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07 January 2006 @ 11:14 am
The hobby of recording your family history can be very addicting. Once you get a taste of who your ancestors are the desire to learn more can be over-whelming. I’ve been doing genealogy for almost 30 years. (I started as a mere child.) I have been very lucky that for generations my ancestors have lived in the upstate New York area. I do a lot of my research in the Warren and Washington Counties of New York.

Doing research in New York can be very frustrating for its lack of vital records and such. Every once in a while you do hit that huge brick wall and must pull out some big guns to put some holes in it. I feel very fortunate to have recently acquired one such big gun in my family history arsenal. I’m talking about William Dollarhide’s new book “New York State Censuses & Substitutes”. If your doing any research in the New York area then this book is a must have on your genealogy bookshelf.

I recently took the book to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah for a test spin. I was very pleased with the results that I found. It wasn’t long before I stopped counting the number of people I gathered from the records for my genealogy database. In this book William Dollarhide breaks the State of New York down into its separate counties. I was only focusing on the resources he listed for the Washington County, New York area. Even though I was at the Family History Library where I could look at all the records, anyone can order microfilms of these records through their local LDS Family History Center. You can find your local Family History Center listed on their website http://www.familysearch.org.

What does New York State Censuses & Substitutes cover? Not only will it give you an overview of the history of the counties, it gives you information on, State and Federal Census, Tax Records, Assessment Rolls, Probate Records, Land Records, Naturalization Records, Death and Marriage Notices, and much, much more. You will find in the deep pages of this book tons of helpful forms and charts to transcribe census information. You also get boundary maps from 1683 to present New York State, so you can see all the county changes. There are also very helpful statewide resources listed for Land Records, Military Lists, Newspaper Lists, and various websites to locate on-line records.

One of the treasures to me is a very simple table: NY State Censuses on Microfilm. It gives a list of each county when it was created and out of what county and then a break down by year, what each census contains, and if it is available, and then some additional notes. Now I found this information so well laid out that I copied it on to cardstock and had it laminated. It now sits beside my computer for a quick resource guide of the creation of the various counties. It saves me having to pull out my very heavy Ancestry’s Red Book all the time. Just this one page alone was worth the whole book to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if you find this book full of treasures for yourself. I highly recommend this book to anyone doing research in the New York area. Don’t worry if you’re researching a different state just be patient. I hear William Dollarhide is planning the same type of books for all the States. There is much to look forward to in gathering your family history. Bright days now lie ahead for genealogy; and remember tomorrow is always another genealogy day!
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