested these following five sites:  Irish Genealogy Toolkit This is good for those who want to learn about various aspects of Irish genealogy. Ask about Ireland: Griffith’s Valuation The Griffith’s Valuation was a survey taken between 1848 and1864 of all taxable property throughout Ireland. These records can provide some insight into a family’s social condition and status.  The National Archives of Ireland: Census of Ireland 1901/1911 Some of the questions asked on the Irish census of all members of a household were religion, age, and occupation. Irish Ancestors This database allows you to see the counties in which two surnames appeared together in the Primary Valuation Property Survey, 1848-1894. This can be helpful in limiting your research to a county. However, if you want the breakdown of parishes, there is a fee. There are many different types of records indexed and available through this website, but fees are charged.

    Do you have a favorite Irish genealogy website? If so, don't be shy, post a comment about it.

  • Got a Question?

    Posted on: September 19, 2011

      Join us this Wednesday evening (September 21) at 7:00 p.m. for our Genealogy Questions and Answers program.  We will be hosting a panel of family history researchers to answer your questions.

  • City Directories

    Posted on: September 16, 2011

      The database Fold3 (formerly Footnote), which our library subscribes to, contains a large collection of city directories. If you are unfamiliar with city directories, think of them as being like our “modern” telephone book, but before there were telephone books. Their purpose was much the same — providing contact information on people. The information in directories usually includes the name of a working person, his occupation, and the address of his home and/or business. For the most part, those who appear in the directories are working men, usually married, or their widows.  Although the directories were put together, like the censuses, through a process of canvassing, unlike the later censuses, city directories did not include everyone in a household.   City directories are most often used by family researchers to track the location of a family through the years. Since most directories were published annually, they are useful in finding out where a family resided in the years between censuses.  And speaking of the census, city directories can also be useful in locating someone  who is difficult to find in a given census. This is done by using the person’s address from the city directory, so a limited search of the actual census  sheets can be done directly.  The address is used in conjunction with a ward or enumeration district map for the census of interest, so that a very limited district of interest in the city can be determined. For censuses with addresses listed, usually 1880 and later, but also 1870 in Manhattan, one can simply look for the correct address in the appropriate district.  For earlier censuses, one must scan through all the names in the district until the person of interest is found.  Those who have done this know how tedious and time consuming a task this can be, especially in the earlier censuses, and I would suggest that one should be as creative as possible in searching the name indexes before resorting to this method. However, it can be done.     It is helpful to keep in mind that directories are often dated according to the end  of their one year period of validity. That means that the so-called 1871 directory, just as one example, is “for the year ending May 1, 1871,” and that the data was collected in May of 1870, after the traditional moving day of the first of May.  Therefore the 1871 directory would be the most appropriate one to use when trying to obtain an address for use with the 1870 census.  Of course, the same idea holds for other census years.    Directories can also be helpful in estimating a year of death. This is done by following an individual’s name each year in the directories until the person is no longer listed.  A name was typically dropped from the book when the person died or moved out of the city. Often the name of the widow of a deceased man will appear in the city directories for a few years after his death along with a notation that she is his widow.    Another general use of directories is sorting out research problems having to do with the identities of individuals.  They can provide evidence as to whether there were multiple individuals with the same or similar names residing in the city, whether a given individual was known by two different but similar names, and whether possible relatives were living in the city.  Without going into too much detail, all of these are based upon tracking names through the city directories over certain periods of time and noting the addresses.    Finally, directories usually include a section in the back that lists streets, churches, post offices, fraternal organizations, and newspapers. This information can be very helpful in figuring out what church to contact for baptismal and other records,  or what newspapers to look through for death notices, among other things.    For viewing city directories, I recommend Fold3 simply because they have a large collection for New York City and Brooklyn, as well as a fair number of other large cities. Also, if you have a Connetquot Public Library card, you can access the database  through your home computer free of charge by going through our webpage ( and clicking on databases.  After logging in to Fold3, select directories at the bottom of the page, or browse at the top of the page (I prefer this way). Once in, select the city and date you want to search, or search all available years at once, if you like.   It is important to remember that these were apparently indexed using OCR (optical character reader) software on scanned images, which sometimes misreads names due to imperfections in the type or blemishes on the page.  This results in some names showing up with incorrect spellings in the underlying index used by the search function, which therefore does not locate them.  One way  around this is to browse the individual directories for years where the name searched for does not appear in the search results.  That is the only way to really assure whether the name is included in that directory or not.    Fold3 is not the only place you can view city directories. Ancestry and Google Books have some, and for that rare individual who prefers microfilm over computer, the Patchogue Medford Public Library has some of the New York City and Brooklyn directories, beginning about 1860.  Hopefully this article gives you a better idea of the usefulness of city directories, and I have inspired you take a closer look at them and incorporate them into your repertoire of research resources.   

  • Obtaining FHL Film Numbers for NYC Vital Records in One Step

    Posted on: September 12, 2011

        Sometimes searching the LDS catalogue for the correct microfilm for a given New York City vital record certificate number can be time consuming, in part just because of the size of the collection for New York.  Would you like to learn an easier way to obtain LDS (Latter-Day Saints) microfilm numbers for New York City vital records? At our last genealogy meeting, someone shared this tip with us, which we want to pass along to those of you who missed that program. Instead of going to the catalog to get the film numbers for New York City vital records, instead you can get them by going to the webpage When at the webpage, you scroll down to an icon labeled “Births, Deaths, and other Vital Records.”  In this listing, you will see “FHL Film Numbers for New York City Records in one step.” Click on this and it will take you to a form in which you type in the certificate number, year and borough of the record.  Click submit, and ta da! The LDS film number you need appears.  Quick and easy, and presumably error free.

  • Finding More Records in Ancestry & the Kugelberg Newspaper Clips

    Posted on: September 3, 2011

      Did you know that Ancestry has many collections of records that are not retrievable by doing a “normal” search?  The sainted researcher from “Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness” (see previous post) referred to numerous Swedish records he found on Ancestry. After puzzling over where in the database he found them, I decided to use Ancestry’s catalog feature, which I noticed a co-worker favors. After finding the right search term (“Sweden Church Records” rather than “Swedish parish records”) I found a wealth of information. Along a sidebar suggestions for Related Data Collections were helpful. So, to get started, for a Card Catalog search: from the main screen click on “Search” and  scroll down to “Card Catalog.”  Type your term in the keyword or title area. My search using the term “Sweden Church Records” revealed a drill down menu on the right hand side of the page that asked me to narrow my search by County, then Parish, then Record type (deaths, births, household examinations, moving in, etc.) and finally a year range. When the last criteria is chosen, the “book” opens and you page through. It is easy to skip big sections by typing in a page number in the right hand corner (for a book that covers 1846-1850 with 834 pages skip to page 415 to target a record from 1848). It can be slow going, but for me, at least, the time spent was well worth all the information I found.

       Has anyone ever used the Kugelberg Newpaper Clips, 1888-1904 found in Ancestry? Otto Kugelberg was a family historian who kept newspaper clippings (mostly birth, marrige and death announcements). This is another database where results are not retrievable from Ancestry's main screen, but this one does have a drill down search menu of it's own. Results come up literally as a page of clippings! I have not found any matches yet but (of course), I'm still looking.

  • Footnote is now Fold3

    Posted on: August 18, 2011

           The genealogical database called Footnote has been renamed Fold3. The company’s explanation for the name change is the following:  “As we refocus our efforts on gathering the best online collection of military records and stories we wanted a name that would reflect military history and honor.” Although the name of the database has changed, the content and interface have not. When looking for the database on our library website, you will see that the name has been changed to Fold3.  

  • Ancestry Library Edition vs.

    Posted on: August 17, 2011

      I have been asked what the differences are between and the Ancestry Library Edition?  Let me start by pointing out that is designed for an individual user, so there are personalized options available on that version that are not available on the library edition. For example, on you have the ability to upload photos, documents and add stories about ancestors into the Personal and Public Member Trees section of the database. The library edition does not have this feature.    Perhaps most significant for most users, is the fact that has some databases that are not available on the Ancestry Library Edition. They include the following: Historical Newspaper Collection Family and Local History Collection Obituary Collection Periodical Source Index (PERSI) Filby's Passenger and Immigration Lists Index (PLI) Biography & Genealogy Master Index (BGMI) Freedman's Bank Records    Because offers two memberships: US Deluxe and Worldwide Deluxe, this is not a complete comparison, but it gives you a general idea.    Home access to the Ancestry Library Edition database is not permitted. You can only use it when you are in the library. The service, being for individuals, does provide home access, of course, but there is a monthly fee for subscribing and having that convenience as well as use of the additional databases listed above.  These are some of the main differences that I am aware of.

  • Kindness of a Genealogical Nature

    Posted on: August 4, 2011

      Recently while searching for information on my great-grandfather, I was referred to the Sveriges Dodbok, 1947-2006. His date of birth, name and occupation were found on my grandfather’s Swedish birth record which I obtained on microfilm from LDS (birth records 1900 and after for Sweden are on Ancestry Library Edition). After a few phone calls I talked to someone at the LDS library in Utah who suggested (if I wanted to avoid the $80 purchase price) that I use a website called (acronym for “Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness). You simply find someone, listed by states in the US or by country) who has the records you need and request that they search for it. There are somewhat strict guidelines which are designed so that you don’t take advantage of these volunteer searchers. You can return the favor by listing yourself as a volunteer or you can purchase something from their site (mugs, kids and baby items, tee shirts, journals, etc.). I had an excellent outcome, the volunteer went beyond what I asked, and found new genealogical gems. Under "Looking for a volunteer," click on "Guidelines for making requests" (this is important to read). At the very bottom of this section, click on "Let's go find a volunteer!"


    Posted on: July 27, 2011

       If you are serious about researching your ancestors, and you have not viewed the website, I highly recommend that you do. This free website allows you to quickly search through millions of genealogical records that the Family History Library (FHL) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) have collected. For instance, as you are waiting for your tea water to boil you can search for a record about your English great-grandfather, or as that first coat of paint is drying you might learn what Italian civil and church records are available for viewing online. Because the LDS FHL collects records from all around the world, there is a good chance they might hold information on one or more of your ancestors.  If you would like to learn more about their website and how to order materials from the Family History Library, join us on Tuesday, August 23, at 2:00 p.m. when we will show you various approaches to searching for information in their computer databases and how to access copies of the original documents available from the Family History Library.

  • Free 15 Generation Pedigree Chart!

    Posted on: July 9, 2011

       If you were at our getting organized program, you might recall that someone during that meeting showed us a nifty 15 generation pedigree chart that she keeps in her family research binder. We were so impressed with the chart that we obtained copies to give out for free to the first 25 people who attend our next meeting on July 18. This chart has nine generations on the front and six more continued on the back. It measures 23" x 29" and is folded and hole-punched for an 8.5"x11" binder.  If you want one, circle July 18 on your calendar and come early because supplies are limited. The lecture by Kathryn Then on wills and probate records will begin at 7:00 p.m. in our community room.  

  • Using Wills and Estate Records in Your Genealogical Research

    Posted on: June 27, 2011

        Whether you had an ancestor who died testate (with a will) or intestate (without a will) you might find valuable family information in his or her probate record.  These records usually provide the names of relatives, how they are related, and their addresses.   A probate file could also include the following items: an inventory of property of the deceased, a list of debts and creditors, appraisals, receipts, newspaper notices, witness testimony, letters from heirs, a copy of the will (if there was one), and possibly even a pedigree chart.   In using probate records for genealogy, do not limit your research to just your direct ancestor, especially if you are interested in learning your immigrant ancestor’s place of origin.  An unmarried sibling, for example, might have included in his or her will relatives who did not immigrate, in which case their names and addresses should be given.  Beyond that, one never knows what other interesting family information might be uncovered in the file of a relative.   To locate a probate record you should check with the Surrogate’s Court in the county in which the deceased had resided.  Here are some listings of the websites for the Surrogate’s Courts in our area. Suffolk County Surrogate’s Court Queens County Surrogate’s Court New York County Surrogate’s Court Nassau County Surrogate’s Court Kings County Surrogate’s Court The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has digitized and indexed the Kings County Estate Files. They have also added some of the Queens County Probate Records (although these have yet to be indexed). You can view these on their website at www.  In addition, some probate records and wills from various parts of the country are accessible through databases available at the library, including Ancestry and WorldVitalRecords.   To learn more about estate records, come to our library on Monday, July 18 at 7 pm.  Our guest speaker Kathryn Then, will discuss in further detail the genealogical gems that can be found in probate records.

  • Welcome

    Posted on: June 15, 2011

       Welcome to our Genealogy Blog! Join us as we explore family history internet sites, books, and databases. We will also post information on upcoming events and answer some of your questions.  The content of our blog will be maintained and moderated by Connetquot Public Library staff.  We welcome your comments and suggestions. For further information, please email us at