Genealogy and Local History

Our Troy Room Collection contains hundreds of books, pamphlets, and other local history and genealogy documents. Works by local authors, Troy City Directories, local newspapers, family histories, and census records are all part of this valuable collection. The library also subscribes to two genealogy research databases: Ancestry Library Edition and HeritageQuest Online. These databases are available only on computers in the library.

  • Ancestry Library Edition (available only in the library), one of the most important genealogical collections available today, has unparalleled coverage of the U.S. and the U.K., including census, vital, church, court, and immigration records, as well as record collections from Canada and other areas. The Ancestry Library Edition collection has approximately 4,000 databases including key collections such as U.S. federal census images and indexes from 1790 to 1940; the Map Center containing more than 1,000 historical maps; American Genealogical Biographical Index (over 200 volumes), Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage (over 150 volumes), The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1630, Social Security Death Index, WWI Draft Registration Cards, Federal Slave Narratives, and a strong Civil War collection.
  • HeritageQuest Online (available only in the library) is an essential collection of unique material for both genealogical hobbyists and professionals, with coverage dating back to the late 1700s. HeritageQuest Online combines digital, searchable images of U.S. federal census records with the digitized version of the popular UMI® Genealogy & Local History collection and other valuable content. Along with U.S. federal census images and indexes from 1790 to 1930, HeritageQuest Online offers more than 20,000 book titles, including nearly 8,000 family histories and over 12,000 local histories, in addition to the more than 250 primary source documents such as tax lists, city directories, and probate records.
  • Sanborn Insurance Maps for Troy in Rensselaer Digital Collections – Sanborn Maps is an American publisher of historical and current maps of U.S. cities and towns. These maps were initially created to estimate fire insurance liabilities. They are extremely detailed and have great historic value. The company’s maps are frequently used for historical research, preservation and restoration efforts. This collection of insurance maps is of Troy, NY, with parts of the Village of Green Island, the Town of Colonie and the City of Watervliet.  The scanned images are of the introductory materials, indexes, and supplements from the original 1903 edition and a 1955 republication of the 1903 edition reflecting intermittent updates between 1931 to 1966.  The individual images are available for viewing in the original TIFF format and JP2 formats in order to provide greater detail.  There are 192 maps in the original 1903 edition and 182 maps in the 1955 republished version.Thanks to the efforts of Jeanne Keefe, Media & Digital Assets Librarian, this treasure trove is now accessible via Rensselaer Digital Collections.  Once the Rensselaer Digital Collections page opens, the collections can be searched by entering “Sanborn” in the search engine, identifying the map of interest and clicking on the “Object” icon.
  • Troy Record Papers

Genealogical Research Policy:

Researchers are welcome to use the library’s Troy Room, which houses our non-circulating genealogy and local history collection. The Troy Room is open during normal library operating hours.

For those who cannot visit our library in person, we offer remote assistance for a fee of $25. The $25 fee must be paid in advance, and will cover up to one hour of genealogical research. If you are interested in this service, please print out the Genealogy and Local History Request Form, fill it out and mail it along with your check for $25 to: Troy Public Library, Attention: Genealogy and Local History, 100 Second Street, Troy, NY 12180.

Please understand that we require payment of the $25 in order to begin searching. Genealogical research can be quite labor-intensive, and even in cases in which our searching turns up no information, payment is still required. Questions are answered in the order in which they are received. Response time will vary based on the number of questions received and may take up to one or two months.Man reading a book

Here are some helpful links to get you started on your own genealogical search:

If you require extensive research assistance (more than two hours of work), you should consult with a professional genealogist. Here is a list of researchers who work in the Capital District.