A Day at the New York State Library

I spent Friday at the New York State Library. Most of the stacks at the New York State Library are closed and require a wait of up to an hour before the requested books, microfilm, or other materials are retrieved.

The staff gave me a brief overview of how to use the catalog, and I was on my way. My main goal was to look up some obituaries in New York State newspapers on microfilm. Luckily, the Albany Times Union and some other newspapers are in open stacks, so they were readily accessible. I ordered one microfilm for the Cohoes American from 1928 and the microfilm was available exactly when promised.

I found obituaries for:

  • Paul Charron, Jr. who died on 26 Jan 1943
  • Maryanna Danko who died 08 Sep 1969
  • Laura C. Schroll Engel who died 06 Sep 1988
  • Frances M. Iwaniec who died 19 Jan 1951
  • Annette Girard Charron who died 28 Apr 1984

The obituary searches took longer than I expected because, in some cases, I only had a month and year of death from the Social Security Death Index and I had to search an entire month’s microfilm to find the obituaries. On the upside, I now have exact dates of the deaths and, in most cases, I now have exact locations of the deaths.

I also searched some City Directories and the 1925 New York State Census with great success. The searches of the New York State Census records were slow because the New York State Census has not been indexed.

The New York State Library seems to cater to genealogists. Many of the holdings in open stacks are genealogically relevant materials, including D.A.R. Records, New York State Bible Records, New York Census Records, City Directories, and New York State Genealogies. The New York State Library even has a Volunteer Genealogist on hand to help answer questions and give research advice.

Copyright © 2007 by Stephen J. Danko

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