Death certificates in new york state

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Vital Records

Third Party Pick Up We discourage third party pickups. If you must have your record picked up by a third party, please follow these steps carefully: Provide the third party with a signed, dated and notarized letter stating who will be picking up your record, which record they will be picking up, and that you grant them permission to get the record for you. Send a completed and signed application form with the third party. You may download the appropriate form from the mail order page.

Complete, print and sign the application form.

Person Died Outside of New York City

Today, the original certificate is forwarded to the Department of Health, with the local registrar keeping a duplicate copy. Each index entry lists the name, date of event, place, and certificate number; no maiden names or marital status are shown for deaths, and ages at death are given only from Since compliance with the law was slow, many events were not recorded. This applies only to births recorded at least seventy-five years ago and to marriages and deaths recorded fifty years ago and earlier.

Copies can also be obtained from the New York Department of Health, Vital Records Section, Genealogy Unit , but a long delay for a response is likely because of the large backlog of requests. Some cities kept vital records earlier than those sent to Albany under the law.


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For the period through about , marriages were also recorded with the county clerk, although some counties do not have these records for all of this time period. Births through , marriages through , and deaths through can be obtained by mail, or one may visit the archives and search indexes and microfilms of the records for a daily search fee. Indexes to New York City marriage licenses —51 , arranged by borough, are available at the Municipal Archives. Printed New York City vital records indexes from for Manhattan and from for the other boroughs are available at the New York Public Library for births and deaths through and for marriages through Since 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 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 to How to Order. Do not send cash. Historical Background.

Birth, Death, Marriage & Divorce Records

Online Databases. Forgot Password. The data is updated quarterly for the more recent years with a fifty year lag; e. This request is not being made for commercial purposes. The requested documents 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 death index, to turn it into a new text-searchable database.

We would be happy to share any such database with the Department of Health. If possible, I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or via other media. Please be advised that if any microfiche or microfilm copies need to be made, these will also require shipping fees to California.

Please inform me of any potential charges in advance of fulfilling my request. 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. Finally, on March 29, , they gave us a response to our request.

And what they had to say was shocking. Yes, the Department of Health conceded that we had the legal right to a copy of the statewide death index under the New York Freedom of Information Law. They could find no reason to legally deny our request. So instead, they tried another way to dissuade us, by refusing to take the subsequent step in the state law, which was for the agency to estimate the actual costs of making those copies.

Otherwise, they said that they would close and cancel this FOIL request entirely.

You can probably imagine what went through our head when we read their letter with these demands. Here, New York was claiming that there was an unknown number of microfiche sheets per year but that the number was somehow exactly the same for each of the seventy-six years. This was absurd, as of course the number of deaths in the state varied from year to year, and grew over time as the population increased, and sometimes had unusual spikes in the death rate as happened in the influenza pandemic. For the state to simply make a flat fee for each of the seventy-six years in question, even if that fee had been reasonable, was breaking the law all on its own.

They did not provide any copies of estimates from vendors, nor the names of vendors, nor published price lists, nor did they ever provide some after we pressed them for details. Thanks to a genealogist friend who happened to be in Albany and who took it upon herself to count up all the microfiche sheets of the death index at the library, we knew there were 1, microfiche sheets in total in the state death index, give or take the few sheets that had gone astray over the years.

And they never apologized for it, even after they dropped that part of the demand when our attorney called them out on their behavior. For reasons that defy explanation, when we filed a formal appeal of this FOIL request with the Department of Health on June 3, , the person to whom we appealed, who also worked for the Department, proceeded to deny our appeal.

Vital Records | Monroe County, NY

At that point, we had a choice to make. We could take the next step and take the case to trial, suing the state of New York. We would probably win, but it would be expensive, and there was no guarantee that we would win back attorneys fees even if we did win all the records. In New York, the awarding of attorneys fees is left up to the discretion of the judge, and is a separate question from whether the records were wrongly being withheld. But we had another option. In all the months of fighting with the DOH for these records, our point person on the case had been their Records Access Officer, a woman whose name we will omit here but which can be easily determined from reading through our legal paperwork, which are all a matter of public record and all online.

She had been the person behind the lack of transparency on pricing, the ten-day exploding offer, the months of delays, and all of that. And as we were approaching the legal deadline of whether or not to pursue legal action against the state, we heard through the grapevine that this woman was suddenly no longer the Records Access Officer. In any case, she was now gone. This meant that instead of suing the state, we could try a different tactic.

Luckily, this new one was far more pleasant to deal with, and as far as we could see she did not do anything overtly illegal. At this point, it was nearing the end of In an effort to move things along, we asked the new Records Access Officer if we could bring in our own digitization vendor to do the scanning of the microfiche sheets they held, just to make it easier on the state and get these records copied already.