A Genealogy Visit to the New York Public Library

I always enjoy Manhattan. I’ve spent summers, and at one point, 9 months there, and do enjoy the City. One of the great places to visit is the New York Public Library, 42d Street building. If you ever watch movies or TV, then you’ve probably seen the impressive entrance on Fifth Avenue. The two great lions protecting the entryway are a well-known sight, and I watched tourists having their picture taken with them!

I spent part of 2 days in the NYPL, since I was already in town to research at the American Kennel Club library/archives (my grandfather’s brother bred and showed airdales).

Once you come in the front door, walk straight through the large open space … if you can. You’ll probably stop, just to take a look around. It is a most impressive “foyer” !

After you’ve taken it all in for a few minutes, you’ll want to head to the right, down the hallway. There are signs pointing to Room 121, Milstein Room. You’ll take a left before the corridor ends and walk down a ways, basically into Room 121.

Folks at the reference desk (to your right) are most helpful, and always take plenty of time to understand your question and even offer some new ideas for searching. There  are a nice collection of databases available online through the computers that line the wall near the desk.

If you are thinking of looking at physical books from the Library’s collection, you’ll want to have that information (from the online catalogue here) available right away. A runner actually has to go to get your book for you and that can take some time. And I would recommend looking for your preferred resources in the online catalogue, no matter the form. (There is such a rich selection of materials, it pays to browse the website under the tab Research, and to read the Library’s guide to planning your visit.)

If you use Twitter, you can follow the library @nypl  the genealogy room @NYPLMilstein and the archives @NYPL_Archives

I was looking for the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The online catalogue indicated that they were available electronically. Though they aren’t listed in the hand-out materials, (click hand-out to see a copy for yourself!) and the person at the desk did not know of a microfilm copy, the online catalogue quickly sent us to the historical newspaper database.

As always, in local archives or big city libraries, it’s the staff that is the greatest resource. My experience with the Genealogy room and the Microfilm room showed me that NYPL’s staff is indeed a wonderful resource!

Thanks to all who dedicate themselves to helping patrons at NYPL!

Happy researching if you’re searching the NYPL collections!

Leave a Reply