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New York Vital Records

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Records of Births and Deaths[edit | edit source]

Statewide registration of vital statistics began in 1880 and was usually complied with by 1890 for deaths and by 1915 for births. In some areas of Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley, some births, marriages, and deaths were recorded in town records as early as about 1665. For example, Amenia, Dutchess County, has vital records beginning in 1749.

Births, marriages, and deaths were also recorded for a short time in most counties from 1847 to about 1850. The state legislature passed a law in 1847 requiring school district clerks to send information to the Secretary of State. The law was difficult to enforce, and most school districts stopped doing this by 1852. Historical societies have some of these records, but most are still in the possession of town and county clerks. The very few 1847–1850 vital records that were once on deposit in the New York State Archives have been returned to the towns that deposited them at the archives.

Some cities had pre-1880 registration, such as :

New York
(1847 for births, and 1801 for deaths)
Brooklyn (1866 for births and 1847 for deaths)
Albany (1870)
Buffalo (1878)
Syracuse (1873)
Rochester (1875)
Utica (1873)
Yonkers (1875)


You can learn more about the history and availability of vital records in Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in New York State (Including New York City), three Volumes. (Albany, New York: Historical Records Survey, 1942; FHL book 974.7 V23h; film 928101; fiche 6046676). The Family History Library has vital records for a few counties, mostly from 1847–1850 and marriages from 1908 to the 1930s.

Births and deaths are recorded in the town, village, or city where the event took place. A copy is sent to the New York Bureau of Vital Statistics. If you know the birth or death place, write to the town, village, or city clerk to obtain a copy of the certificate or record. A microfiche index to births 1881–1918 and deaths 1880–1943 is available for public use at the state archives. The indexes do not cover New York City. The archives will search and abstract the indexes for a fee. You can obtain births and deaths since 1880 (except New York City) for a fee by writing to:

New York State Department of Health
Bureau of Vital Records
Empire State Plaza, Tower Building
Albany, New York 12237-0023
Telephone: 518-474-3077 or 518-474-3030
Internet: http://www.health.state.ny.us/vital_records/

There is a 50-year restriction on death records and a 75-year restriction on birth records. The state fees and restrictions apply also to records held by the local clerks.

Birth and death records for Albany, Buffalo, and Yonkers to 1914 are filed with local registrars, and the state restrictions apply.

Albany births and deaths 1848, births 1866 to the present, and deaths 1870 to the present can be obtained for a fee from:

Registrar of Vital Statistics
City Hall, Room 107
24 Eagle Street
Albany, NY 12207
Internet: http://www.health.state.ny.us/vital_records/mailrequests.htm

Buffalo births 1878–1914, and deaths 1852–1914, can be obtained for a fee from:

Bureau of Vital Statistics
City Hall, Room 613
Niagara Square
Buffalo, NY 14202
Telephone: 716-851-5848
Internet: http://www.buffaloresearch.com/vital.html

Yonkers births and deaths 1875 to the present can be obtained for a fee from:

Registrar of Vital Statistics
City Hall
Yonkers, NY 10701
Telephone: 914-964-3066
Internet: http://www.rootsweb.com/~nysuffol/vroi.html

New York City. The New York City counties of Kings, Queens, Richmond, and New York were established in 1683. The Bronx was made a separate borough when the five boroughs were created in 1898, and in 1914 it was made a separate county as well. Between 1898 and 1914 the Bronx was part of New York County but not part of the Borough of Manhattan. Vital records may be listed in the Family History Library Catalog Place Search under the borough (for example, NEW YORK, KINGS, BROOKLYN - VITAL RECORDS), or they may be under NEW YORK, NEW YORK (CITY) - VITAL RECORDS.

The Family History Library has microfilms of some New York City births to 1909, deaths to 1919, and indexes to both to 1965. The New York Public Library has the indexes to the present, but it does not search them in response to mail or telephone inquiries. Birth records to 1909 and death records to 1948 for the five boroughs of New York City are at the New York City Municipal Archives. Microfilms at the Family History Library include:

Birth Records
All Boroughs (All of New York City)
Birth index books 1881–1965
FHL films 1322457–86 (only for Manhattan and Brooklyn from
 1881–1897)

Bronx (Bronx County)[edit | edit source]

Birth records 1898–1909 30 FHL films beginning with film 2022836
Wakefield births 1890–1895 FHL film 1398783
Westchester births
 1881–1895
FHL film 1398783

Brooklyn (Kings County)[edit | edit source]

Birth card index 1866–1897 34 FHL films beginning with film 1324701
Birth returns 1866–1868,
 1870–1906
104 FHL films beginning with film 1380499
Birth register 1869 FHL film 1315322 item 2


Births 1847–1851, 1880–1895 (years vary) for the towns of Flatbush, Flatlands, Gravesend, New Lots, and New Utrecht are found in the Family History Library Catalog Locality Search under NEW YORK, KINGS, [TOWN] - VITAL RECORDS.

Manhattan (New York County)[edit | edit source]

Birth records card index
 1830–1865
19 FHL films beginning with film 1378956
Birth returns card index
 1866–1897
153 FHL films beginning with 1323501
Birth registers 1846–1848,
 1851–1873
(missing Liber 3, 1854–1856, E–Z,
 and Liber 4, 1856–1857 A–J)
Birth returns 1866–1897 393 FHL films beginning with film 1322001
Birth records 1898–1909 8 FHL films beginning with film 1953076

Queens (Queens County)[edit | edit source]

Birth records 1898–1909
21 FHL films beginning with film 1992977


Births 1847–1898 (years vary) for the towns of College Point, Far Rockaway, Flushing, Jamaica, Long Island City, Newtown, Richmond Hill, Rockaway, and Whitestone are listed in the Family History Library Catalog Place Search under NEW YORK, QUEENS, [TOWN] - VITAL RECORDS

Staten Island (Richmond County)[edit | edit source]

Birth index 1600–1900s
FHL films 539053–71
Birth index 1847–1897 FHL films 1324935–37
Birth records 1898–1909 10 FHL films beginning with film 1984042


Births 1847–1853, 1881–1897 (years vary) for the towns of Castleton, Edgewater, Middletown, Northfield, Port Richmond, Southfield, Tottenville, and Westfield are listed in the Family History Library Catalog Place Search under NEW YORK, RICHMOND, [TOWN] - VITAL RECORDS

Death Records[edit | edit source]

All Boroughs
(All of New York City)
Death index books 1888–1965 FHL films 1324914–31 (only for Manhattan and Brooklyn from 1888–1897)

Bronx (Bronx County)[edit | edit source]

Death records 1898–1919
91 FHL films beginning with film
 1322702
Wakefield deaths 1878–1881,
 1890–1895
FHL film 1398783
Westchester births 1887–1895 FHL film 1398783

Brooklyn (Kings County)[edit | edit source]

Death ledger card index 1848–1866
FHL films 1378813–19
Death certificate index 1862–1898 78 FHL films beginning with film
 1378830
Death records 1847–1853,
 1857–1861
FHL films 1315321–22
Death register 1847–1853,
 1857–1858
FHL films 447542
Death certificates 1862–1897 339 FHL films beginning with film
 1323651
Coroner's reports 1897–1914 16 FHL films beginning with film
 1435709
Death certificates 1898–1920 FHL films 1324001–342
Coroner's reports, death records
 1898–1916
FHL films 1435
  • Deaths 1847–1851, 1880–1895 (years vary) for the towns of Flatbush, Flatlands, Gravesend, New Lots, and New Utrecht are found in the Family History Library Catalog Place Search under NEW YORK, KINGS, [TOWN] - VITAL RECORDS

Manhattan (New York County)[edit | edit source]

Death certificates card
 index 1868–1890
4 FHL films beginning with film 1324809
Death registers 1795, 
 1801–1804,  1808,
 1811–1865
FHL films 447544–68 (by first letter of
 surname)
Death certificates
 1866–1919
1,069 FHL films beginning with film 1323352
Cholera cases 1866 FHL films 1324501–502
Coroner inquests
 1797–1820, 1862–1864,
 1868–1918
9 FHL films beginning with film 514332
Coroner inquests
 1823–1898
101 FHL films beginning with film 1318155
Coroner reports 1839 FHL film 1255743
Bodies-in-transit
 1859–1894
3 FHL films beginning with film 1671686

Queens (Queens County)[edit | edit source]

Death certificates 1898–1919
FHL films 1323384–472


Deaths 1847–1898 (years vary) for the towns of College Point, Far Rockaway, Flushing, Jamaica, Long Island City, Newtown, Richmond Hill, Rockaway, and Whitestone are listed in the Family History Library Catalog Place Search under NEW YORK, QUEENS, [TOWN] - VITAL RECORDS

Staten Island (Richmond County)[edit | edit source]

Death index 1600–1900s FHL films 539053–71
Death register card index 1847–1897 FHL films 1324932–34
Death certificates 1898–1920 FHL films 1322793–81

Deaths 1847–1853, 1881–1897 (years vary) for the towns of Castleton, Edgewater, Middletown, Northfield, Port Richmond, Southfield, Tottenville, and Westfield are listed in the Family History Library Catalog Place Search under NEW YORK, RICHMOND, [TOWN] - VITAL RECORDS.

You can obtain New York City birth (1910 to the present) and death (1949
to the present) certificates for a fee from:

New York City Department of Health
Bureau of Vital Records
125 Worth Street, Room 133
New York, NY 10013-0046
Telephone: 212-788-4500
Internet: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/vr/vr.shtml

Mailing Address:
Division of Vital Records
City of New York, Department of Health
P.O. Box 3776
Church Street Station
New York, NY 10007

For birth records through 1909 and death records through 1948, write to:

New York City Department of Records
and Information Services

Municipal Archives
31 Chambers Street, Room 103
New York, NY 10007
Telephone: 212-788-8580 or 212-566-5292
Fax: 212-385-4253
Internet: http://www.nyc.gov/html/records/html/about/archives.shtml

New York City Birth and Death Records are available using a credit card. Write to the New York City Department of Health, 125 Worth Street, New York, NY 10013. A "Hotline" telephone number, 212-788-4505, is available for information and for ordering birth and death certificates using a credit card. You can order birth records from 1910 to the present or death records from 1949 to the present. Using a credit card the cost is $15.00. Five to seven business days are required for delivery. You can also order by sending a fax of the application to 212-962-6105. They can fax a copy of the application to your fax machine. The fee is also $15.00. Five to seven business days are required for delivery.

The records are not available for genealogical purposes and are subject to certain other restrictions.

All other local registrars sent copies of their records to the State Department of Health. Most New York deaths after 1962 are in the Social Security Death Index, a FamilySearch™ computer file.

Kronman, Barbara. The Guide to New York City Public Records, Fourth Edition. New York, New York: Public Interest Clearinghouse, 1992. (FHL book 974.71 A3k.) Includes chapters on city government, courts, libraries, and personal information. Shows how to obtain vital records, name change records, and naturalizations.

Provincial Marriage Licenses[edit | edit source]

Marriages in colonial times were initiated either by publishing the banns in church on three successive Sundays or by obtaining a civil marriage bond and license. The Prerogative Court granted marriage licenses between 1753 and 1783. Most people published the banns since buying a license could cost a month's wages.

Marriage bonds, 1753–1783, that were recorded at the Secretary of State's Office in Albany appear in New York Marriages Previous to 1784 (1860; reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1984; FHL book 974.7 V28n 1968; film 514675 has the 1860 edition). The book lists names of brides and grooms, date of the bond (not the marriage), bond volume, and page numbers. Many marriage bonds were destroyed in a fire in 1911. Those that survived are at the state archives. The full data from these remaining bonds is transcribed in Kenneth Scott's New York Marriage Bonds, 1753–1783 (New York, New York: St. Nicholas Society of the City of New York, 1972; not at FHL).

About 152,000 individuals are indexed in Marriage Index: Selected Areas of New York, 1639–1916 ([Novato, California]: Brøderbund Software, 1996; FHL compact disc number 9 part 401 [does not circulate to Family History Centers]). These marriages were originally indexed by Knshp publishers. The index is especially good for the years prior to 1810 and in the Hudson and Mohawk valleys from 1810–1899.

County Marriage Records[edit | edit source]

New York is one of the few states that does not have county marriage records dating back to the time when each county was formed. From 1908–1935, county clerks kept copies of marriages filed with the town clerks and also sent copies to Albany. Some counties, though, recorded marriages only to 1916 or 1926. The Family History Library has county marriage records on microfilm for all upstate counties except Albany, Dutchess, and Erie.

Town and State Marriage Records[edit | edit source]

Town and city clerks generally began registering marriages in 1881. Copies are sent to the state capital in Albany. Between 1847 and about 1850, before the state began registering vital statistics, some marriages were recorded by justices of the peace, and some were recorded by school districts. Some justice of the peace registers have been published in the periodicals Tree Talks and The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.

If you know where a marriage took place, you can write to the town, village, or city clerk to request a copy of the certificate or record. A microfiche index to marriages, 1881–1943, is available for public use at the New York State Archives. This index does not include New York City. The archives will search and abstract the index for a fee. If you do not know the exact place of marriage and are willing to wait six or seven months for a reply, you can get marriage records (including those from Albany, Buffalo, and Yonkers, 1908 to the present) for a fee by writing to the State Department of Health.

There is a 75-year restriction on marriage information needed for genealogical purposes. The state fees and restrictions apply when obtaining records from the village, town, and city clerks. For more information, go to http://www.health.state.ny.us/vital_records/genealogy.htm

For marriage records for Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Richmond through 1937, write:

New York City Department of Records
and Information Services

Municipal Archives
31 Chambers Street, Room 103
New York, NY 10007
Telephone: 212-788-8580 or 212-566-5292
Fax: 212-385-4253
Internet: http://www.nyc.gov/html/records/html/about/archives.shtml

Pre-1938 New York City marriages, some as early as 1830, are found at the Municipal Archives. The Family History Library has microfilmed marriages of:

All Boroughs All of New York City
Groom marriage index books 1888–1937 (to Health
 Department  marriages but
 not City Clerk marriages)
12 FHL films beginning with film 1543903 (only for Manhattan from 1888–1893,
and only for Manhattan and Brooklyn from 1894–1897)

Bronx (Bronx County)[edit | edit source]

Bride marriage indexes 1898–1937 4 FHL films beginning with film 
 1983782
Health Dept. Groom index 1898–1937 FHL film 1976292–93
Health Dept. marriage certificates
 1897–1938
FHL film 1939720


[edit | edit source]

Brooklyn (Kings County)[edit | edit source]

Health Dept. marriage certificates
 1866–1937
203 FHL films beginning  with  film 1543711
Manhattan
New York County
Marriage register 1823–1853
 (Mariners' Church)
FHL film 017785 item 5
Mayor's marriage records and index
1830–1854
FHL film 017776
Marriage register and index
 1829–1887
FHL films 1671673–85
Health Dept. marriage records and  indexes 1866–1937 1447 FHL films beginning with
 film 1522995
Marriage indexes 1898–1937 4 FHL films beginning with film
 1983782


[edit | edit source]

Queens (Queens County)[edit | edit source]

Health Dept. groom index 1881–1937, bride index 1905–1937, marriage certificates 1898–1937
56 FHL films beginning with film 1908328
Marriages 1847–1897 (years vary) for the towns of Far Rockaway, Flushing, Jamaica, and Newtown Listed in the Family History Library Catalog Locality Search under NEW YORK, QUEENS, [TOWN] - VITAL RECORDS

Staten Island (Richmond County)[edit | edit source]

Marriage index and records
 1600s–1900s
FHL films 539053–71
Marriages after 1937 In the borough offices of the city clerk


The Family History Library has not filmed the city marriages of Albany, Buffalo, or Yonkers. Albany city marriages 1848 and 1870–1917 and county marriages 1908–1936 are available at:

Albany County Hall of Records
250 South Pearl Street
Albany, NY 12202
Telephone: 518-447-4500
Internet: http://www.albanycounty.com/achor/

Albany city marriages, 1920 to the present, are also available at the Albany City Clerk's office (24 Eagle Street, Albany, NY 12207; Telephone: 518-434-5081). You can get Buffalo marriages 1837–1935 by writing to the Erie County Clerk's offices. Buffalo marriages 1935 to the present and Yonkers marriages 1900 to the present can be obtained from the respective city registrars of vital statistics.

Published Newspaper Notices of Marriages and Deaths[edit | edit source]

For New York City's five boroughs and some other counties, many newspaper notices of births, marriages, and deaths have been published. See the "Newspapers" section of this outline for a partial list. In the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog, these notices are listed under:

NEW YORK, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - NEWSPAPERS

NEW YORK, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - OBITUARIES

Check also under the state and county levels.

You will also find that many church marriage records have been published or have been microfilmed for the five boroughs. You can look for these in the Family History Library Catalog Place Search under:

NEW YORK, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - CHURCH RECORDS

An example is:

Fisher, William Scott, compiler. New York City Methodist Marriages, 1785–1893. Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1994. (FHL book 974.71 K2fn vols. 1–2.) This contains a groom index and a bride index, each of which has about 41,000 names.

Divorce Records[edit | edit source]

Before 1787, divorce was practically nonexistent in New York. Some petitions for divorce were made to the governor or legislature, but only a few were granted. Records of divorces granted by acts of the legislature consist both of the legislative act and petitions that were sent to the legislature. Acts of divorce are indexed in the index mentioned under the "Law and Legislation" section of this outline.

From 1787–1847, divorces were recorded in chancery court records. Chancery court divorces are at the state archives or for the New York City area at:

New York County Clerk's Office
Division of Old Records
31 Chambers Street
7th floor
New York, NY 10007
Telephone: 212-788-8580 or 212-566-5292
Fax: 212-385-4253
Internet: http://www.newyorkfamilyhistory.org/modules.php?name=sections&op=viewarticle&artid=61

Since 1846, the supreme court has recorded divorce proceedings. Many people before 1966 found it easier to obtain a divorce out of state. Access to supreme court divorce records less than 100 years old is prohibited without judicial permission. You must obtain a court order to see a file. The actual trial records are sealed.

The Family History Library has microfilmed very few divorce judgments. For New York County, only the index to divorce records has been microfilmed:

New York County (New York). County Clerk. Index to Matrimonial Actions, 1784–1910. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1977. (FHL films 1017465–67.)

Web Sites[edit | edit source]

http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/genealogy/vitrec.htm

http://www.easthanovertownship.com/Registrar.htm

http://www.rootsweb.com/~nysuffol/vroi.html