Images of the New York State death index, 1880-1956, are now online

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 - 12:15pm

The genealogy community received great news from Reclaim the Records this morning – they have obtained images of the New York State death index from 1880–1956, and are in the process of uploading them online at Internet Archive.

The NYG&B will soon have copies of these images available for members in our eLibrary – stay tuned to our blog and Facebook for more announcements on this topic.

A sample image from the year 1891

Those of us researching New York State ancestors have long struggled with access to state death certificates from 1881 to 1956 – only a handful of repositories in New York State hold microfiche copies, but the lack of online access was detrimental to the many researchers unable to access this material in person.

Before this news, the only years of the index that were online were 1957-1967.

These new, high-resolution greyscale images have been scanned from the original vault copies by the Department of Health and are currently being uploaded, year by year, to Internet Archive.

The images will also be available to download in bulk, but users should be warned that the files are large—the entire collection is over 750 GB of images!


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Tips for Browsing

Researchers should keep in mind a few facts about New York State vital records to fully understand what is and isn’t available in this index:

New York City deaths

This index does not primarily include New York City deaths. However, you will be able to find death records before 1898 for boroughs that weren’t part of New York City until that time. See our New York State Vital Records Guide for advice on obtaining death records for New York City.

Albany, Buffalo and Yonkers deaths prior to 1914

Death records for Albany, Buffalo and Yonkers are not included for years before 1914. These records were stored locally from 1880 to 1914. See our New York State Vital Records Guide to see how to obtain records from those municipalities during this time period. 

Click here to view the records currently on Internet Archive. 


More about New York State Vital Records

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society offers several other resources for learning about New York State vital records. For information about New York City vital records, NYG&B members may want to view a recording of our August 2016 webinar, NYC MUNI Vital Indexes. Harry Macy Jr. has also written a comprehensive article found in our New York Knowledge Base

We also offer a guide, free and open to the public, to finding New York State vital records for any location and time period. NYG&B members have access to several key articles about New York State vital records (as well as substitues) in our New York Knowledge Base

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Looking for native American family relatives who have passed.
"Death records for Albany, Buffalo and Yonkers are not included for years before 1914." Actually some Buffalo deaths ARE included in this collection, the location being abbreviated as Buf. I've also come across one death that took place in New Jersey and one in Canada. So far I've only looked at 1880, 1881, and part of 1882.
Great hopes but all the years I looked at, the imaging was so faded as to be unreadable.
And the New York City Marriage index images:
i have hit a brick wall with my 2g grandfather....john k dean...born in tompkins county in 3/1826 and died in bellona, yates county in 8/1907...i cant find any record that for certain identifies johns father......most common sources apparently dont death record, no birth record, obit lists his children but not his parents, no church records that i can find.....cemetery records dont mention parents etc. etc....any suggestions would be greatly appreciated...thanks
So far, many images are unreadable. Are these going to be fixed??