It's a great time to be researching New York State ancestors - these days, family history researchers can take advantage of a constant flow of new record sets that can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
More genealogical material is within easy reach than at any time in history, and it can be hard to keep up with everything - so let us take care of that for you!
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In late February 2020, Ancestry.com added three new collections of New York City vital record indexes. These new indexes are separate entities from the already-existing indexes on the website - this means there are now multiple New York City vital record indexes on Ancestry.com.
The new indexes are particularly exciting because their entries contain very detailed information. Other indexes contain little more than the name, date of event, and certificate number - but as you will see below, entries in these new collections have extracted far more information from each certificate.
Researchers can conveniently query all NYC vital record indexes at once from the New York City Department of Records search page on Ancestry.com.
Upon our first review, it seems like there are some gaps in coverage for these new records, so researchers should note that these record sets are not yet fully complete.
New York City Birth Certificate Index, 1866-1909
Ancestry.com has added a new index to New York City birth certificates that cover the following years:
- Bronx: 1898 - 1909
- Brooklyn: 1866 - 1909
- Manhattan: 1866 -1904
- Queens: 1898 - 1909
- Richmond: 1898 - 1909
This record set provides more information than other vital record indexes - records typically include:
- Birthplace (including street address)
- Names, birthplaces, and occupations of parents
- Certificate number
The certificate number can be used to easily obtain a copy of the full certificate.
Researchers should note this is a new record set that exists separately from Ancestry.com's other NYC birth index, which is titled New York, New York, Extracted Birth Index, 1878-1909. That index contains less information per entry and was prepared by the Italian Genealogical Group and the German Genealogy Group. We recommend using both in conjunction for optimal results.
There are other New York City birth indexes available around the web as well - see our New York Vital Records Guide for links to all.
New York City Marriage License Index, 1908-1910, 1938-1940
Ancestry.com has added a new index to New York City Marriage Licenses, covering a few small periods for the borough of Manhattan - more records for other boroughs may be added to this collection in the future.
Despite the narrow coverage, the records contained in this index are uniquely detailed - they contain more information than other NYC vital record indexes. Researchers will often find the following information on both spouses from just the index entry:
- Street address of residence
- Names and birthplaces of both parents
- Witness names
- Certificate number
Researchers can easily order a copy of the full record with the information found in the index.
Researchers should note this collection exists separately from Ancestry.com's other New York City marriage index, titled New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937. That index was prepared by the Italian Genealogical Group and the German Genealogy Group and covers all five boroughs and many more years than the new record set.
There are other New York City marriage indexes available to search on the web - see our New York Vital Records Guide for the full list.
New York City Death Certificate Index, 1862 - 1948
Ancestry.com has added a new index to New York City Death Certificates - the following boroughs are covered (more records will be added in the future):
- Bronx: 1898 - 1948
- Brooklyn: 1862 - 1948
- Manhattan: 1866-1867, 1870-1875, 1934-1948
- Queens: 1898 - 1948
- Richmond: 1898 - 1948
Like the other new vital record indexes on Ancestry.com, the entries in this index contain are uniquely detailed for an index. In addition to basic information about the death, researchers can typically find the following information just from the index entry alone:
- Years in US (for immigrants)
- Residential street address at time of death
- Cause of death
- Burial date and location
- Names and birthplaces of parents
Researchers can easily obtain the full death certificate with the information in this index. This new collection exists separately from Ancestry.coms's other New York City death index, which is titled New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948. That index was prepared by the Italian Genealogical Group and the German Genealogy Group, and the entries do not contain as much detail.
We recommend researchers use both indexes in tandem for optimal results - it's also a good idea to consult our Guide to New York Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for links to additional death indexes from around the web.
Late 2019 & Early 2020
In late 2019 and early 2020, some notable New York records sets have debuted online - read below for a brief roundup of brand-new collections, as well as some significant and useful updates to existing record sets.
New York State, Address Notification and Absentee Ballot Application Cards, 1944
This new collection on Ancestry.com contains applications for absentee ballots and change of address forms from New Yorkers serving overseas in 1944. Members of the Armed Services, Red Cross, and other organizations involved in the war effort sent these cards to the War Ballot Commission to request absentee ballots for upcoming elections. Researchers may uncover the rank, service number, birth date, and residential address for service members found in these records.
These records were digitized in partnership with the New York State Archives.
This database is accessible to those with subscriptions to Ancestry.com, but can also be accessed by New York State residents for free. Read more in our article, How to get free access to select Ancestry.com New York records.
New York, Episcopal Diocese of Rochester Church Records, 1800 - 1970
Newly digitized ledgers from the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester have been added to Ancestry.com. The Episcopal Diocese of Rochester covers 46 parishes throughout 8 counties around Rochester in New York State: Allegany, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Schuyler, Steuben, Wayne and Yates counties. View a parish map from the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester website. In addition to name searches, researchers can also browse the collection by town or city.
These records include baptism, confirmation, marriage, and death records recorded by the church between 1800 and 1970. Records like these serve as fantastic substitutes for hard-to-find New York State vital records.
The collection description on Ancestry.com details exactly what may be found in each type of record.
Catholic Records: New Images Added to Archdiocese of New York Collection
Many researchers are aware of Findmypast's ever-growing online collection of sacramental registers from the Archdiocese of New York, but in case you missed it, over 25,000 new marriage images were added to this collection this past fall.
As outlined in our article New York Catholic records online: What you need to know, a searchable index to these records has been online for some time, but Findmypast has been slowly adding the actual digital images to accompany the index. Per Findmypast, all marriage records are now fully online - index and image included.
The images are a very exciting addition to this collection because the digitized originals will often contain information not found in the index - names of witnesses, notes written by the minister, and more.
Another excellent set of vital record substitutes for those who are having difficulty obtaining or finding New York State marriage certificates! And remember, NYG&B members get free access to all North American records on Findmypast.
More Genealogy Reading
About the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society
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