Friday, December 31, 2010

A Visit to the NYPL

Tuesday, I took a somewhat impromptu trip to the New York Public Library's Milstein Division of U.S. History, Local History, and Genealogy. This had been one of my goals for the upcoming year, but I wasn't quite as well-prepared as I should have been. I had been heading into Manhattan for a job interview, but, having both forgotten my cell phone and left very early in anticipation of blizzard-induced mass transit delays, I did not know that the interview was cancelled (thanks, blizzard!) until after I was most of the way there. (I had to stop and use a pay phone to call home and have my sister check my messages. Come to think of it, there must be a way to check my voicemail remotely. But I don't know what it is.) I was already most of the way to the city, so I decided to keep going and stop at the library. (I entertained the idea of going all the way to Brooklyn for research, instead, but luckily decided against it. I later learned that that borough hadn't been plowed yet.)

An early start on my New Year's goals! Go me! However, I was armed only with a copy of my resume, and a list of references - none of my genealogy notes, nor my notebooks for taking genealogy notes. I worked primarily from memory, and wasted some time on extra research, like using City Directories to look up addresses I already knew.

I primarily looked at the 1875 New York State Census, but I wasn't able to locate the family I had most wanted to find. One of my goals for the coming year is to find out where Matthew Madigan came from, so I had hoped to find the Madigan family. Finding them living at 85 Luqueer St. would also have provided a clue as to when the house was built. I didn't find them, though, so I suspect they may not have yet moved from Manhattan (where they lived in 1870) to Brooklyn (where they lived in 1880). Unfortunately, the Manhattan returns were destroyed before they could be filmed, and the information no longer exists. (Matthew Madigan did not show up in the 1875 NYC Directory for either Manhattan or Brooklyn.) However, I found a couple of Mulvaney families and the Toners. I was glad to find the Toners, as I haven't been able to find them in either 1880 or 1892.

Spending all day poring over microfilm made me feel like a real live genealogist.

Pay phones and microfilm, all in one day. How very retro of me!

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