New York Records
Remote Reference Sessions
In April 2021, after a long year-plus with little to no outside access to the YIVO Archives, we launched a new pilot program. With the building closed to the public for the foreseeable future, we wanted to find a way to allow patrons to access materials remotely. Enter remote reference sessions.
Researchers can book appointments to meet with a YIVO archivist to view materials and discuss their needs. This way, no matter where you are in the world, you can have access to our collections.
We offer a few types of remote reference sessions. The most popular are document sessions, where researchers request materials. We use an overhead document camera to share archival materials and photograph whatever the researcher desires. These synchronous sessions allow us to discuss the patron’s needs in-depth, and allows the patron to ensure that the materials at hand are suitable for their needs. We can also explore different avenues together in real time, which is a much quicker and more productive process than doing so by email. All of these benefits are difficult to replicate by simply fulfilling digitization requests. After each session, we share a PDF of the photographs taken, any other materials that came up during the session, and a recording of the session, if the researcher opts to have one.
Types of Materials
About half of patrons are conducting family history research, so landsmanshaftn collections and yizkor book requests are common. Some are academics and PhD candidates doing research on anything from the history of the Yiddish PEN Club to Jewish herbalism to Holocaust photography to the fabulous hats of the Jewish literati of the Bronx. Some are artists, teachers, and writers using archival research to share history through various projects.
NEW YORK CITY PROPERTY RESEARCH
NEW YORK CITY 1940 TAX PHOTOS
Start with this database which has records back to 1966. Earlier or additional records are going to require you to go to the property departments in each borough. The Municipal Archives folds property tax cards for properties as well but I believe they have to b ordered ie not available on site/
BROOLYN CITY DIRECTORIES
Over 1.3 million documents and books are already available for search online https://vilnacollections.yivo.org/ through the Vilna Collections web portal. This major project is one of combined effort between the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, the Lithuanian Central State Archives LCVA, the Martynas Mazvydas National Library of Lithuania, and the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Science. The past, once through to have been lost to the world of scholars and learned, is now becoming alive and enabling us to access it. The article, A Trove of Yiddish Artifacts, detailing the chilling past of protecting and discovering this rich collection appeared in the New York Times in January 2018 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/18/arts/a-trove-of-yiddish-artifacts-rescued-from-the-nazis-and-oblivion.html?_r=0.
New York Vital Records and Indexes online
New York Naturalization Records online
NY Southern US District (Manhattan) Naturalizations
New York Cemeteries https://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/krosno/NYCem.htm
Old Montefiore Cemetery - Springfield Gardens
New Montefiore Cemetery - West Babylon
New York Public Library
New York Probate Records online
Kings County Probate https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1466356
New York Probate https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1920234
Choose County. Go to General Card Index.
Kings County Surrogate Court
2 Johnson St. Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone:
347-404-9700 Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Researcher: Allan Jordan Aejordan@aol.com
Someone already pointed out that the older probate records for Brooklyn are
scanned and on the FamilySearch.org site. Newer records from the 1920s on
(plus the older ones) are all stored in the basement at the Brooklyn Court
House. (2 Johnson St. Brooklyn, NY 11201). Only the fairly recent
records are scanned and on the computers at the Court House.
I do this research going to the court house for people. You have to get
the file number from the index and then fill out a request slip and in about
30 minutes or so they will bring the file to a desk where you can go through
it. You are free to read it and take notes. (The last time I went the
clerks were out sick so there was no one to do the retrievals that day ....
so you might want to call before you go.)
They have two rickety photocopies (one was broken the last time I was
there) in the room in Brooklyn and they are often monopolized by the
professional researchers and lawyers who are doing work there. They are coin
operated and last time the dollar bill reader was not working. I had my iPad
along and I asked the clerk and they had no objection to me taking pictures of
the documents. (I assume you could do it with any cell phone camera too
--- but you **cannot** take a camera digital or otherwise into the court house.
Go figure but that is how security works.)
At the court house (I will be showing examples in my presentation in
Boston) there is a card index to all the files both probate and administration.
It helps if you know the year the person died (especially if it is a
common name) because the index mostly just has names and dates. Only a few
cards have addresses and that's all you get to identify the person in the
index. Some records are on the computers as well but that is only newer