Vital Records

New York State Vital Records (except New York City)

The New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Records provides birth and marriage records from 1881, death records from 1880 and divorce records from 1963. Divorce records are maintained for the entire state, including the five boroughs of New York City. New York State Vital Records does not maintain records filed in Albany, Buffalo or Yonkers prior to 1914. New York State does file birth records for Queens and Richmond counties for the years 1881 through 1897. Anyone may obtain records of births that occurred at least 75 years ago and records of marriages and deaths that occurred at least 50 years ago. Access to more recent records is restricted to immediate family members with proof of identity. The Department of Health adds index information only once a year.

Genealogical Records

The Bureau of Vital Records requires that requests for genealogical records--records for family history purposes, not needing certification for legal purposes--be submitted by mail, or you may obtain forms and submit genealogical requests at the Department of Health's Satellite Office in Menands (800 North Pearl Street, 2nd Floor). Submitting requests at the Satellite Office saves time. You cannot save time by mailing genealogical requests by faster than ordinary mail.  Applications may also be dropped off in the New York State Archives reading room reception area on the 11th floor of the Cultural Education Center.  Mail genealogical record requests with a check or money order made out to NYS Dept. of Health to:

New York State Department of Health
Vital Records Section, Genealogy Unit
P.O. Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602
Telephone: (518) 474-3055
http://www.health.ny.gov/vital_records/
Genealogical copy fee: $22

Certified Vital Records for Legal Purposes (excluding genealogy, DAR, SAR)

Regular handling takes 8-10 weeks. The certified copy fee is $30 for a birth, death, divorce or marriage record. You may speed up requests for certified copies of genealogical records for legal purposes by sending the request, with your check or money order (made out to NYS Dept. of Health), to the address below via an overnight delivery service and including a prepaid overnight express return envelope. Priority handling takes up to two weeks and there is an extra $15 fee per certificate. Proper documentation and proper identification is required.

For priority handling (up to 2 weeks), send overnight to:

New York State Department of Health
Vital Records Section/2nd Floor
800 North Pearl Street
Menands, NY 12204

For regular handling (8-10 weeks), send to:

New York State Department of Health
Vital Records Section, Certification Unit
P.O. Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602

If you require rush service for a certificate for legal purposes (excluding genealogy), your order should be submitted via Internet (http://www.vitalchek.com), by phone (1-877-854-4481) or by fax (1-877-854-4607). A major credit card is required. Current processing fee is $69.95 for express service (5 business days) or $56.95 for regular mail delivery (10 business days).

Many city, town or village registrars/clerks can offer more expeditious service.

Indexes to the Vital Records of New York State (except New York City)

Copies of the microfiche index to vital records certificates held by the NYS Department of Health are located at the following locations:

  1. New York State Archives, Cultural Education Center, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12230. Telephone 518-474-8955; email archref@nysed.gov; website http://www.nysa.nysed.gov/. Available Monday through Friday 9:00-4:30 and Saturday 9:30-4:30 except State holidays. No appointment is needed to use the indexes. Researchers must produce identification, sign a registration form, and comply with the rules of the research room. Several microfiche readers are available for use, though researchers will be limited to one hour's use if other persons are waiting.
  2. National Archives at New York City (Northeast Region), 201 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014. Telephone 212-401-1620; email newyork.archives@nara.gov; website http://www.archives.gov/northeast/nyc.
  3. Rochester Public Library, 115 South Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604. Telephone 585-428-8440, website http://www3.libraryweb.org.
  4. Onondaga County Public Library, 447 South Salina Street, Syracuse, NY 13202. Telephone 315-435-1900; website http://www.onlib.org.
  5. Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Grosvenor Room, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, NY 14203. Telephone 716-858-8900; website http://www.buffalolib.org.
  6. Steele Memorial Library, 101 East Church Street, Elmira, NY 14901. Telephone 607-733-8603; website http://www.steele.lib.ny.us.
  7. Crandall Public Library, 251 Glen Street, Glens Falls, NY 12801. Telephone 518-792-6508; website http://www.crandalllibrary.org.
  8. Patchogue-Medford Library, 54 East Main Street, Patchogue, NY 11772. Telephone 631-654-4700; website http://www.pmlib.org.
  9. Flower Memorial Library, 229 Washington Street, Watertown, NY 13601. Telephone 315-785-7705; website http://www.flowermemoriallibrary.org.
  10. Broome County Public Library, 185 Court Street, Binghamton, NY 13901. Telephone 607-778-6400; website http://www.bclibrary.info/index.html.

New York City Vital Records

The State Library has bound volumes of indexes to records for births, deaths and marriages in all five boroughs of New York City for the years 1907-1918 only. (Call number R,974.71,N532,87-1534) For other information contact the appropriate place:

Order forms are available from:

New York City Department of Health
Office of Vital Records
125 Worth Street
New York, NY 10013

For a telephone message with ordering options for genealogical or certified vital records call:

(212) 788-4520
http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/vr/vr.shtml

For records for births through 1909, deaths up to and including 1948, and marriages up to and including 1930 contact:

Municipal Archives and Records Center
31 Chambers Street, Room 103
New York, NY 10007
(212) 639-9675

These are the years for which you may obtain records for genealogical purposes. The phone message gives options.

http://www.nyc.gov/html/records/html/vitalrecords/home.shtml

For records for births 1910 to present, deaths 1949 to present, and marriages 1931 to present contact a place below:

New York City Department of Health
125 Worth Street, CN 4, Room 133
New York, NY 10013 (for births and deaths) or

City Clerk
1 Center Street, Municipal Building
New York, NY 10007 (for marriages)

These are the years for which you may obtain records for legal purposes (certified copies) if you are properly qualified. The phone message gives options.

Selected Additional Sources of Information

Pre-1881 vital records. Some information may be found in local government records offices and in church or cemetery records. The Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in New York State, including New York City (R,016.312,H673) provides locations of early records. For locations of vital statistics in the United States and other countries consult The Source, a Guidebook of American Genealogy (R,929.1072073,qS724,84-35448).

Marriage bonds. Information on early marriage records may be found in New York Marriage Bonds, 1753-1783 (R,974.7,S427n) and New York Marriages Previous to 1784 (R,974.7,N548,1968). The marriage bonds which were salvaged from the remains of a 1911 fire are housed in the New York State Archives (518) 474-8955.

Other records. Vital records for the period before 1881 may be obtained from the New York State Library's extensive collection of New York State church (Protestant denominations only) and cemetery records. Access to these records is through the Library's Vital Records Card Index (available onsite only) or its online catalog (available at http://nysl.nysed.gov).

Out-of-State records. The State Library's collection contains published records of many churches and cemeteries in other states of the Northeast. Most public vital records for Rhode Island and Massachusetts prior to 1850 have been published: Vital Records of Rhode Island (R,974.5,qA75) and Vital Records of the Towns of Massachusetts (R,16.9744,qM4,80-32824).

Last Updated: October 28, 2014