Do you have an ancestor that was a member of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society between 1890 and 1940? If so, your ancestor may have completed a questionnaire providing crucial personal and family biographical details, which oftentimes included family trees and press clippings.
Early in the twentieth century, New York Genealogical and Biographical Society members were asked to complete a four-page, ledger-sized questionnaire regarding the member's life and family. The stated purpose for the requested information was "the preparation of the Biographical Sketches of Members of the Society." Members were asked to provide "full and specific" replies and to use extra pages to complete the information when necessary. This member requirement was relatively short-lived, from the 1890s until the 1940s. However, those 545 New York Genealogical and Biographical Society members who dutifully filled out and sent back the forms, which were often accompanied by family trees, press clippings and other ephemera, created a unique family history resource. An index to the collection records the name of every family member mentioned.
Some of these records are handwritten by the society members and, as such, there is a range in legibility. The amount of available information will fluctuate based upon what individual members chose to include. You may discover the following details about your ancestor:
Residence and mailing address
Parents’ names, birth dates, birth places, occupations, marriage and death dates, and biographies
Family biographical lists, including children living and dead
References to printed works containing personal biography and ancestral history
Notes and letters related to family history research
With the plethora of biographical details provided, you may be able to cross-reference members with US censuses. Several US censuses are linked to in our Useful Links & Resources section. We have censuses dating back to 1790 and continuing up to 1940.
Additionally, there is a link to the searchable version of this record set in the Useful Links & Resources section. There you will be able to do full-text searches. Please note that handwritten pages are not indexed and as such they will not be searchable, whereas typed material is fully searchable.
A searchable index to all the principal names mentioned in the Biographies is available at the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society website, see the link in Useful Links & Resources.