Ever wonder where your old records needed for Italian dual citizenship are stored in New York City?
They can be found in the New York City Municipal Archives, of course!
Founded in 1950, the Municipal Archives preserves and makes available the historical records of New York City municipal government. Dating from the early seventeenth century to the present, the Municipal Archives holdings total approximately 221,000 cubic feet. Accessioned from more than one hundred city agencies, the collections comprise office records, manuscript material, still and moving images, ledger volumes, vital records, maps, blueprints, and sound recordings.
Collection highlights include vital records, census, and city directories that are an essential resource for patrons conducting family history research, the number one hobby in America. Records pertaining to the administration of criminal justice, dating from 1684 to 1966, constitute the largest and most comprehensive collection of such material in the English-speaking world. There are more than one million photographic images in fifty collections including pictures of every house and building in the city, ca. 1940. Legislative branch records date back to the first Dutch colonial government in New Amsterdam. Robert Moses’ papers document the city’s vast infrastructure from 1934 through 1959, and the records of mayoral administrations provide extensive information about every aspect of New York City from 1849 to the present.
The Municipal Archives is committed to long-term preservation of the materials in its care. The institution maintains a conservation unit that performs complex document treatments, a micrographics unit to reformat materials, and a photography unit that produces new prints, transparencies, negatives, and scans from vintage photographic materials for both in-house use and for patrons.
Visiting the Municipal Archives was a great experience for me in the early 2000s. Back then, most marriage and death certificates were not yet digitalized. There was something magical about sifting through old documents, books and microfilms and happening upon the date, year, and names of your ancestors' marriage.
To visit the Municipal Archives:
31 Chambers Street, Room 103 · New York, NY 10007
Open to the public Monday through Thursday 9 AM to 4:30 PM, Friday 9 AM to 1 PM
Directions, visitor instructions, and holiday closings are available here
Photos: Diana Capozzi, Facebook
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