Perhaps the state felt incorrectly that because actual marriage certificates are restricted from the public for a rolling fifty-year period that the basic index to the marriages must also be restricted for fifty years. However, this is incorrect based on the plain reading of the Gannett case referenced above, and as evidenced by numerous Advisory Opinions issued by COOG in the years since then, not to mention our own success in winning the NYC marriage index records all the way up through Therefore, this FOIL request includes all years of the state marriage index up through , and does not end merely when the publicly available microfiche production ended.
Clearly at some point there was an original state database that was printed out to create the pre paper copies, which were then photographed and turned into the microfiche. However, if that database is no longer available — and if not, why not? For more recent years post or so , I presume some sort of compiled or transcribed database does still exist, as those years were never turned into microfiche; for those recent years, I would like to receive the files in their raw database format.
I am willing to pay the costs associated with the records production, along with the costs of the USB hard drive and any insured shipping costs to California, if needed. Please inform me of any potential charges in advance of fulfilling my request. This request is not being made for commercial purposes.
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The requested records will be scanned and uploaded to the Internet, and will be made freely available to the general public. It is anticipated that some non-profit genealogical groups may choose to transcribe the information in the marriage index, to turn it into a new text-searchable database.
We would be happy to share any such database with the Department of Health. Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires. As you can see, we had asked the NYS DOH for copies of the New York State marriage index for basically every year that exists, which at the time of our request was , since none of it had ever been online before anywhere. So then we had to scramble to get someone from NYS DOH on the phone to explain where the heck the missing records were.
Are you kidding us?! We even cited the original Gannett Newspapers case that originally opened up the marriage license index in the state. Whomp whomp. We tried again. This time we had a different member of our Board of Directors make an almost identical Freedom of Information request for the marriage index, but submitted under her own name and e-mail address and asking for slightly different years: So as soon as we could, our attorney filed a new appeal for this second request.
Well, uh, funny story: they did have to listen to it. Because our attorney successfully combined the two requests, the original one for and the revised one for , into one mega-lawsuit which we filed in the Supreme Court of New York, Albany on August 24, Yeah, we did this Article 78 petition Voltron-style. To find a death certificate, researchers should begin by searching New York State's index to all deaths beginning in Death indexes are made available after 50 years.
The images in these collections are not searchable, but they are easy to browse by year, though the image quality of some years makes it difficult to read certain images. New York City death records have always been kept completely separate from vital records of other locations in New York State. Once you have found the death certificate number, you're ready to request a copy.
Once you have retrieved information about the record you are seeking, you can obtain a copy of the vital record certificate by contacting either:. Birth certificates can be requested after 75 years if the person whose name is on the birth certificate is known to be deceased. If you are a direct-line descendent child, grandchild, great-grandchild, etc , then these time periods are waived, but all researchers will need to provide:.
Additional fees apply to search more years of the index - see the Department of Health's website for the full list of prices. Box Albany, NY Exact instructions will vary, but getting in touch with the local office is the best first step.
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Contact information is also included. However, some of New York States most significant cities maintained their own collections of vital records before Birth and death records before January 1, for Albany can be obtained by contacting the Local Registrar:. Our print Albany County Guide for Genealogists contains more detailed information on these records and all other records found at the local and count level for Albany.
Marriage records before January 1, for Buffalo can be obtained by contacting the City Clerk:. Our print Erie County Guide for Genealogists contains additional information on these records and all other Buffalo records located in Erie county.
How to Find New York Marriage Records
The New York State Department of Health does not hold records for births, marriages, and deaths before January 1, Birth and death records before January 1, for Yonkers can be obtained by contacting the Local Registrar:. Our print Westchester County Guide for Genealogists contains more detailed information on these records and all other Yonkers records located in Westchester.
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Due to privacy restrictions, inquiries may need to be accompanied by identification and proof of relationship to the individual s in question. However, the following information is provided to assist you in obtaining these records:.
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In Westchester County, these records can be obtained from the local clerk in the village, town or city in which the event being documented, birth or death, took place. In Westchester County, marriage records for marriages which took place between and can be obtained from the Westchester County Archives. Other marriage records must be obtained from the local clerk in the village, town or city where the marriage license was obtained. Also on file are divorce records for all of New York State since