Below are several case studies that highlight the resources and methods I have used to solve genealogy brick walls in New York.
The names are fictitious, but the cases and resources are real!
Case 1 - Troy, NY.
Goals: 1) Find the death certificate of Joseph Maloney, about 1907, probably Troy; 2) and his wife Jane; 3) find their marriage about 1890, Troy; 4) also find Joseph's obituary.
I searched the following records to find the requested information (including the Irish counties of birth!)
Deaths listed on the microfiche index at the State Archives, Albany. I knew the approx. year and easily found the certificate information for Joseph and his wife.
Marriages, also listed on the microfiche index. This was also easily found. The marriage was in one of the towns in Rensselaer Co., not Troy.
The 3 certificates were ordered directly from the State Health Dept. in Menands, NY [ordering them directly speeds up the processing time]. The marriage certificate listed the Irish county of birth for both Joseph and his wife, which helped to solve a brick wall for the client!
Joseph's obit was quickly found in the Troy Record, once the exact date was known.
Case 2 - Albany, NY.
Goal: Find the parents of Marie, born about 1816. She married David in New York City, 1837. He was from Albany, and they appear in Albany in the 1850 census.
How did I solve this problem? Below are the resources I used for a successful outcome:
I searched the 1855 State census at Albany Co. Hall of Records. This census gives the county of birth in NY, which stated that Marie was born in New York City.
Her husband David was then followed in Albany Directories until his death in 1898.
His death certificate was requested at Albany City Hall (deaths are recorded at Albany City Hall until 1914; at the State level after that).
The death certificate listed David's place of burial as Albany Rural Cemetery.
Albany Rural has an excellent card file, which listed David's dates, plus those of Marie who died in 1890.
Knowing Marie's death date, her death certificate was then requested at Albany City Hall, which gave the names of her parents. Voila!
Case 3 - Troy, NY.
Goals: 1) Research the family of Patrick and Honora; 2) find their marriage about 1863; 3) the baptism of their son Joseph about 1870; 4) find their death dates and burial. They appear in the 1880 and 1900 census of Troy.
I searched the following records to find the requested information
Troy Directories - Patrick's death date was found in 1906, and Honora's in 1908.
Obituaries - Patrick's gave his wife's maiden name and church. Honora's was also found. Burial at St. Peter's Cemetery.
Death Certificates - ordered and received from Troy Vital Records office.
Probates - Patrick's probate was found at Rensselaer Co. Historical Society. (They have the original probate files and index through 1916. After 1916 they are at the Surrogate Court).
Church Records - Patrick's 1863 marriage was found through St. Peter's Church. Many connections were also found in the published church records of St. Patrick's and St. Mary's (at Troy Public Library). The baptism of their son was not found between 1870-1874.
Case 4 - Watervliet (Albany Co.), NY
Goal: Trace the ancestry of James, born about 1879 in Watervliet. He married Anna in Troy in 1903.
I used the following resources to find information about James' ancestors:
I searched the 1880 census of Watervliet (West Troy) and found James age 1 year with his parents, John and Helen.
In 1870 John and Helen were found in Columbia Co.
John was traced in the Watervliet directories until his death in 1906.
I searched for John's death certificate in the index at the State Archives. The certificate named John's parents (born in Ireland), plus his place of burial in St. Agnes Cemetery, Albany Co.
The cemetery lot cards and markers had a lot of information about collateral relatives for further research.
Obituaries, deeds, and wills were also found for this Irish family.