Using the free New York databases on Ancestry.com

If you read any blogs yesterday, you couldn’t miss the news that Ancestry.com has released the indexed 1940 U.S. Census for New York.  In addition, they have made several of their New York databases free to New York residents.  As of today the New York Census for 1892, 1915 and 1925 seems to be free to everyone.  I don’t know how long that will last so yesterday I took full advantage of it

And I got to spend the day with some of my favorite people – on paper, at least

One of my maternal lines is from the Albany, Schenectady, and Montgomery County areas of New York.  Their roots go back to the early days of the Dutch in Albany. My 3rd great grandmother, Rachel Dorn (1803-1853), is a descendant of the Egmont family.  She married John Jay French (1796-?), who is one of my greatest puzzles.  With the Dorn, French, and Schuyler families, I had plenty to look for in the newly available New York data.

Going through the names gave me another opportunity to see the holes in my knowledge.  Familysearch.org has the 1892 New York census available and I had that information for most of my New Yorkers.  Adding the 1915 and 1925 time periods, as well as 1940, filled in some more, and gave me so many clues for further research.  I was able to narrow the time frame for deaths and marriages, add children I didn’t know about, and see how the families’ lives changed.  I can use this information to look in newspapers, books, etc. to fill out their lives even more.

The Schuyler family I find especially intriguing.  Many of the children are named after brothers-in-law.  Rachel Dorn French also followed it for son Jeremiah Schuyler French, who was born a few years after Rachel’s sister Jemima married Jeremiah Schuyler.  The Schuyler clan seems especially close, with many going into business together, adding those brothers-in-law, and, particularly for the childless couples, keeping nieces and nephews in their lives and in their wills.  This is a good time to mention that we should all be researching these sibling lines because you never know who you are going to find living with an in-law or a cousin!

Much detail can be found in the New York newspapers available free on fultonhistory.com, AKA Old Fulton NY Post Cards.  I’ll go into a little more detail about this site in tomorrow’s blog.  For now, suffice it to say that I found articles on the Schuyler, French and Dorn families ranging from obituaries to a family trip in the Packard!  Talk about living vicariously – and all at a price that fits my genealogy budget:  free!

So take advantage of these databases on Ancestry.com, while they last.  Remember to save the images — then later you’ll be able to study your new information, integrate it into your tree(s) and use it to determine additional research goals.

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