Genealogy Records & Resources

Overview

Vital records registration started in New York State outside of New York City in 1881. Generally, the New York State Department of Health provides uncertified copies of the following types of records for genealogy research purposes:

  • Birth certificates - if on file for at least 75 years and the person whose name is on the birth certificate is known to be deceased.
  • Death certificates - if on file for at least 50 years.
  • Marriage certificates - if on file for at least 50 years and both spouses are known to be deceased.

Are the time periods ever waived?

The time periods are waived for direct-line descendants. A direct line descendant is a person in the direct line of descent, i.e., the child, grandchild, great grandchild of the person whose record is requested. The direct-line descendant applicant must provide the following:

  • Proof of their relationship to the person whose record they are requesting.
  • Proof of the death of the person whose birth certificate they are requesting.
  • Proof of the death of both spouses whose marriage certificate they are requesting.

Are there exceptions to the types of records generally available from the New York State Department of Health?

There are three (3) exceptions.

  1. The New York State Department of Health does not file records of births and deaths that occurred in New York City and marriage licenses that were obtained in New York City. To obtain information about genealogy services available for New York City records, please visit the New York City Municipal Archives web page.
  2. The New York State Department of Health does not file records of birth, death and marriage from the Cities of Albany, Buffalo and Yonkers prior to January 1, 1914. To obtain records from these municipalities contact the Local Registrar for birth and death record requests or the City Clerk for marriage record requests. The addresses follow:
    For birth and death record requests submit request to the Local Registrar of the appropriate city:
    Local Registrar
    City of Albany
    Room 254M
    City Hall
    Albany, NY 12207
    Local Registrar
    City of Buffalo
    Room 1308
    65 Niagara Square
    Buffalo, NY 14202
    Local Registrar
    City of Yonkers
    Room 107
    City Hall
    Yonkers, NY 10701
    For marriage record requests submit request to the City Clerk of the appropriate city:
    City Clerk
    City of Albany
    Room 202
    City Hall
    Albany, NY 12207
    City Clerk
    City of Buffalo
    Room 1308
    65 Niagara Square
    Buffalo, NY 14202
    City Clerk
    City of Yonkers
    Room 107
    City Hall
    Yonkers, NY 10701
  3. For the period 1881 through 1897 the New York State Department of Health does have records of birth for the City of New York boroughs of Queens and Richmond.

Required Fees

The standard fee for a genealogy copy is $22.00 - 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.

Period Searched Fee
1 to 3 years $22.00
4 to 10 years $42.00
11 to 20 years $62.00
21 to 30 years $82.00
31 to 40 years $102.00
41 to 50 years $122.00
51 to 60 years $142.00
61 to 70 years $162.00
71 to 80 years $182.00
81 to 90 years $202.00

The fee applies separately to each record requested. For example, the fee for a request consisting of one birth record (1-year search for $22.00), plus one death record (24-year search for $82.00), plus one marriage record (11-year search for $62.00) is a total of $166.00

Genealogists using the Vital Records indexes at the New York State Archives located on the 11th floor of the Cultural Education Center (Museum Building) may submit completed applications with required check or money order (no cash) at the designated drop-off point on the 11th floor. Applications will be delivered by interagency mail to the Vital Records processing center at 800 North Pearl Street. Alternatively, genealogists may hand-deliver applications to 800 North Pearl Street.

Duration & Processing:

Processing a genealogy request may take eight (8) months or longer. If the municipality where the event took place is known, submitting your request directly to the local registrar or municipal clerk may save considerable time.