New York Genealogy - Jewish Genealogy - African-American Genealogy - Genetic Genealogy
New York Genealogy
My path to genealogy began with my New York ancestors. Living and working in the city, I have a deep familiarity with offline collections that help me break through clients’ brick walls.
New York City’s five boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island)
Westchester County, New York
Long Island (Nassau County and Suffolk County)
Hudson Valley, upstate New York, and New Jersey projects on a case-by-case basis
The majority of We Go Way Back LLC’s clients have New York roots between the 17th century and the 20th century.
Identified the parents and siblings of a “brick wall” ancestor in early 19th century New York City
Traced client’s New York City ancestry back to a Revolutionary War patriot on Long Island
Confirmed an Irish immigrant ancestor’s maiden name
Narrative genealogy (biographies) of three generations of New Yorkers, from the 18th century to the 20th century
In 2017, I published an article about a collection of previously unindexed records of free and enslaved African-Americans in New York City. Today, I use those records and others to help clients with African-American ancestry discover their family histories.
Used indirect evidence to identify the white father and enslaved mother of an African-American man born prior to Emancipation
Traced a client’s lineage to enslaved ancestors in the American South
As a Jewish person myself, I grew up believing that there was nothing to find about my Jewish ancestors. (I even wrote a whole blog post about it.) Today, I help clients learn about their Jewish ancestry, both recent and distant.
Research specialties include:
Locating Jewish immigrant families’ towns of origin across Europe
Identifying Jewish families’ original surnames, Yiddish names, and Hebrew names prior to assimilation
Reconstructing the identities of Jewish ancestors who converted or otherwise hid their religious or family histories
Narrative genealogy (biographies) of a Jewish family, with social and historical context on their emigration from Europe
Identified a client’s Jewish ancestor who had hidden his birth name and origins from his family
Traced ancestry to a family of 15th-century sephardic rabbis
I regularly incorporate DNA evidence into my genealogical research. In 2019, I published a case study in the peer-reviewed New York Genealogical and Biographical Record that used a combination of traditional records and DNA evidence to identify clients’ fourth-great grandparents.
Adoption and unknown parentage cases
18th- and 19th-century genealogical problems
Admixture results, also known as “ethnicity results” or “pie charts” showing geographic areas or populations of origin
Identified living clients’ parents using a combination of DNA and traditional records
Connected a 1% South Asian admixture result to a female ancestor in 18th-century Bengal, India.
What is it?
Professional research into the ancestor, family, or genealogical problem of your choosing. Research is available in hourly installments, with most projects beginning at 15 hours. Final products take the form of a research report.
Research projects are delivered in a report format. Research reports are comprehensive accounts of findings and analysis, including images of relevant documents, maps, or photographs.
Projects begin with a retainer and are billed in installments at $100/hour.
Family History Packages
What is it?
Go beyond names and dates with a narrative genealogy, featuring the biographies of your ancestors alongside their lineages. Discover the social and historical context that shaped their lives, woven together in chapter form. Packages may incorporate your DNA test results, giving context to your DNA “pie chart.”
Packages begin with four ancestors. An average timeline is 3-12 months, depending on project scope.
A shareable PDF of your ancestors’ life stories, written in chapter form. For an additional fee, narratives may be printed in book form (allow additional lead time).
Contact for a quote on your genealogy project.
Add-ons, including DNA testing and book printing, are available.
What are they?
Photography and copying services for records at repositories throughout the New York City metropolitan area. This service is ideal for distance researchers who know exactly what record they're looking for, such as vital record copies from the New York City Municipal Archives. Cemetery photography also available upon request.
Looking for a search of records, and then retrieval? Check out Genealogy Research.
Record copies are available in digital or print formats:
- Digital delivery: High-resolution images, complete source citations, and fast turnaround.
- Printed and mailed: The best choice for certified records, copies are insured and mailed overnight.
Below is a selected list of repositories. Additional repositories available upon request:
- New York City Municipal Archives
- National Archives at New York City
- Courthouses and court archives in New York City's five boroughs, from Surrogate's Courts to the Bronx County Courthouse
- City Register Offices for Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx
- Richmond County Clerk's Office (Staten Island land records)
- New-York Historical Society
- New York Public Library
- Center for Jewish History, including the YIVO Archives
- Columbia Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Morgan Library & Museum
- Brooklyn Public Library
- Brooklyn Historical Society
- Queens Public Library
- Local cemeteries, such as Green-Wood Cemetery and the New York City Marble Cemetery
Both digital and mailed record retrievals are offered at a discounted hourly rate. Additional expenses may apply, such as record fees, transportation costs, postage, and the like.