Researching a Schenectady Family

In the course of some volunteer work at the Schenectady County Historical Society Grems-Doolittle Library (in Schenectady, New York), I got the opportunity to research a local family whose family history diary (started in 1909) had made its way to the library’s collection. Check out the library blog for a post I wrote about the family


Here, I wanted to highlight some resources for Genealogy Research in Schenectady, especially those used for this project. I’ve added a “Resources” tab to the top of my blog where this list (and possibly those for other places/topics) can be updated. (This list is not exhaustive.)

Schenectady County Historical Society This site for the historical society has lots of information about the library and other sites. Click “Collections” under “Library & Research” for details about the library’s online and offline collections. Some of these collections even have online indexes. Helpful note: at the bottom of any page on this website, find the “Google Search” box. If you type a surname or other topic to search in this box, you can see if it is found on any page of the site. 

Schenectady County, New York History and Genealogy This site has links to historical information (including some full text transcripts of early books) and links to many other research resources. It also includes indexes such as the Schenectady/Capital District Obituary Index, and the whole site is searchable.

New York State Censuses Even though the family was pretty easy to find in U. S. Federal Censuses across the years, it’s always nice to have the confirmation of the state censuses, too – plus you never know what additional details might be found there. See the FamilySearch wiki for links to the New York State Censuses Online through FamilySearch and Ancestry.

Old Fulton New York Postcards This site has freely available, searchable images of “New York State Historical Photos & Newspapers” “1795 Thru 2007.” See the FAQ page for more information. There is a link to the newspapers included (not only from New York), and there are tips for using Fuzzy searching and Boolean searching to optimize your searches.

Index to New York State Births These are freely available online at InternetArchive thanks to Reclaim The Records. They are browsable by year and alphabetized by surname. 

Schenectady County Property Search This database is searchable by address, yielding deed and property information. Purchase details are only available online for relatively recent purchases, but deed book and page numbers are provided, which means that they can be traced back to older transactions with a visit to the Schenectady County Clerk’s Office.

Daughters of the American Revolution Genealogical Research System Not specific to Schenectady or New York, but once I found out that a subject of my research had been a member of the DAR, I found her in the Descendants database and could see the lineage listed in her application, providing additional clues to some of her ancestry.

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