Thursday 17 March 2022

Largest collection of free NYC vital/bmd records released online

The largest collection of publicly available New York City birth, marriage, and death records has been released, free, on the Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS) website.

Some of my free haul

As far as I'm aware, this was not intended to be a St Patrick's Day gift, but for those researchers descended from the vast number of Irish-born immigrants who arrived in New York City in the 19th and early 20th centuries, it's a pot of Irish gold, all right!

The database holds 9,318,625 indexed and imaged vital records dating from 1855 to 1949. The images are copies of birth certificates, marriage certificates, marriage licences and death certificates

This number represents about 70% of the New York City Municipal Archives' holding from across all five boroughs, so if you can't find your ancestors now, just be patient: they may be along as the digitisation project progresses.

You'll find charts showing the digitisation status by year for each type of record in each borough on the Digital Vital Records page here. You should also bear in mind, if searching for births, that about a quarter of babies born before 1909 were not reported so there will be no file.

The Search page is here: You have a choice of searching by Certificate Number or by Name, the latter facility being still in Beta, so may not be entirely accurate. Since I didn't know any certificate numbers for my extended family, I used the Name search and screengrabbed more than 70 Santrys for my one-name study. However, I became suspicious that the search function wasn't picking up varient spellings. Sure enough, when I searched for Sauntry, I found another eight events. Do bear this in mind.

Happy hunting.