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The New York State Library

The New York State Library and New York Public Library have extensive collections of published biographies. There are numerous state, regional, and county histories with biographical information, but there is no comprehensive index to these.

New York State Biographical, Genealogical, and Portrait Index

This index, compiled by Gunther Pohl, is an excellent resource. It is a card index to over 500,000 names from more than 6,000 sources:

  • Histories
  • Biographical compendia
  • Periodicals
  • Atlases
  • Other sources.

You may write to have a search made. In the initial letter please enclose particulars about the ancestor, and send a self-addressed stamped envelope. Gunther Pohl will check the index for a fee. His address is:

Gunther Pohl
24 Walden Place
Great Neck, NY 11020
Telephone: 516-482-6037

Biographical Encyclopedias

Many state, regional, and county biographical encyclopedias are included in the Genealogy and Local History collection described in New York History.

The following are examples of excellent biographical encyclopedias for New York:

  • Fitch, Charles Elliott. Encyclopedia of Biography of New York. Four Volumes. New York, New York: American Historical Society, 1916. FHL fiche 6048146-49; book 974.7 D3f One to two page sketches.
  • Janet Foley, Early Settlers of New York State: Their Ancestors and Descendants, 2 vols. (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub., 1993). At Various Libraries (WorldCat). FHL Book 974.7 D25e 1993.
  • Greene Nelson ed. History of the Mohawk Valley . . . 1614–1925. Four Volumes. (Chicago, Illinois: S. J. Clark Publishing, 1925.) FHL films 1036045–46; book 974.7 H2mo Volumes three and four are biographical. Half- to one-page sketches.
  • Greene, Nelson. History of the Valley of the Hudson . . . 1609–1930. Five Volumes. (Chicago, Illinois: S. J. Clarke Publishing, 1931.) FHL film 1000230; book 974.7 H2g Volumes three to five are biographical with one- to two-page sketches.
  • Hamm, Margherita Arlina. Famous Families of New York. Two Volumes. (New York, New York and London, England: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1902.) FHL book 974.7 D2h; film 930243.) About a dozen pages per family and usually including several generations.

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