New York death records will go back to at least 1880 for most of the state, though some regions and counties may have their own registrations dating back even to the 1600s. Records beyond 1880 will require that you contact county registrar offices and possibly check the state archives.
When trying to get a copy of a record after 1880, you will have a few different routes to take depending on the age of the record and what kind of document you need back. You can request either a certified copy that has a state seal, or an uncertified copy that does not. Any New York death record can be purchased as a certified copy provided that it is your own certificate or that of your child.
A death record that is at least 50 years old can be ordered in uncertified form, regardless of the relationship to you and you can also get an uncertified copy of any certificate if you are a direct descendant of the deceased.
The process of requesting a record will vary, depending on which of these you want or need.
Certified records will only come from the Department of Health's collection of vital records. You can get the proper form from their website (http://www.health.state.ny.us/vital_records/forms/doh-4376.pdf) which can be filled in on the computer and printed out. You need to supply the full name of the deceased, the date of death, the place of death and the names of their parents. Adding their Social Security number is also helpful if you know it.
A regular request will have a fee of $30 USD, and should be mailed to the New York State Department of Health, Vital Records Section, Certification Unit, PO Box 2602, Albany NY 12220-2602 USA. It can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks to get your requested New York death record back to you. Any records that cannot be found will not be refunded.
You can also make a priority request if you wish a faster return. These will cost $45 USD, and are mailed to the New York State Department of Health, Vital Records Section, Certification Unit, 800 North Pearl Street, Menands NY, 12204 USA. This address is only to be used for priority requests. Now you may only have to wait 2 to 3 weeks. They will ship back with overnight delivery if you provide a pre-paid mailer.
Both of these options only apply to getting certified copies of New York death records.
For the non-certified versions mentioned earlier, also referred to as a genealogy record, you will need to use this form instead (http://www.health.state.ny.us/vital_records/forms/doh-4384.pdf) and the fee is only $22 USD. You can also request additional years be searched (for an added fee) if you are not sure the exact date of death on the record you want. They will search up to 3 years with the main fee paid. These requests are not given high priority and can take up to 5 months to be processed.
All of the fees should be paid as either a check or money order, and made out to the New York State Department of Health.
If you would like to request a New York death certificate by standard mail, these are the steps for doing so:
To access New York death certificates for deaths that occurred in the state of New York but outside of New York City, you will need to fill out a New York Death Certificate request form.
Identification in the form of a government-issued photo ID must be included with your request.
For standard mail orders, you will also need to include a check or money order in the amount of $30. Return the payment, identification, and application to the State Department of Health.
For further questions on the access of New York death records, contact the Department below:
New York Department of Health
Vital Records Section
P.O. Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602
How To Access New York Death Records
New York death records can be accessed through the New York State Department of Health. The State Department maintains all New York death records except for those for deaths that occurred in New York City. Records for deaths occurring in New York City can be accessed through the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
If you would like to access New York death records, there are three main ways to do so: by mail, by internet, and by phone. Orders made by internet and phone and for expedited mail services will be subject to an additional fee. Orders for New York death records that occurred in New York City will be retrieved through the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Limitations To Ordering
Because of the laws in the state, only the spouse, parent, or adult child can request New York death records. Other persons will need to provide a New York court order or be able to demonstrate a legal or medical need for the record.