I can answer a few of the questions regarding NYC contained in JB's reply to
Armin, since my family was living in NYC at that time.
First of all, New York State did conduct state censuses, every 10 years on
the 5th year of the decade (1855, 1865, etc.) I do not believe those are
available on line, unless Ancestry has them. They're probably available on
microfilm from LDS.
Second of all, it helps to know something of the political history of New
York City. Until 1898, New York City consisted solely of the island of
Manhattan (and part of the Bronx). "Greater New York" as we know it today
with the five boroughs came into being January 1, 1898. So in the mid-1800's
Brooklyn was a separate city in Kings County. In fact, it was a commuter
suburb and several economic and social steps above the immigrant
neighborhoods on the Lower east Side of Manhattan.
Regarding church books, if you know what neighborhood the family lived in
(from the city directory) you may be able to deduce several candidate
churches they may have attended. The problem is that New York's
neighborhoods are in a constant state of flux ethnically (and have been for
at least the last 150 years), so the odds of an Evangelical or Lutheran (for
example) congregation being in the same place for that whole time are almost
nil. Nevertheless, some of those records are available through LDS.
Birth and death records were not maintained by the city or state before
about 1870 to 1880 (varied somewhat among the different towns and cities
which existed prior to 1898).
A book that may be useful if you can find it is James P. Maher, "Index to
marriages and deaths in the New York Herald". It covers the years
1835-1870. Being the New York Herald, it probably would not cover events in
Brooklyn (recall Brooklyn was a separate city at that time). It is just what
it says, an index with no details. However, if you find an entry you're
interested in you can write to Mr. Maher himself, at PO Box 8623, Alexandria
VA 22306, and for US$10 he will send you an extract of the database for that
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper from 1841 to 1902 is available on line
free at http://www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/eagle/. I have been able to
find several useful references to my great-grandmother and my
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