Research Resources

Guide for Researchers

Visiting the Library

We encourage you to contact the Librarian in advance of your visit; however appointments are not required. Feel free to contact our Librarian with any questions. You can browse and search guides to a number of our collections in advance of your visit.

SCHS members have unlimited use of our library as a benefit of their membership; non-members pay $5 per person, per visit to use the library. Researchers are asked to sign in at our library register.

Research Room Regulations

Coats, briefcases, bookbags, parcels, and personal books are not permitted in the research area. Please leave them in the lockers provided in the entrance area. The Library reserves the right to inspect all research materials and personal articles before the researcher leaves the library. Eating, drinking, and cell phone use are not permitted in the library. Cell phones can be used in the lobby area. Time limits may be placed on the use of the microfilm reader-printer or public access computers as necessary.

Access to Materials

Our collections are intended for use, and are made available to the public. No special permission or letters of introduction are required for use of any library materials, including archives and manuscript collections. All materials on the Library’s shelves are open for browsing. Finding aids and guides are available for our collections of surname files and clipping files, maps, photographs, and collections of personal papers and organizational records. Researchers are encouraged to contact the Librarian directly to arrange for access to archival materials. Researchers may be limited to using one folder or item at a time for some collections.

Handling of Materials

All archival materials must be handled carefully: use only one folder at a time and keep the papers in their existing order. Do not lean or press on archival materials. Do not trace maps or other records. Researchers will be provided with cotton gloves to wear when handling photographs and negatives. No ink of any kind may be used in the research area; use pencils only. Please do not reshelve or refile materials; leave all materials on tables for reshelving by staff and volunteers.

Computers and Internet Access

Researchers are welcome to bring their laptops, tablets, and smartphones for use in their research. Wireless internet access is available. We also have public computers available for visitors to use for research in our library, including access to the library’s subscription to research databases.


– $0.25/page for for copies and print-outs, sizes 8.5″ x 11″ (letter) and 8.5″ x 14″ (legal)
– $5/image for low-resolution (300 dpi) JPG scans of photographs and documents made by SCHS staff
– $10/image for high-resolution (600 dpi) JPG scans made by SCHS staff
– $10/image for TIFF scans made by SCHS staff

The maximum size of scan area for our scanner is 12″ x 17″. Scans are made at a default resolution of 300 dpi. All fees must be prepaid.

Scanning by Staff Form

Photographing Library Collection

Researchers wishing to photograph library collections or use a personal scanner must sign our Agreement for Permission to Photograph Library Collections. Additional permissions and fees apply for the publishing or public exhibition of images of our library’s collections. Researchers wishing to use a personal scanner MUST consult with the Librarian to confirm that the scanning is approved for the library material. No fees apply for researchers using personal cameras. Photographs are to be taken by the researcher without the use of flash or additional lights. The photography of materials must be in accordance with all Library policies regarding the handling of library materials.

Permission to Publish and Copyright

Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the library’s collections is coordinated through the Librarian. Please contact the Librarian for information on obtaining permission to publish images or documents from our collections.

Agreement for Permission to Publish

Research Requests

All SCHS members may use the Library at no charge. Members who join SCHS at the sponsor level, or above, can contact the Library to receive one free hour of research with the Librarian each year. Non-member researchers can contact the Library to ask staff to conduct research on their behalf, for a fee.


$5 for a “look-up,” or research on a single vital record such as birth, baptism, marriage, and death records (detailed below).
$25/hour for comprehensive research covering all library sources, primary and secondary, including family files, manuscripts, photographs, maps, and historic documents.

Library Policy on Research Requests
Almshouse and Poorhouse Lookup Form

Details on Look-Ups of  Records
Details on Look-Ups of  Records If you find a reference to a specific record or document of interest to you that is described in one of the finding aids on our Collections page, you can request a photocopy of the record for the $5 fee. Please contact 518-374-0263, option 3, or email our Librarian to request a copy of a specific record. Obituary and Marriage Record Look-Ups: The library has transcriptions of obituary and marriage notices from local newspapers for the years 1812-1884 (1812-1877 on microfilm). Almshouse/Poorhouse Record Look-Ups: In 1896, the New York Legislature passed legislation requiring officers of public almshouses and poorhouses to submit an annual census of inmates to the State Board of Charities. At a state conference of Superintendents of the Poor, a committee developed a standard form for reporting information about each inmate. This form was used unchanged until 1905 when the State Board made a few minor revisions. Although the records span the years from 1875 to 1920, there are often gaps of one or more years in the census returns from a particular county. Most records are in the 1900-1919 time period. The Historical Society has a microfilm copy of these records for the poorhouse in Schenectady County, New York. An index to the records can be found here. Naturalization Records: The library has naturalization records from 1809-1929 on microfilm.

Payment may be made by personal check made out to Schenectady County Historical Society and mailed to SCHS, 32 Washington Ave, Schenectady, NY 12305. Additionally, you pay contact us at 518-374-0263×5 to pay by credit card over the phone, or pay online below:

Pay for Research

Click on the button below to pay for your research request.