Home What's New? Search This Site Links Contact Info

German Immigrant Ancestors
in Syracuse and Onondaga County, New York

German Research Resources
in Onondaga County

Where do you find historical and/or genealogical research resources dealing with German immigrants and those of German descent in Onondaga County, New York? Here's a quick overview of sources and places you'll want to consider, whether you live in Onondaga County or are planning a research visit:

Onondaga County Public Library (Central)

The Galleries of Syracuse
447 S. Salina St., Syracuse, NY 13202
(315) 435-1900

A researcher's dream. Check in advance to confirm hours of operation. Parking is available in the building's underground garage. On the fifth floor you will find the Local History/Genealogy department, with an excellent, helpful staff and extensive collections covering the history of Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York State, the New England States, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Of great value to the genealogist in general are the local newspaper collections (on microfilm), the New York State Death Index (on microfiche), the Syracuse City Directories, the local newspaper obituary indexes, some local cemetery burial records (e.g. Woodlawn Cemetery), censuses, and online databases--contact the library for details. (And if you are going there on Saturday, take your own lunch with you, as there is no food available for sale in the vicinity on weekends.)

Specifically German-interest sources include:
Newspaper clippings:
  • “German exodus led to Syracuse century ago” scrapbook of clippings by Jean Rausch Bishop. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse Herald-American, 1970. LN48 Sy8 Bsax (DX83950)

  • “Foreign residents of Syracuse: newspaper clippings” includes Germans; this collection of clippings was put together by the Local History department of what was then Syracuse Public Library in about 1916. LN48 Sy8 BEf

  • "Syracuse Ethnic Groups: Newspaper Clippings" compiled by OCPL Local History and Genealogy Department, 2000. LN48 Sy8 BEse v.2 pp. 10-24

  • "Ethnic Groups in Syracuse: Newspaper Clippings 1922 - 1979" compiled by the Local History & Genealogy Department of Onondaga County Public Library, 1979.

  • City of Syracuse, German settlement in Syracuse; no date. LN48 Sy8 BEp MAP (DX417280)


Microfilmed birth/baptism, marriage, and death/burial records (in German, and sometimes including German towns of origin) for some German Lutheran churches in Syracuse (dates vary; contact the library):
  • Zion's Lutheran Church
  • St. John's Lutheran Church
  • St. Peter's Lutheran Church
  • Lutheran Church of the Redeemer
  • Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church
  • Lutheran Church of the Resurrection
(Also check the library’s catalog for individual church commemorative or historical booklets)

Books & booklets:
  • Centennial souvenir book: Syracuse Liederdranz (1955). LN48 Sy8 C6L (DX84358)

  • West New York Turn-Bezirk, Syracuse, N.Y.: 26tes Bezirks-Turn-fest, 1896. LN48 Sy8 C6st2 (DX918519)

  • Fest-ausgabe zur funfzigjahrigen Jubelfeir der grundung des Syracuse Turn-Verein, 1854-1904 LN48 Sy8 C6st (DX 84315)

  • Fifty year jubilee…of the Turn Verein of Syracuse, NY 1854-1904; index by Richard Hillenbrand, 1987. LN48 Sy8 C6st

  • Geschichte der Deutschen in Syracuse und Onondaga County (History of the Germans in Syracuse and Onondaga County, with short biographies of officials and prominent citizens; in German). J. P. Pinzer, 1897. LN48 On6 Bg

  • A Partial Transcript, Partial German-to-English Translation, and a Complete, New Index of Geschichte der Deutschen in Syracuse und Onondaga County…, by Michelle Stone, 2004

  • German-Americans in Onondaga County, by Martin S. Auer, 1983. LN48 On6 BE
  • Mitglieder-Liste (membership list) and Quittung bezahlter Beitraege zum Deutschen Pioneer-Verein von Onondaga County fuer das Jahr. 1916. LN48 Sy8 BEm (DX469494)

  • The Deutscher Gesangverein (German Singing Society), by Deutscher Gesangverein (musical group), c. 1994. LN48 SY8 MUDE

  • Roman Catholic clergy necrology, Central New York, transcribed from the Catholic Sun, and, Assumption Cemetery, Syracuse, New York, reinterments from St. Joseph’s German Cemetery, by F. Richard Barr, 2004. LN48 Sy8 C2a3

  • WPA indexes and abstracts of newspapers and scrapbooks in Syracuse for the following subjects:
    German Evangelical (Lutheran)
    German Protestant
    Foreign Born - German
  • Immigration and Naturalization Records 1802-1859, Onondaga County, Syracuse, New York, extracted from rolls of microfilm at the Onondaga County Court House, Syracuse by Mrs. Jean D. Worden, Franklin, Ohio, formerly of Liverpool, New York, 1978. Vol. 1, A-K; Vol. 2, L-Z and Addendum ("From the Admissions to Citizenship Book 1856"). Copies of this extract also are held at the Onondaga Historical Association and the Onondaga County Courthouse Archives.

Syracuse University Library (E.S. Bird Library)

222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244
(315) 443-2093

Located on the Syracuse University campus on the city's east side. Check in advance for hours of operation. Reference Department is on the first floor. This library seems to be the sole repository in Onondaga County (or the world??) for the microfilmed archives of the weekly German-language newspaper, the Syracuse Union (1865-1938). Though the language is German and the type font is Fraktur, even a non-German-speaking researcher (with a little advance study) can find sought-for names and can recognize dates when looking here for obituaries, wedding announcements, advertisements, and the like. A researcher who reads German could have a field day seeing Old Syracuse from the Germans' point of view.

Catalog No. 5371. 32 reels of microfilm, covering dates as follows: Reel 1: 1865-67; Reel 2: 1868-69; Reel 3: 1870-71; Reel 4: 1872-73; Reel 5: 1874-77; Reel 6: 1878-81; Reel 7: 1882-June 1886; Reel 8: July 1886-1889; Reel 9: 1890-95; 1896-99; 1900-June 1901; July 1901-02; 1903-04; 1905; 1906; 1907; 1908-June 1909; July 1909-1910; 1911-June 1912; July 1912-1913; 1914-June 1915; July 1915-1916; 1917-June 1918; July 1918-1919; 1920-21; 1922, 1923, Jan.-June 1925 (no 1924); July 1925-1927; 1928-June 1929; July 1929-1931; 1932-June 1934; July 1934-1936; 1937-38.

Onondaga Historical Association

OHA Public Research Center
321 Montgomery Street, 5th floor
Syracuse, NY 13202
Phone: (315) 428-1862 or (315) 428-1864

The Research Center is open to the public from Wednesday through Saturday, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays. For more information or to schedule an appointment outside regular hours, please call (315) 428-1864.

An indispensible research source. There is relatively little here specifically pertaining to Germans in particular (there are a few vertical files on the German population), but much to help with historical and genealogical research in general. Check in advance to verify hours of operation. The collection is especially known for its photographic archives, maps and atlases, and its voluminous (26,000) vertical files arranged according to topic, including biographical and family/surname files, files on blocks in the city of Syracuse, and Towns in Onondaga County. I am told they have Assumption Cemetery burial records on 3x5" index cards.

OHA Research Center Reading Room Finding Aid:

Try to make time to also visit the OHA Museum which has an interesting book-and-gift shop.

Onondaga County Courthouse

401 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
Telephone: (315) 435-2226 or -2227

Onondaga County Clerk's Office, Room 200 (2nd floor)
Onondaga County Archives (basement)
Hours: Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

County Clerk's website:

This is the place to come to find naturalization documents (1808 to present), wills and probate documents, land records, maps, and deeds, licenses, tax documents, some military records, some City of Syracuse marriage records (1908-1938), censuses (1850-1925) and other historic court records for ancestors who lived, owned property, did business, filed suit, or broke laws in Onondaga County. Check in advance with the Clerk's office for your specific needs.

Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse

240 E. Onondaga St.
Syracuse, NY 13201-0511
Telephone (315)470-1493

Carl Roesch, Archivist

The Archives consist of a museum, a library, and the records/work room located in the basement of the Chancery building at 240 East Onondaga Street, Syracuse. The Archives is open to researchers by appointment on Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Call in advance to verify holdings and hours.

If your German immigrant ancestors were Catholics, this is a stop you may want or need to make. Older documentation and Catholic church and cemetery records for entities no longer in existence (such as St. Joseph's Cemetery) may be archived here.

Liverpool Willow Museum

On the grounds of the Gleason Mansion
314 Second Street (Route 370)
Liverpool, New York 13088
(about 3 miles west of Syracuse)

Open Wednesday and Saturday 2-4 p.m., Spring through Fall
Other times available by appointment
Historian's Office: (315) 451-7091

Local tradition credits John Fischer, a German salt boiler, with weaving the first Liverpool willow in the early 1850's. The Liverpool Willow Museum was once the willow shop of John and Anna Hurst, originally located behind their home at 814 Oswego Street, Liverpool, and it is typical of the many willow shops that stood and still stand in village back yards. The Hurst family carried on the willow business in the shop from the late 1800's until 1929. The extended family that worked there produced utilitarian objects, such as laundry baskets, and "fancy ware" - furniture and decorative items. This unique museum commemorates a way of life brought to the area by Germans, as well as Liverpool's history of willow work.

Syracuse Turners

619 North Salina Street
Syracuse, New York 13088

Telephone: (315) 471-9851

This German-inspired athletic and social club (originally known as the Sociale Turn-Verein) has been a North Side Syracuse institution since 1854. The present building is a reconstruction following a fire in 1952 in which most of the Turners' historical records were lost.

Erie Canal Museum, Weighlock Building,
and Syracuse Urban Visitor Center

318 Erie Boulevard East
Syracuse, NY 13202
Telephone: (315) 471-0593

This is not a specifically German-related resource, but it is so integral to the unique canal-related history of Syracuse shared by our ancestors that it ranks on this list. Check in advance to verify hours and exhibits.

The Salt Museum

Onondaga Lake Park, just west of Syracuse
Rt. 370, Liverpool, NY 13088
Telephone: (315) 453-6767 or 453-6715
Open daily, in season; closed in the winter
Admission FREE, donations accepted

This is not a specifically German-related resource either, but since so many German settlers worked in the salt industry that made this area famous, I include it here as an historical resource. Be sure to call in advance to make sure it is open. The Salt Museum is near Ste. Marie among the Iroquois Living History Museum. For more information, check the Onondaga County Parks website:

Have you discovered a resource not included here?
Or do you have updated or additional information?
Please email me to make this webpage a better resource for everyone. Thanks!

Updated 27 December 2005