Ten Secret Free Genealogy Sources for New York

1. Ancestry.com’s agreement with the New York State Archives requires that New York residents get free access to 16 record collections. These include the New York State censuses for 1892, 1915, and 1925; the 1940 Federal Census; Military Records for Civil War, World Wars 1 and 2; and more. To get a special free access account, go to this specific page , or this one, enter a New York State zip code, and then pick a User ID and password. That’s all there is to it! Be careful not to click on any offers for Free Trials or Subscription discounts – you don’t need either of those to access this collection and your free account does not expire.


New Jersey newspapers in counties in close proximity to New York Harbor often reported New York news. They’re also helpful in locating ancestors who may have moved across the river. Try these free digitized New Jersey papers:

2. Cranford Newspaper Archives 1894-2005 (Union County)

3. Westfield Memorial Library newspapers, 1891-2008 (Union County)

4. Woodbridge Township Historic Newspapers, 1876-1970, (Middlesex County)

5. The Newspaper Archives of New Brunswick, 1871-1916 (Middlesex County)

6. South Amboy Citizen, 1910-2000 (Middlesex County

7. Red Bank Register, 1878-1991 (Monmouth County)

8. The first African-American owned and operated newspaper, Freedom’s Journal 1827-1829 (Manhattan)

9. An influential African-American newspaper, New York Age, 1890-1892, (Manhattan)

10. I broke through one of my brick walls using a database at the Hudson County (NJ) Genealogical Society, which covers Bayonne and Jersey City. They have a great collection of databases covering births, deaths, military service, newspapers, and more. Some require a membership to access, but
many are free.

Free Credits at Find My Past

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!

FindMyPast is offering a St Patrick’s Day special with free access.

FindMyPast has four versions of the site: Ireland, United States, Britain, and Australia/New Zealand. It appears that the promotion is valid on all of the sites, not just the Irish version. I was able to use it to register on the U.S. version. The site will interpret where your IP address originates, and recommend the correct database version for your country, although you can override this.

FindMyPast works on a system of credits; you buy credits as you go. The promotion gives you 50 free credits.

Go to the home page and look for the grey Redeem Code button about 3/4 of the way down the page (it’s not obvious). Enter the code STPATRICK. You can then register and start searching.

Ancestry Free Access Weekend: Immmigration

Image representing Ancestry as depicted in Cru...
Ancestry.com is offering limited-time free access to selected Immigration records, March 14-17. The offers includes Ship’s Passenger Lists and Border Crossings & Passports.  

It’s a pretty sweet deal, even if you already have an Ancestry account but not the world-wide version. Mine is currently U.S. only, and I just realized that I can access those few records that I currently need, without upgrading.

In order to see the free records, you do have to create a free guest account.

Where In the World Is Your Surname?

Although this is not specifically a Staten Island tool, I am impressed with the PublicProfiler World Names project. Enter a surname, and a Javascript map of the world displays the relative frequency of a name compared to the overall population in an area. This data is compiled from records from 2000 on, so it won’t help with ancestors, but might help with long lost cousins. You can also enter a specific geographic area to search and the tool displays the ten most common names living in that area today.

This tool, developed as an academic research project, analyzes common patterns of names from 28 countries. The OnoMAP classification covers over 500,000 forenames and 1 million surnames, and most exhibit distinctive geographic patterning.