Genealogy: How to Research Your Family Tree at the Albany County Hall of Records
He who takes no interest in the history of his ancestors does not deserve to be remembered by his posterity
The Archives staff will assist all researchers whether in person or by mail. If the research is done by mail request, there is a $20.00 per hour search fee. The only charges for research on site is for paper copies of records (50¢ per page) or for written certification that the record is a copy of the original ($4.00). Use our Research Request Form linked from this page.
The following records are referenced in any family research:
1. The Albany City Directories (1830 - 1994)
The directories are for the City of Albany only. Many municipalities of Albany County have their own city or town directories. The directories are an annual publication listing addresses and occupations of the inhabitants of the city during a given year. Each book has a table of contents and business advertisements. Directories from 1857 to the present give alphabetical listings of all businesses in Albany during that year. The City of Albany Directories from 1914 to the present list street guides; this allows the researcher to look up houses by street name and address.
2. Census Records
The Hall of Records has census records for the City and County of Albany from 1855 - 1925. These contain detailed information on the entire population of the area surveyed. The records are arranged by municipality, ward, election district, and page number. The census lists the name of families or individuals, relationship to the head of household (e.g., son, daughter), age, gender, country of birth, alien or citizen, occupation and address. Note: the researcher must know the ward the individual/family resided in because only the 1892 census is indexed by name. The city of Albany Directories and ward maps can help locate the ward.
3. Declaration of Intention and Naturalization (1827 - 1991)
These records are for Albany County only. The Declaration of Intention includes name of alien, age, homeland, port of departure, two references, intended settlement, an oath to support the U.S. Constitution and to renounce allegiance to their former ruler. The Naturalization record is a statement of a person's required residence and good character, petition to become a citizen and the court's ruling to admit him or her as a citizen. Some of the petitions record the name of the ship the person sailed on and the name of other family members. By the mid Twentieth Century, naturalizations included Ellis Island certificate of admission and an identification photo. Note: until the early 1900's naturalization proceedings were not required for married women, who were automatically naturalized when their husbands were, or children. Naturalizations do exist for unmarried women.
4. Index to Public Records - Grantor (seller), and Grantee (buyer)
The Grantor/Grantee records contain property transactions for Albany County from 1630 - 1940. Each entry gives the date of transaction, deed book and page number. There is a brief description of the property.
5. Marriage Records, 1870 - 1946
The marriage records are for the city of Albany only. The records are indexed by the bride's name and records bride's name, groom's name, date of marriage, occupation of the bride and groom, and the names of the bride's and groom's parents.
Researchers are also referred to other agencies of Albany City and County, area cemeteries, the National Archives regional center in Pittsfield, MA (one hour from Albany by car), the New York State Library and records repositories of other counties.