How to Find New York Death RecordsEdit This Page

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Finding United States Deaths Gotoarrow.png New York Deaths

Looking for a death record from New York State as part of your genealogy research? New York State briefly kept death records from 1847 to about 1850 and started recording deaths again in June 1880. Copies of all records can obtained from either the village, town, or city of birth or by contacting the state archives.

New York City keeps death records separately from New York State. Learn more about finding death records from New York City.

Next Step: When did the death occur?

Choose a time period:

Learn more about U.S. Death Records


Deaths before 1847

Before 1847, no deaths were recorded by New York State. You will need to search substitute records to locate your ancestor’s death date and place. Substitutes for death record information:

  Records that give death information:
Cemetery Records
Newspapers
Probate (wills, etc)
Tax Records
Church Records
Census
Bible Records
Return to top: Choose another death year



Deaths from 1847 thru 1850

In 1847, New York State passed a law requiring that doctors and midwives report births, marriages, and deaths to the trustees of local school districts. Due to the complexities of this law, it quickly fell into disfavor and few communities reported deaths 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 death

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 death 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 death records for this time period.

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

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

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

Return to top: Choose another deathyear



Deaths from 1851 thru 1879

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

  Records that give death information:
Cemetery Records
Newspapers
Probate (wills, etc)
Tax Records
Church Records
Census
Bible Records

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

Return to top: Choose another death year



Deaths from 1880 thru 1913

Starting in June 1880, New York required that village, town, and city registrars to record deaths. Copies of these deaths were then filed with the State Department of Health. Due to earlier city laws, deaths recorded in Albany, Buffalo, and Yonkers were not copied to the State between 1881 and 1914.

Deaths 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 birth 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 death record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Death Certificates
From village/town/city of birth (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 May take more than eight months to fulfill a request

See list of restrictions for ordering death records record, you can search other records with death information.

Deaths in Albany (city), Buffalo, or Yonkers

Albany
Death records for the 1870-1914 time period can be ordered from the Albany Registrar of Vital Statistics.

Buffalo
Death records for the 1878-1914 time period can be ordered from the Buffalo Registrar of Vital Statistics.

Yonkers
Death records can be ordered from the Yonkers Registrar of Vital Statistics.

See list of restrictions for ordering death records

Return to top: Choose another death year



Deaths from 1914 thru 1956

After 1914, copies of all death records (except New York City) were filed with the New York Department of Health. Copies can be obtained either through the village, town, or city clerk where the death took place or by contacting the Department of Health.

STEP ONE - Search the Index

The New York Archives as well as nine other repositories in New York hold copies of microfiche indexes to death 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 death record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Death Certificates
From village/town/city of death(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 May take more than eight months to fulfill a request

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

Return to top: Choose another death year



Deaths from 1957 thru 1963

Death records from 1957 thru 1963 are held by the village, town, or city clerk where the death took place and the Department of Health. The New York Department of Health has also created an online index (in spreadsheet form) for many deaths taking place between 1957 and 1963.

STEP ONE - Search the Index

The New York Archives as well as nine other repositories in New York hold copies of microfiche indexes to death 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 death record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Death Certificates
From village/town/city of death(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 May take more than eight months to fulfill a request

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

Return to top: Choose another death year



Deaths after 1963

Deaths recorded less than fifty years ago are only available to direct line descendants who provide proof of their relationship to the person whose death certificate they are requesting.

To Order Death Certificates
From village/town/city of death(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 May take more than eight months to fulfill a request

See list of restrictions for ordering death records

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

Return to top: Choose another death year



Restrictions for Obtaining Death Records

To obtain a certified copy of the death certificate for those born within the last 50 years, you must be:

  • The person named on the death certificate
  • A parent of the person named on the death certificate (requesting parent's name must be on death certificate)
  • Spouse, child, or other person by order of a New York State Court

An uncertified copy of a death certificate issued within the last fifty years is available to a direct-line descendant who provides

  • Proof of their relationship to the person whose death certificate they are requesting

 

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