When you go to New York City to research your New York ancestors, visit the Milstein Division of U.S. History, Local History & Genealogy of the New York Public Library (NYPL) in the beautiful landmark building on 5th Ave. & 42nd St. They have good hours and they're free!
They have many indexes to records, some of which are not easily available anyplace else. For example, the indexes to birth after 1909 and deaths after 1948, are at the NYC Dept. of Health but are not open to the public; only authorized agents. But the library has indexes to NYC births and deaths up to 1982.
Some other key resources you'll find here:
Indexes to NYC births (late 19th century-1982), deaths (late19th century-1982) and marriages (1869-1937), many also available through the Italian Genealogical Group.
Coroner's inquests, New York, NY, 1823-1898 and Index to Divorces, Annulments, & Separations in New York County, 1784-1910.
Comprehensive collection of city directories not only for New York but for the entire country, along with a historical telephone directory collection.
All surviving New York State census records on microfilm for all counties including finding aids. Also New Jersey State census records.
1890 New York City “Police” Census (a great substitute to the 1890 Federal census)
The best collection of New York City historical newspapers (some online and many only on microfilm).
Many books, both family histories and genealogical compilations by location, and other materials searchable through our online Catalog including everything that came from the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Library in 2008.
NYC land and property records between 1654 and 1857, indexes and the actual records.
18th and 19th century wills for many counties in New York State.
The friendly and helpful staff can advise you on the other collections around the city.
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Room 121
New York Public Library