Skip To Content
Plan Your Visit

Welcome to the International African American Museum! Advanced timed tickets are required for all visitors. Popular dates and times may be sold out.

Jan 02, 2020

New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949

Blog 118 Image 2
Blog 118 Image 1

About This Collection

If your ancestor supposedly moved to New York City and died before 1950, you can search to see if you find your ancestor’s death in this location showing you proof that he or she migrated.  The records represent the five boroughs of New York City. Each borough covers a different time period:

  • New York City (Manhattan) 1795-1949  
  • Bronx 1898-1948, Brooklyn 1847-1949
  • Queens 1898-1949
  • Richmond 1898-1949

For more information on this record set, please see the collection’s Learn More page.

Researching From This Collection

Once you find your ancestor, the death record will tell you more about where he or she died, the age he or she was, and how long they were in the community. The date and place of birth along with the parent’s place of birth can help you find them on the US Census which can give you clues about other siblings. You can also research both their parents if the maiden name of the mother is given.

You will find the spouse’s name, and that can lead you to their children if you look on the US Census. Usually, the person who reported the death also given on the record is the spouse or child or close relative. The date and place of interment can lead you discovering an obituary, church, or funeral home. Each of those places can cause you to learn about other family members close to your ancestor.

To begin searching you just really need to know the name they were using at the time of death, the place they would have died, and an estimate date he or she would have died. I began by searching for Hattie Elizabeth Adams who lived in Manhattan:

Example: Hattie Elizabeth Adams, d. 1929

Blog 118 Image 2

I learned about St. Michaels Cemetery. I tried to find her on, but she was not listed. I did not find St. Michael’s listed on either. I would need to investigate to find out if this is connected to a church. The local library would be a good place to ask. I could go to the Research Wiki for Manhattan Borough, New York Genealogy, and I could find the local library listed there. I could ask about finding an obituary since now I know the burial date.

I can search Benjamin and Alice Goode on the US Census. I can now search Alice Stowers Goode to find her parents using the US Census. I can search Hattie’s husband, Holiver Adams, and Hattie to find any listed children in the US Census.  These preliminary searches would lead to much more such as marriage records, historic newspapers, or even probate or a will. Hopefully, you can see how New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949 FamilySearch Historical Records can help you identify ancestors involved in the Great Migration.

Related Resources

The FamilySearch Wiki page African American Resources for New York provides an overview of resources for African American genealogy research in New York.

To learn more about researching in New York, you can view BlackProGen LIVE Ep31: People of Color in the Northeast: New York and New Jersey.

More FamilySearch Wiki Resources for African American Genealogy

Researching African American Genealogy provides step-by-step guidance for beginning your ancestor search, as well as links to online resources.

Quick Guide to African American Records contains information on beginning research tips, links to suggested guides for beginning your search for African American ancestors, overviews of major record sets, tips for finding the slaveholder, links to tutorials for African American genealogy in the FamilySearch Learning Center, and links to other online and offline resources.

Southern States Slavery and Bondage Collections will help you locate digitized searchable collections as well as digitized microfilms in the FamilySearch catalog related to slavery and bondage. The page is arranged by state. 

African American Genealogy provides links to Wiki pages for researching African Americans in each U.S. state.