New rules for requesting New York City birth and death certificates

Beginning January 1, 2019, there will be new embargo dates in effect for requesting birth and death certificates from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene located in Manhattan. The embargo dates are 125 years after birth and 75 years after death.

A new rule will also go into effect on January 1, 2019 that expands those who can access a death record to: great-great grandchildren, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, grandnephews, and grandnieces. The existing regulation already permits: the spouse, domestic partner, parent, child, sibling, grandparent or grandchild.

The rule also expands those family members who can access birth records of a deceased individual to: spouses, domestic partners, parents of children over the age of 18, children, siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, grandchildren, great grandchildren, grandnieces, and grandnephews.

This new rule does not effect New York City marriage records because they are under the jurisdiction of the City Clerk’s Office.

To read the notice see:

New index for Seaman’s Fund and Retreat register available online

The German Genealoy Group has recently added a new index to its database collection.

The Seaman’s Fund and Retreat, Register of Deaths, Oct. 21, 1831 – Feb. 26, 1874, has 3,129 records
It is an index to a register of deaths recorded at the Seaman’s Fund and Retreat and its successor, the Marine Hospital, on Staten Island. It gives the date of death, the cause of death, age, birthplace, and comments.

These records can be viewed onsite, by appointment, and scans can be requested for a fee. When contacting the National Archives, please provide the Name, Date and Page Number.

To make an appointment to view these records or to obtain reproductions please contact:
National Archives at New York
One Bowling Green, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10004

To begin searching the index, go to: and click on Databases Searches and then select Death Records.

NYC ‘Bodies in Transit’ ledgers now available online

The New York City Municipal Archives recently released digital copies of the New York City Bodies in Transit ledgers.

These ledgers cover the time period of 1859-1894. The ledgers were kept by the Department of Health and recorded data of bodies being transported through New York City. This information was kept to certify that there were no sanitary risks related to the body.

Information in the records include: name, age, date of passage through New York City, cause and date of death, and name and residence of person overseeing the transportation of the body. Probably the most famous name in the records is Abraham Lincoln.

To see the digitized images, go to:

An index to these ledgers was created by the German Genealogy Group and the index is available on their website at:

More records available for NYC marriage license index

The not-for-profit group Reclaim the Records recently announced it has added more records to its New York City marriage license index. The database now includes the years 1996-2017.

The new 1950-2017 database is broken into two different time frames: 1950-1995 and 1996-2017. These are indexes to every marriage license filed, not necessarily every marriage in New York City.

The group has noted that there are approximately 30,000 missing records particularly for the 1950s-1960s.

Beginning in June 2011, New York State started to legally recognize same-sex marriages. Therefore, for the 2011-2017 portion of the database, headers of “bride” and “groom” are referred to as “Spouse #1” and “Spouse # 2”.

To search the data from 1950-2017, go to:

New index to Gravesend Town Records available

A new New York City database was recently added to the German Genealogy Group website.

Gravesend Town Records is an index to early records of the town of Gravesend, Kings County, New York. These records are kept at the New York City Municipal Archives.

The records are contained in six books:
Book 1, Town Meetings, 1646 – 1653
Book 2, Deeds & Leases, 1653 – 1670
Book 3, Town Meetings, 1656 – 1705
Book 4, Court Minutes 1662-1699
Book 5, Deeds and Leases 1672 – 1686
Book 6, Patents & Deeds 1645-1701

A search of names will give the Book Number and the number of pages on which that name appears. To find out the procedure and cost of obtaining copies of the records, contact the NYC Records Department at When contacting the Records Department make sure to give the full record, including which books you are interested in and the number of pages.

Gravesend was one of the original towns in the Dutch colony of New Netherland and became one of the six original towns of Kings County in colonial New York. It was the only English chartered town in what became Kings County and was designated the “Shire Town” when the English assumed control, as it was the only one where records could be kept in English.

These records are transcriptions of the original records and very readable. In addition to the typical records you would expect – patents, property transfers, taxes, arrests, court proceedings, there are marriage, birth and death records.

To search this index, go to: and click on Database Searches and then Other NYC & Long Island.

Free webinar discusses New York City research tips

A free webinar on conducting New York City research is available on Legacy Family Tree Webinars through November 15.

The webinar, presented by Michael Strauss, covers many aspects of researching in New York City. The following topics are covered: Vital Records, New York State Census, City Directories, Telephone Books, Maps and Atlases, Sourrogate Court, Court Records, Business Records and Newspapers.

To view this webinar, go to:

Free webinar about New York City research set for Wednesday

Legacy Family Tree Webinars will present “New York City Genealogical Research” on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m.

Many persons can trace their origins to the Empire State. In 1790 New York’s population was about 33,000 persons, and by 1860 more than 1 million persons lived in the metropolitan area. This webinar offer a unique prospective into the various genealogical sources and historical records that are New York City.

To register, go to:

NY Society Library has online marriage and index index

The New York Society Library has a digitized collection of marriage and death indexes available for free on its website.

The Notices of Marriage and Deaths of Leading New York Families from 1836-1868 were clipped from newspapers by Elizabeth Denning Duer and compiled in three volumes.

The books came to the Library in 1903 as a gift from Duer’s daughter and are currently in the rare book collection. The full contents of these volumes are transcribed on the website along with page images from the actual books, making this a valuable glimpse into old New York and a unique resource for researchers and genealogists. The books can be viewed online or downloaded as a PDF file.

To start searching the index, go to:

Patchogue library to sponsor genealogy research trip to NYC

The Patchogue-Medford Public Library will be sponsoring a Genealogy Research Bus Trip to New York City on Thursday, September 7.

The bus will leave the library at 7:30 a.m. and have two drop offs: the Municipal Archives in lower Manhattan or the Kings County Clerk Office/Surrogates Court. You must decide which archive before you sign up. The number of attendees is very limited due to the size of the archives. Lunch will be on your own. Pick up will be approximately 3 p.m. Return will be approximately 5:30 p.m.

Cost of the trip is $30 payable by cash or check made out to PML. In person registration will begin Tuesday, August. 1.

For more information, contact Kathy Then at or 631-654-4700. added name index for New York City Death Index has recently added a name index for the New York City Death Index for the years 1949-1965.
The index includes separate listings for stillbirths.

The information from the index comes from the New York City Health Department. Some images are faint and may not be included in the index. Images can be browsed by year if a name search is not successful.

Information in the index includes: name, age at death, date of death, death certificate number, medical examiner case number and borough in which they died. Boroughs are listed by letter: M=Manhattan, K=Kings (Brooklyn), Q=Queens, R=Richmond (Staten Island), X=Bronx and Y=Outside of the City.

Codes can also be found next to age at death: M=minutes, H=Hours, D=Days and L=Months. Library Edition can be found in many public libraries. To find the New York City Death index, just go to the Search tab and select the Card Catalog. Use the keywords “New York City Death Index 1849-1965”.

A free New York City Death Index is available for the mid-1800s up to 1948 on both the Italian Genealogy Group and German Genealogy Group websites.