Click on the links below to search free birth, death, marriage, and divorce record databases in New York.
Visit the New York State Dept of Health for information on how to obtain birth and death certificates.
To place an order, write to:
New York State Dept of Health (518) 474-3077
Vital Records Section (518) 474-3038 Information
Empire State Plaza (518) 432-6286 Fax
Albany, NY 12237
Birth records – Since 1881. Genealogy copies are available if the certificate has been on file for at least 75 years and the person whose name is on the certificate is known to be dead.
Death records – Since 1880. Genealogy copies are available if the certificate has been on file for at least 50 years.
Marriage records – Since 1881. Genealogy copies are available if the certificate has been on file for at least 50 years and the bride and groom are both known to be deceased.
For marriage records and licenses issued in the cities of Albany, Buffalo or Yonkers, apply to:
Albany: City Clerk, City Hall, Albany, NY 12207
Buffalo: City Clerk, City Hall, Buffalo, NY 14202
Yonkers: City Clerk, City Hall, Yonkers, NY 10701
Genealogy requests for an uncertified copy of a record are $22.00 and may take from 9 to 10 months to process. This includes a copy of the certificate, a three-year search of the index, the retrieval and re-filing of the microfilm/microfiche and either a copy of the record or a no record report. When more than a three-year search is requested, the fee is higher. The time period listed above is waived if the applicant is a descendant or has been designated to act on behalf of a descendant of the person whose record is being requested.
Write to the New York State Dept of Health for the area outside of the five boroughs of New York City (except for births occurring in Queens and Richmond counties for the years 1881-1897).
For vital records in the five boroughs of NYC contact the New York City Dept of Health.
You may also send your request directly to the local registrar or town clerk of the city, town or village where the birth or death occurred.
An index to genealogy records is available for searching at the State Archives located at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. Contact them for more information about using this index.
New York State Archives
New York Department of Education
Cultural Education Center, Room 11D40
Albany, NY 12230 (518) 474-8955
Divorce Records - Since 1847 divorce actions in New York have been handled in the Supreme court for the county in which the divorce was heard. New York divorce files, however, are sealed for one hundred years. In colonial times, petitions for divorce had to be made to the governor or legislature, and only a few were granted. The court of chancery granted divorces from 1787 to 1847. These older records are in the State Archives.
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