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Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Public Records

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Are New York Vital Records Open to the Public?

Most New York vital records are open to the public if the subject of the record is deceased. In addition, the New York Department of Health (DOH) allows the dissemination of informational copies of these records where they are used for genealogical functions. However, New York state public record laws restrict certified documents and data/records on living persons. Agencies may waive these exemptions if the requestor is legally authorized to access the document of interest.

 

What Information Do I Need to Search for New York Vital Records Online?

Public New York vital records can be obtained online using state-operated electronic access portals or local online repositories. However, vital records of living subjects or records deemed confidential or closed by court order may not be accessed using these online options. To search for public vital records online, the requesting party will be required to furnish the available search tools with record-related information. This includes:

  • The personal information of the record subject(s)
  • The full name of the subjects parents/legal guardian
  • The judicial district in which the event occurred
  • The approximate date of the vital event
  • The case file number or license number of the record (for divorce and marriage records)

How Do I Obtain New York Vital Records?

Vital records that are open to the public usually require no additional documentation to access. This is also the case for obtaining uncertified copies to be used for research and informational functions. However, persons seeking access to certified or restricted records are often required to provide additional paperwork before processing their request.

The required documents include a government-issued photo ID (or other acceptable forms of ID), as well as a court-issued subpoena proving their eligibility to access uncertified records and proof of relationship documents (where applicable). In addition, requestors may be required to cover copy or certification costs.

Publicly available vital records are also managed and disseminated by some third-party aggregate sites. These sites are generally not limited by geographical record availability and may serve as a reliable jump-off point when researching specific or multiple records. However, third-party sites are not government-sponsored. As such, record availability may differ from official channels.

To find a record using the search engines on third party sites, the requesting party will be required to provide:

  • The location of the record in question, including the city, county, or state where the case was filed.
  • The name of someone involved providing it is not a juvenile.

 

What's The Difference Between A Certified Record And An Informational Copy?

Certified records and informational copies are primarily distinguished by function. While informational copies are non-legal documents that serve as a reference for research/genealogical purposes, certified records have the legal authority to establish identity.

Usually, informational copies are issued to the members of the general public and are watermarked with a 'not for official use' disclaimer. On the other hand, certified records are notarized and typically feature a raised seal, indicating their suitability for official functions.

Are New York Marriage Records Public Information?

Certified New York marriage records are not public information. However, members of the public may access informational copies for genealogical or research purposes. To be eligible to access a New York certified marriage record, the requesting party must be named on the document or be legally authorized to obtain it.

How Do I Obtain Marriage Records in New York?

New York marriage records are typically managed in the judicial district where the marriage license was issued. The state DOH also maintains a central repository of statewide public marriage records. However, the repository does not house records of marriages licensed in New York City, including Staten Island, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. Eligible individuals can obtain records from these districts by querying the marriage license-issuing office.

To order certified marriage records from the DOH, interested and eligible persons must download and complete the DOH marriage record application. The requestor is neither a spouse nor a legal representative of either party. This application must come with a court order or an official letter confirming that the requested record is required to claim a benefit. Applicants must also submit all requests along with the indicated fees and ID via mail or in-person to:

New York State Department of Health
Vital Records Certification Unit
PO Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602

Are New York Divorce Records Public Information?

It depends. New York divorce records are generally restricted from the public but are available to the registrants named on the record and people authorized by a New York State Court Order. Persons permitted by eligible persons can make third-party pickups. However, the third party must bear a signed and notarized letter authorizing the pickup and proof of identity, a government-issued ID, or a related document.

How Do I Obtain Divorce Records in New York?

There are two types of divorce records managed and issued in New York: divorce decrees and divorce certificates. While divorce decrees are generated and maintained by the court where the parties attended the divorce hearing, divorce certificates are filed locally and with the New York DOH.

Eligible persons can obtain divorce decrees by querying the office of the County Clerk in the judicial district where the divorce occurred. However, applicants can request copies of divorce certificates from the state DOH. Interested and eligible persons must download and complete the DOH divorce record request form to request a divorce record. In addition, applicants must submit the completed application along with the indicated fees and ID requirements to:

New York State Department of Health
Vital Records Certification Unit
PO Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602

Are New York Birth Records Public Information?

Certified birth records in New York are restricted from public perusal until 75 years elapse after the birth. Until then, the only persons eligible to order a birth certificate include:

  • The registrant
  • Their parents or legal guardian (who is named on the record)
  • The registrant's spouse, descendant, and other persons (provided they are authorized by a New York Court order) 

How Do I Obtain New York Birth Records?

New York birth records are primarily managed by the local Registrar of Vital Statistics in the county where the event occurred. However, the state DOH also maintains a central repository of statewide birth information (excluding records of persons in New York City). Eligible persons can order birth certificate replacements by downloading and completing the DOH birth record application. Along with the form, the requesting party must enclose a government-issued photo ID, utility bill, telephone bill, or letter issued by a government agency that names the requestor. The documents must also be accompanied by money order or check payment of $30 (per record requested). All these may be submitted in person or via mail to:

New York State Department of Health
Bureau of Vital Records Certification Unit
PO Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602

Are New York Death Records Open to the Public?

Certified New York death records are generally restricted to the deceased immediate family members. Public death records are created when fifty years have elapsed since the death. Until then, only the following persons may perform a New York death certificate search:

  • The parents/legal guardian(s) of the deceased
  • The descendants of the registrant
  • Persons who can prove a tangible interest in the record - i.e., have a documented claim, right, or medical need.
  • Persons who a New York State Court Order authorizes. 

How Do I Obtain Death Records in New York?

Requesters that wish to perform a death certificate search in New York may query the office of the Registrar of Vital Statistics where the event occurred or request the record from the state DOH. In addition, interested and eligible persons may download and complete the DOH death record request form to request the document. The completed application must be accompanied by the documents and fees stated in the form and submitted in person or via mail to:

New York State Department of Health
Bureau of Vital Records Certification Unit
PO Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602

How Do I Obtain Sealed Vital Records in New York?

Persons with legal authorization can access records sealed by New York state statute or court order. Interested requestors may petition a New York licensed judge to obtain a court order or subpoena to over-turn or waive the records restriction. After receiving the order, the requesting party may query the appropriate record custodian for the record of interest. Usually, requests for sealed records require that the requestor present a government-issued ID along with the court order authorizing their access to said record.

New York State Archives

State Archives

Search Includes

  • Arrests & Warrants
  • Criminal Records
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies & Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Marriages & Divorces
  • Death Records
  • Birth Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • Unclaimed State Funds
  • Relatives & Associates
  • Address Registrations
  • Affiliated Phone Numbers
  • Affiliated Email Addresses

Results are based upon available information from state, county and municipal databases, and may not include some or all of the above details.

New York

Since 1927, the New York County Courthouse has been the state’s judicial seat. Today, the building houses the New York Supreme Court.

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