A Preliminary Guide to Historical Records Sources On Latinos In New York State
About this Guide
This guide provides an overview of records relating to Latino-Hispanic populations currently held in archives, libraries, historical societies and governments around New York State. It is a work in progress. In it you will find descriptions of the Latinos records we have discovered so far through online searches of the statewide Historic Documents Inventory (HDI), the Research Libraries Information Network (RLIN), the general schedules for local governments, Excelsior (the online catalog of the New York State Archives and State Library), and World Wide Web sites. We anticipate that additional resources will be identified as work in this area progresses.
This finding aid is being released during the course of the Latino component of the New York Heritage Documentation Project, which is developing a plan that will provide guidance to individuals, organizations, and government agencies working to preserve records that document the extraordinarily rich history of Latinos in New York. As the plan is implemented, more documentation will become available to researchers of all kinds, from scholars, community organizers, and policy makers, to community and family members and citizen activists.
We hope that this guide will encourage further efforts to locate and make available additional archival resources that document Hispanic communities in New York. A more complete guide will be published on the State Archives website.
You can help us by letting us know about Latino documentation not identified within this guide. If you know of historical records, whether in a repository or still held by an organization or individual, please contact us:
New York State Archives
Cultural Education Center 9C71
Albany, NY 12230
"Latino" and "Hispanic" are broad terms that encompass a great diversity of culture, history, experience, and identity. In New York, both are generally used to denote the same populations, but they have different connotations, and individuals and groups may have strong preferences for one term or the other. Here, the terms are used interchangeably. Individual Hispanics may identify strongly with their places of ancestral origin (from the level of village to nation or possession), have a firm sense of pan-Latino identity, or believe that their ethnicity has little impact upon their identity. Mainstream institutions and governments tend to assume a general Latino-Hispanic identity for people with Hispanic surnames and to ignore the diversity within this broad group.
The New York State Archives Latino/Hispanic Heritage Documentation Project aims to preserve and make accessible the documentary heritage of New York's Hispanic populations. This project is statewide in scope: Latinos have settled in nearly all parts of the state, often in communities or neighborhoods with shared place of origin. These populations include migrants, immigrants, and descendants of people from Mexico, Central America, South America, Puerto Rico, and the rest of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Also included are immigrants and descendants of people from Brazil and Spain.