Thursday, November 12, 2015

Emigrant City - New NYPL Project

Crowd-sourced, online transcription and indexing projects have become popular in genealogy over the last few years. Both, through their World Archives Project, and Familysearch Indexing ask people to volunteer their time to transcribe and index genealogy records. The New York Public Library recently launched a transcription project called Emigrant City. Developed in collaboration by two departments of the public library (NYPL Labs and the Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy), "Emigrant City invites you to help transcribe recently digitized mortgage and bond record books from the Library’s collection of Emigrant Savings Bank records."[1]

The Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank, based in New York City, was founded by the Irish Emigrant Society and opened its doors in 1850. It was originally located on Chambers St., beside the current Municipal Archives, a location ideally suited to attracting a large number of Irish depositors who lived in Lower Manhattan. In all over 170,000 accounts were opened between 1850 and 1883 with the vast majority in the names of Irish men and women.[2] The 6,400 mortgage and bond books that are to be transcribed date from between 1851 and 1921[3].

Inevitably, there will be a healthy number of bank customers in the books who were Irish-born or the American-born children of Irish immigrant parents. In fact, the second person who received a loan from the bank was New York-born Mary O'Connor. She received a $2,000 loan on 22 January 1855.[4]

This is a project to keep an eye on, especially if you have New York City Irish ancestry. You can read more about the Emigrant City project on the dedicated NYPL website.

[1] Armstong, William. Emigrant City: An Introduction. 4 November 2015. New York Public Library. accessed 7 November 2015.
[2] Salvato, Richard. A User’s Guide to the Emigrant Savings Bank Records. New York, NY: New York Public Library Manuscripts and Archives Division. 1997. Available at accessed 17 December 2012
[3] Sutton, Philip. Emigrant City: Two Stories. 4 November 2015. New York Public Library. accessed 7 November 2015.
[4] Sutton, Philip. Emigrant City: Two Stories. 4 November 2015

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