Can anyone tell me what directories (business, personal) and censuses, let alone birth, marriage and death records, exist for what is now the City of New York for the period 1815-1850? And what were the boroughs in New York at that time?
I am trying to trace any record of my great-great grandparents GEORGE RAINER and HARRIET RAINER (maiden name DE BOWEN) who were apparently in New York (where George was a 'merchant') in or about 1820, when a son of theirs, JOHN CRAGIN RAINER, was born. (He died in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in 27 November 1889, 'aged 69'.)
Would there be any business directories which might show where George Rainer had his business address, at any time in that period, especially about 1820?
I do not know whether he and Harriet Rainer remained in New York for the duration of their lives, where and when they died, or the names of any other children they may have had.
John Cragin Rainer joined the 'black and white' minstrel business in the 1840s, probably moving from group to group, travelling all over the USA and allegedly to Britain about 1846. (He is NOT to be confused with another minstrel J.W. Raynor in the same general period.) By at least 1852 J.C. Rainer had his own troupe, 'Rainer's Ethiopian Serenaders', which toured San Francisco and the Californian goldfields before embarking for Sydney in the British colony of New South Wales (in Australia). Gold had been recently discovered (1851) in New South Wales and the more southern colony of Victoria. He and his troupe arrived in Sydney on 19 September 1852 and proceeded to perform there and in other parts of the colonies. A few years later some of his troupe returned to USA but he stayed in the Victorian goldfields, managing a hotel (with theater) first in Castlemaine (from about 1858)and then in Daylesford (from about 1861 until about 1870). Much later he toured with a cyclorama show, with scenes from the Crimean and American Civil Wars.
I am keen to trace J.C. Rainer's parents and any possible siblings (and descendants of theirs). I do not know whether his parents were American-born or had emigrated from the British Isles or mainland Europe.
Any help would be appreciated.
Tony Rainer Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 4 Feb. 2006