Federal, state, and local government records, including birth certificates, marriage and divorce certificates, death certificates, and census records are invaluable for genealogical and historical research into the lives of individuals and families. Following are resources to help you get started:
Reclaim The Records is a not-for-profit activist group of genealogists, historians, researchers, and open government advocates who sue government agencies and archives to obtain access to public records. Reclaim The Records digitizes everything they win and posts it online for free for all to use without restrictions. They have so far made available indexes to birth, marriage, and death indexes in several states, including New York and New Jersey. And they have multiple outstanding FOIA requests for nationwide records and state-level records across the U.S.
Everyone Counts: Using the Census in Genealogy Research - A very helpful research guide from the New York Public Library. Also see the NYPL's guide on Conducting Genealogical Research Using Newspapers for further search strategies.
To find biographical sources in OneSearch, WorldCat, or other library catalog, choose the Advanced Search function and add the word “Biography” as an additional Subject term to your Keyword or Subject search. If you are searching for biographies of a particular person, search on the person's name in the Subject field.
To find collected biographies -- titles like the Dictionary of American Biography, Great Historians from Antiquity to 1800, or Dictionary of Russian Women Writers -- in the Graduate Center Library's print and electronic collections:
Newspaper and magazine articles can be fruitful sources for biographical research. Following are just a few suggestions to get you started: