Ancestry.com adds 14 million New York records to database

Ancestry.com New York Records
Ancestry.com New York Records

The New York City Department of Records and the New York State Archives have released 14 million records to Ancestry.com. This includes birth, marriage, and death records for New York City, which were and are still indexed by the Italian Genealogical Group and the German Genealogy Group. Previously, these records were searchable by visiting the websites of these two groups or through one of my favorite genealogy websites, stevemorse.org.

The 14 million records also include the index to the 1855 and 1875 New York state census populations, which have been available at FamilySearch.org.

I’ve already found many records for my ancestors and relatives within these indexes outside of Ancestry.com, and I’ve ordered many record certifications of vital statistics from the Department of Records, but having these records completely incorporated into the family tree might provide some new hints towards details that I haven’t yet noticed.

Here’s the entry for the family of my second great grandfather, David Sturmwald. The Sturmwalds are likely my only ancestors to be living in the United States as early as 1875. David Sturmwald arrived in the United States from Bayern (Bavaria) in 1849, but I haven’t found him in the earlier 1855 New York state census.

David Sturmwald and family in the 1875 New York Census
David Sturmwald and family in the 1875 New York Census

The Aaron Berman recordings

This past weekend, I met my mother’s cousin on her mother’s side for the first time. My mother and her cousin were very close as children, but today, she lives only about thirty minutes from me in New Jersey. It took a long time for me to get the opportunity to visit, but I’m glad I did.

She shared with me stories from Brooklyn, but she had more than just memories to share. At some point, she had 8mm home movies converted to VHS, so we spent some time watching how she, her family, and occasionally including my mother spent holidays, visited Coney Island, and entertained each other. I thoroughly enjoyed the Yiddish songs performed in next to the Christmas tree.

Entertainment was a major part of life in this family, and the musical talent runs deep on the Berman side. It’s no surprise that my brother is a musician, I, while no longer practicing, studied music for a major part of my life, and other Berman descendants have talent.

My mother’s cousin also helped me complete more missing information about the descendants of my great grandfather, Samuel Wolf Berman, and suggested the burial location for my great grandmother, Anna Neckameyer Berman (who married twice after the death of Samuel). Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to determine the last name of her final husband.

Estelle "Pat" Lovejoy Berman, Aaron "Al" Berman via Shari Berman Landes
Estelle “Pat” Lovejoy Berman, Aaron “Al” Berman
via Shari Berman Landes

I learned about the musical talents of the Berman side of the family. My mother’s uncle, Aaron (Al) Berman played piano and sang, her aunt Rita Berman Abrams sang, and her great aunt Celia was also a musician. On several occasions, Al, who had a gramophone recorder, pressed 78s as the family played the piano, sang songs, and even delivered comedy. My mother’s cousin, who I visited this past weekend, had six of these 78s.

The Bermans made these recordings in the early 1950s (although the recording equipment makes the recordings sound older). During track 8, someone announces that the date is Sunday, January 2, placing the year of recording as either 1949 or 1955. At the beginning of track 9a, there is an announcement about Kathy Fiscus, a three-year-old child who died after falling into a well in 1949. Continue reading “The Aaron Berman recordings”