How to Find New York Marriage RecordsEdit This Page

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Finding United States Marriages Gotoarrow.png New York Gotoarrow.png New York Marriages

Looking for a marriage record from New York State as part of your genealogy research? New York State briefly kept marriage records from 1847 to about 1850 and started recording marriages again in 1881. Copies of all records can obtained from the town or city of birth or by contacting the state archives.

Next Step: When did the marriage occur?

Choose a time period:

Learn more about U.S. Marriage Records

Marriages Before 1847

Before 1847, no marriages were recorded by New York's county, city, town, or village governments. The Secretary of the Province of New York issued approximately 20,000 marriage licenses before 1784.

Marriage Indexes
Database Name-Index Only Link or links to access database # of records
Ancestry, Marriages, to 1784 Free using Ancestryinstitution at FamilySearch Centers $, Use your own Ancestry subscription 23,226
Ancestry, Marriages, 1600-1784 Free using Ancestryinstitution at FamilySearch Centers $, Use your own Ancestry subscription 19,477
FamilySearch, Marriages, 1686-1980 On FamilySearch; free; INCOMPLETE for all counties and years 768,885
Can't access Ancestry? Visit your local Family History Center or your local public library.
No marriage record for your ancestor?

Search for Gretna Greens-- locations away from the home county where marriage laws were less restrictive.
Search other records with marriage information.

In most cases during this time period, you will need to search substitute records to locate your ancestors' marriage date and place. Substitutes for marriage record information:

1. Look first in 2. Then search
Church Records
Newspapers
Military Records
Obituaries
Census Records

Cemetery Records
Death Records
Bible Records

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Marriages from 1847 thru 1850

In 1847, New York State passed a law requiring marriages to be reported. It quickly fell into disfavor and few communities reported marriages after 1850 (with many discontinuing after the 1847-1848 time period). Extant records for this time period are either held by the local village, town, or city clerk or by the county clerk.

PART A: You know the village, town, or city of marriage

Try 1st:
Determine if the records from your village, town, city, or county have been microfilmed by FamilySearch. Search the Catalog for both village/town/city and county and then order available microfilm copies to your local Family History Center.

Try 2nd:
Order a copy of the marriage record from the village, town, or city clerk. To locate contact information, search for the village, town, or city in the FamilySearch Research Wiki. Note that in some counties the county clerk holds all marriage records for this time period.

If you do not want to order the marriage record, you can search other records with marriage information.

PART B: You do not know the village, town, or city of marriage

If you do not know the village, town, or city of marriage, learn more about the family using census, land, probate, and church records.

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Marriages from 1851 thru 1880

After the failure of the 1847 law, no marriages were recorded by the State of New York between 1850 and 1880 though some cities (including Albany, Buffalo, Yonkers) started recording marriages in the 1870s. Try searching substitute records to locate your ancestor's marriage date and place.

1. Look first in 2. Then search
Church Records
Newspapers
Military Records
Obituaries
Census Records

Cemetery Records
Death Records
Bible Records

Learn how to access records kept by Albany, Buffalo, and Yonkers from the 1870s.

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Marriages from 1881 thru 1907

Starting in 1881, New York required that village, town, and city clerks record marriages. Copies of these marriages were then filed with the State Department of Health. Due to earlier city laws, copies of marriages recorded in Albany, Buffalo, and Yonkers were not sent to the State between 1881 and 1914.

Marriage Indexes
Database Name-Index Only Link or links to access database # of records
FamilySearch, Marriages, 1686-1980 On FamilySearch; free; INCOMPLETE for all counties and years 768,885

Marriages in New York State (except Albany, Buffalo, and Yonkers)

STEP ONE - Search the Index

The New York Archives as well as nine other repositories in New York hold copies of microfiche indexes to marriages certificates. Contact one of these ten repositories (listed on the State Archives website) to search the index.

STEP TWO - Obtain the Certificate

With an exact date (from your records or the index above), you can order a copy of the marriage record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Marriage Certificates
From village/town/city of marriage (search the Research Wiki for contact info) From NY Dept of Health State office
Pros Cons Pros Cons
May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state Individual clerks may not be aware of state laws regarding record availability Offers a standard search covering 1-3 years with additional years with the option to increase the number of years searched for an additional fee; expedited orders through VitalChek May take more than eight months to fulfill a request

See list of restrictions for ordering marriage records
if you don't want to order the marriage record, you can search other records with marriage information.

Marriages in Albany (city), Buffalo, or Yonkers

Albany
Marriage records for the 1870-1914 time period can be ordered from the Albany City Clerk and the Albany County Hall of Records

Buffalo
Marriages records for the 1878-1914 time period can be ordered from the Buffalo City Clerk.

Yonkers
Marriages records can be ordered from the City of Yonkers, NY Genealogical Research.

See list of restrictions for ordering marriage records

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Marriages from 1908 thru 1935

Starting in 1908, marriage records (including those from Albany, Buffalo, and Yonkers) could be only be filed with a town or city clerk. Copies of marriage records were then filed with county who sent them on to the state. Since the counties did not always forward the marriage records on to the state, some towns and villages stopped sending their marriages to the county in 1915, 1922, 1926, or 1935. Copies of all marriages records (except New York City) were filed with the New York Department of Health. Copies can be obtained either through the town or city clerk where the marriage took place, through the county, or through the Department of Health. Most of the records filed with the counties area also available from FamilySearch

STEP ONE - Search the Index
Marriage Indexes and Digital Images
Database Name - Index and Image Link or links to access database # of records
FamilySearch, Marriages, 1908-1935 On FamilySearch; free; INCOMPLETE for all counties and years 636,587
If you do not locate the marriage in the above, try:
Database Name-Index Only Link or links to access database # of records
FamilySearch, Marriages, 1686-1980 On FamilySearch; free; INCOMPLETE for all counties and years 768,885
No marriage record for your ancestor?

Search for Gretna Greens-- locations away from the home county where marriage laws were less restrictive.
Search other records with marriage information.

STEP TWO - Obtain the Certificate

With an exact date (from your records or the index above), you can order a copy of the marriage record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Marriage Certificates
From village/town/city of marriage (search the Research Wiki for contact info) From NY Dept of Health State office
Pros Cons Pros Cons
May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state Individual clerks may not be aware of state laws regarding record availability Offers a standard search covering 1-3 years with additional years with the option to increase the number of years searched for an additional fee; expedited orders through VitalChek May take more than eight months to fulfill a request

The New York Archives as well as nine other repositories in New York hold copies of microfiche indexes to birth certificates. Contact one of these ten repositories (listed on the State Archives website) to search the index.

See list of restrictions for ordering marriage records If you do not want to order the marriage record, you can search other records with marriage information.

Return to top: Choose another marriage year


Marriages after 1935

After 1935, all marriages in New York were recorded by individual town and city clerks. Copies were sent to the state.

To Order Marriage Certificates
From village/town/city of marriage (search the Research Wiki county pages for contact info) From NY Dept of Health State office
Pros Cons Pros Cons
May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state Individual clerks may not be aware of state laws regarding record availability Offers a standard search covering 1-3 years with additional years with the option to increase the number of years searched for an additional fee; expedited orders through VitalChek May take more than eight months to fulfill a request

See list of restrictions for ordering marriage records

If you do not want to order the marriage record, you can search other records with marriage information.

Return to top: Choose another marriage year


Restrictions for Obtaining Marriage Records

To obtain a marriage certificate copy for a marriage that occurred within the past 50 years, you must be:

  • The person named on the marriage certificate
  • Persons who have a documented judicial or other proper purpose
  • Persons by order of a New York State Court

Restrictions are waived if both spouses are deceased.

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  • This page was last modified on 26 November 2014, at 19:58.
  • This page has been accessed 5,174 times.