20 January 2016

Resource Roundup : NY Public Library Digital Collections

Family History Image Bonanza

If you're looking for New Jersey resources, the logical place to start is in New Jersey. That makes sense. But don't discount the possibility of finding NJ resources in other states.

The New York Public Library has a huge image collection online that is easily searchable. It is a fabulous resource for any researcher. They have over 672,000 images available for your enjoyment, and many are free to use without restriction.

Cover of "Atlas, Union County, New Jersy, 1906" Jabob L. Bauer. From the NY Public Library Image Collection
Atlas of Union County, NJ
NY Public Library Images
The first search I tried was for "Elizabeth, New Jersey." I hit pay-dirt with the "Atlas of Union County, New Jersey, 1906. " My maternal grandfather was born in 1905, and my maternal grandmother was born in 1906. This little gem gives a nice idea of what their neighborhoods looked like around the time of their births.

The maps are very detailed, showing businesses, property owners names, and building construction type. If you have family from anywhere in Union County around this time period, I highly recommend it.

In a future post I hope to cover some of my discoveries in this great publication.

"An Oysterman With His Tongs"
NY Public Library Images
My next search was the word "oyster." You see, many of the Dixon men were oystermen at one time or another during the late 19th and early 20th century. My great-great-grandfather, John Dixon, worked as an oysterman when he returned home after serving in the Union Army during the Civil War.

You can imagine how thrilled I was to discover, among many images found with this search,  this photo, taken between 1860 - 1920, of "An Oysterman With His Tongs." The man is unidentified, but it gives me a some idea of what the Dixon men were doing.

Sheetmusic "The Merry Singer," Singer Manufacturing Co. NY Public Library Digital Images
"The Merry Singer" Music and Lyrics
NY Public Library Images
 Finally, I searched for anything relating to the Singer Manufacturing Company. My maternal grandmother, her father, and at least one of her sisters all worked for Singers, a major employer in Elizabeth for many years. One fun thing that turned up in my search was a bit of sheet music that looks like a promotional piece for the Singer Company. "The Merry Singer," circa 1891. I would love to hear it played and sung!

I recommend that you try searching this great resource for yourself and see what you find. Try searching by surname, location, occupation, or anything else you think might be relevant to your research.

Just because the resource isn't in New Jersey, it doesn't mean that it's not a valuable asset for your research!


Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library. "Atlas of Union County, New Jersey. 1906. From maps and data by Jacob L. Bauer county engineer. Private plans, surveys and official records. Under the supervision of and published by E. Robinson & co. 428 Lafayette St." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/b9a483db-4bec-dee3-e040-e00a18064eb1

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "The Oysterman with his tongs." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1860 - 1920. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-ab09-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Music Division, The New York Public Library. "The merry singer" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1891 - 1891. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dd-edc9-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

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