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Ask a Genealogist: Researching vital records in New York State.

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Question:

I am having a difficult time finding birth, marriage and deathdates for a number of ancestors from NY State (Nassau, New York,Rockland, Orange, Albany, Oneida, Essex and Oswego counties.) Iread on your site that you have a popular trip to the NYS Archives.While I can't afford to go on the trip, do you have any advice forme to go to Albany on my own and look for the data I want? I feelthat I'm a seasoned researcher and can negotiate my way well enoughif you can steer me in the right direction.

Answer:

Reply from Rhonda McClure, NEHGS Genealogist                                                            I would recommend that you familiarize yourself with the New York State Archives holdings by visiting their web site and looking at their Research < http://www.archives.nysed.gov/a/research/index.shtml > and Genealogy <http://www.archives.nysed.gov/a/research/res_topics_genealogy.shtml> pages.

The more you understand of their holdings, how to access the records upon your arrival at the archives, and what limitations they may have in regard to years available, etc., will make your trip more successful.

One thing to keep in mind is that vital records for New York in the 20th Century may be restricted. New York is not an “open record” state and as such they impose restrictions as to when a record is available to someone outside of immediate family. It varies by record type. Also not all of the records are going to be housed at the State Archives. There may be indexes, but then the records themselves may need to be requested through courthouses or the Vital Statistics Office, which will only take an order, but will then process it and mail it.

The index to some of the records for New York County, which is only Manhattan, may be found through the abstraction projects done by the Italian Genealogy Group <http://www.italiangen.org/>.

However, few of the records that you need will be available online. If you are fortunate, they may be available through the Family History Library to your local FamilySearch Center. To find out what they have, visit FamilySearch.org <https://familysearch.org/> and search the Catalog for the places you mentioned.


Posted by David Lambert at 03/25/2014 10:49:49 AM | 


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