New York Emigrant Savings Bank, 1850–1883
TIP 1: Don’t stop your search if you find one entry for an ancestor. People may appear in multiple books, or you may find individuals associated with more than one account.
TIP 2: Search for everyone in the family. Details not found in your direct ancestor’s account may show up in a sibling’s account.
TIP 3: Remarks can also include immigration details, such as a ship name, port of departure, and date.
TIP 4: These records often provide women’s maiden names. For example, Daniel Buckley’s mother is listed as Ellen Lonergan. (Looking up the record for Daniel’s brother-in-law Michael Quinn reveals which of Daniel’s sisters he married: Bridget Buckley.)
TIP 5: Look for family details under Remarks. From this record we learn that Daniel Buckley comes from Waterford; his father, Thomas, is deceased; his mother, Ellen, is alive; he has sisters named Ellen, Bridget, and Mary; and he is unmarried.
TIP 6: Not all records included a birth year, so unless you’re looking at a huge number of hits, you might want to leave the birth year search option blank.
What are they:
Records from the Emigrant Savings Bank. Members of the Irish Emigrant Society opened the bank in 1850, following the huge wave of Irish immigration spurred by the Irish Potato Famine. While most depositors were of Irish descent, the bank was not restricted to people from Ireland.
What you’ll find:
To identify account holders, the bank asked for personal details that are pure gold to family historians. There are four kinds of records in this database:
Test books include personal details used to identify depositors and cover the years 1850-68. Details can include dates, depositor’s name, account number, occupation, residence, and other remarks, such as names of other family members, immigration information, or birth or residence information in Ireland.
TRANSFER, SIGNATURE, AND TEST BOOKS
These books existed from 1850 through 1883 and were used primarily to record changes to an account, such as a new signature, change in address, or change in the account holder. You might find the account holder’s signature, date of a change, account number, residence, occupation, year born, birthplace, and family relations.
These records are arranged by account number and contain an account history of typical transactions, such as deposits and withdrawals.
Index books list names and account numbers.
This database is a good place to look up sponsors, neighbors, and other characters that keep reappearing in records with or near your ancestors. Because of the relationships often listed and the fairly consistent inclusion of mothers’ maiden names, information from this database may finally link these folks to your family tree.
You can also learn more about Emigrant Savings Bank records in this 5-Minute Find video.
When you click on View Record for someone in your Emigrant Savings Bank search results, you’ll be taken to a page with a link that says, “View other records associated with this account number.” This is something you definitely want to do. Displaying results by account number can turn up entries that were indexed with different spellings. There are also instances where the Transfer, Signature, and Test Books don’t list a name in the “signature” field, but searching by account number will bring up the record.