L.I. Ethnohistory Resources in the LHR


  • In the Local History Room, books are divided into 2 basic collections, Long Island Reference (LI REF) and New York State Reference (NY REF). Both collections use the Dewey Decimal System. Above the stacks are black and white numbers. Stacks 1-7 are LI REF. NY REF continues with 7-8.
  • LI REF 974.721 R-LI4 REA 1-8 (Readings in L.I. Archaeology and Ethnohistory) are good starting points for research, esp. for L.I. Indian (Native American) prehistory and history. But, village, town, county, L.I. regional, and state records and histories, as well as genealogical (mainly 920's) and biographical sources (B) and histories of L.I's outer islands. (974.725 I- ) can reward research. These sources sometimes contain material on Long Island ethnic groups, of varying length, uneven scholarship, and frequent period biases. Studies of particular periods of history may also yield valuable information. A few works of potential interest follow:
  • Census Records, Population, Housing, or Ethnic Surveys or Statistics, and Planning Studies, produced at various governmental levels, from local to U.S., or by, e.g.: LILCO, LIPA, Long Island Regional Planning Board, at various times, may prove useful. E.g.: 1776 Suffolk County Census; 1827-1863 Huntington Town School Trustee Annual Census Reports; 1850 Brookhaven Town Census (N. and S. vols.); 1850 East Hampton Town Census; 1975 Special Census of Brookhaven [Town], New York; 1980 Race and Spanish Origin (L.I. Regional Planning Board, 1982); 2010 Medford Vision Update.
  • Genealogies in the Room are now listed online on our website at: https://digitalpml.pmlib.org/Genealogy_Catalog/genealogy_PML_LI_NY.pdf
  • Cemetery Registers and histories of religious institutions
  • NY REF features histories and themes in state history, as well as histories or records, at the state, NYS region, county, municipal levels (including histories of NYC and its boroughs). Scattered works, and chapters of works, highlight ethnic history. Selected military and genealogical materials are otherwise among the most useful to researchers.
  • Due to the Room's space limits, half the LI REF and three-fourths of NY REF is in storage. But all works are listed in the Library Catalog (search box is in the upper left).
  • LI REF 301.450974-305.896 offers a number of selections on various ethnic groups, and the 200's offer information on a number of religious groups and institutions.

Historical Periodicals & Newspapers

  • The cumulative Long Island Forum Index [1938-2003] is online and searchable, leading to hundreds of articles written for a popular audience. Bibliographies and notes tend to be brief at best, but became more frequent in the final few decades. But, there is a mine of information available here, though scholarship is a bit uneven. Searches respond best to the fewest words. We have bound copies of the entire run of the Long Island Forum, 1938-2004, available in the Room. Note: The 2004 series was never completed, and there was no index for that year. We were restricted to use of extant indexes, by the publisher.
  • The Room contains most issues of Long Island Historical Journal (which, after it ceased publication, was replaced online [only] by the Long Island History Journal). Both are publications of SUNY at Stony Brook's History Department and contributing authors.
  • We also have a broken run of the Nassau County Historical Society Journal [1977-2016].
  • The Patchogue and (after 1973) Patchogue-Medford High School Record, [1929-2016] are available in the Room, though Seton Hall High School yearbooks are in storage.
  • Two valuable sources, available online, are New York State Historic Newspapers: Suffolk County, New York (formerly known as Suffolk Historic Newspapers) and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online, 1841-1955 (now part of Brooklyn Newsstand). TheEagle's coverage included all of L.I. These are both accessible on our Historic LI Newspapers webpage. Beware that period and political attitudes are often reflected in historic newspapers. Many minority groups receive scant positive coverage, and scant coverage, the further back in time you go, in L.I. newspapers.

Vertical Files

  • The Long Island and Patchogue Vertical File Subject Heading Index on the Local History homepage. There is also a general heading for L.I. - Ethnic Groups in the LI Vertical File which features 33 sub-headings, and a number of these have their own subheadings. Additional related files can be found, using Control + F[ind], which calls up a search box. The files have been heavily subdivided to offer researchers greater precision, and more rapid access to relevant material. On the negative side, there are also files on L.I. hate groups under LI-Ku Klux Klan and L.I.-Yaphank - Camp Siegfried (American Nazis, German American Bund).

Other Online Sources

  • Our Local History homepage includes general orientation material in the center, including a link to Long Island & New York State Genealogical Resources in the Celia M. Hastings Local History Room, as well as selected links from the PML Local History website.  There are also a number of works produced for history months. And among the entries under New York State History, Long Island History (regional, counties, towns, villages, are many searchable, downloadable full text works that range from histories to official records, to records of various religious institutions. Additional material on individuals, families, or ethnicity on L.I. may or may not be contained in these works.
  • Of potential interest to genealogists is Records of Men from Patchogue and Vicinity Who Took Part in the World War [A World War I Veterans' Survey], which was conducted by the Patchogue Village Historian and entered into a scrapbook. Entries are searchable generally, and by surname. Some veterans provided photos of themselves, wrote additional information o the reverse of the small survey sheet, or added letters, postcards of where they had been, other photos, and even a formal report. The Historian had only recently retired as Patchogue's first Superintendent of Schools. So, he knew many of them personally, which is sometimes evident in their respectful and affectionate remarks.