Public records for the state of New York are easily accessible, but the route to what you are looking for may require a little searching to find the right department. The NYC Department of records has an immense amount of information, covering everything from Civil War records, to the Vital Records of births, deaths, and marriages.
There is also an old treasure trove of photos taken around the city for tax purposes from 1939 to the mid 80's. Every house, business and building during these dates, in every area (borough) has a photograph in the archives.
The photo gallery includes pictures of:
Many of the records from the NYC Department of records are old and appropriate for those interested in genealogy and history.
Heirloom quality copies of birth records are also available.
From the Department of records you may obtain Birth Certificates before 1910, Death Certificates before 1949, and Marriage Licenses from before 1930. After these dates the records are obtained through the Department of Health, except for Marriage Certificates which come through the Office of the City Clerk.
Current vital records may be ordered from the NYC Department of Health. Here you can order copies of birth and death certificates from 1881 to present day, marriage certificates from 1880 to present day, and divorce decrees since 1969.
These records can also be obtained from the Local Registrar where the event occurred within the state. If you know the town or city of the event, you may just walk into the clerk's office to request the record you need.
When you run a search for New York Public Record you will find many websites that will be more than happy to find the records you are looking for. These sites, some of which are designed to look like an official government website, will charge you a hefty fee for records that will be free or just cost a nominal fee if you look in the right place.
Always make sure you are on an official website; they will always provide a phone number and address to the office you need. Or just walk into your county clerk's office locally and tell them what you are looking for. If they don't have the particular records you need they will be able to point you in the right direction.
For information on the Department of Records Services call 212-NEW-YORK. There are links to email the city hall library on the website, or you can send inquiries by mail to:
Department of Records and Information Services
31 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007
To lookup New York public records information, contact:New York Committee on Open Government
The state Committee on Open Government is the initial jumping off point for any successful New York public records search. It has undergone major changes since August of 2008, when the Freedom of Information Law modernized its policies to allow for greater ease of access to this data and the documents containing it. Primarily, it had to do with making much more information available online.
The New York Committee on Open Government oversees and advises the public about the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) [New York Public Officers Law, Article 6]. In order to view or otherwise access public records in New York, most government agencies will require that you submit your request in writing either by mail, fax or e-mail to the Records Access Officer in either New York City or Albany. If there is doubt as to which office to submit a request to, it should be sent to New York City.
A department representative will contact you regarding your New York public records request and that individual will be your point of contact for any and all matters pertaining to your request. This representative should give you a FOIL request number that should be referenced in any future concerns with regard to that particular request.
Any agency maintaining public records in New York is required to explain the purpose of collecting such data upon request.