Where to Write for
Vital Records

This page was last updated 6 Aug 2011

Birth, Death and Marriage Records
In 1880 the state government of New York began requiring thekeeping of vital records. This law is the basis for the recording of births, marriages and deaths (B, M or D) in New York today. The original record is made in the town, village or city in which the event took place, and a copy of the record is sent to Albany. The system did not become fully comprehensive for several years. Nevertheless, it is still worth checking to see if your ancestor who died in the early 1880s might be among those whose birth, marriage or death was recorded.

OBTAINING RECORDS FROM THE TOWN CLERK OR EQUIVALENT - Old records held by the clerk of the town, village or city in which the event took place do not always survive today. In those local authorities which do still have some sort of record, many have only an entry in a crumbling old register book. In this case, the Town Clerk's office or equivalent is unable to supply you with a photocopy of a B, M or D CERTIFICATE. Instead, they will look in their register and record what they see there -- sometimes accurately, sometimes not accurately. They will then type up this information and send it to an applicant as a modern "certification". The main advantage of applying to a Town Clerk or equivalent for a B, M or D record is speed -- they often can respond to your request in a week or two. It is also possible to find out over the telephone whether a B, M or D record for someone of the same name as your ancestor is in fact your ancestor or someone else. HOWEVER, Town Clerks do not regard it as an obligation to share information with genealogical researchers by telephone, and the reaction you will get will vary from tremendously kind and helpful to downright rude. Since we cannot pick and choose what town, village or city our ancestors were born or married in or where they died, if the clerk of that location turns out to be one of the uncooperative ones, you have our great sympathy here on the Rensselaer Co. NY GenWeb site, but I'm afraid that there is little that can be done about it. In any case, the fee for obtaining whatever kind of record a Town Clerk or equivalent will send you is $22.00 per document, the same as the fee for obtaining one from the NY State Dept of Health.

County Clerk
Rensselaer County Clerk
Frank Merola
Records Room Department
County Court House Annex
105 Third Street
at corner of Congress Street
Troy, NY 12180

Phone: (518) 270-4080
Fax: (518) 271-7998

City, Town and Village Clerks

Berlin Town Clerk
Anne M. Maxon
P. O. Box 307
26 South Main Street
Berlin, NY 12022

Phone: (518) 658-2633


Brunswick Town Clerk
Susan Quest-Sherman
Brunswick Town Office
336 Town Office Road
Troy, NY 12180

Phone: (518) 279-3461, Ext. 103
Fax: (518) 279-4352


Castleton-on-Hudson Village Clerk
Margaret C. Lill
P. O. Box 126
85 South Main Street
Castleton-on-Hudson, NY 12033

Phone: (518) 732-2211
Fax: (518) 732-1550


East Greenbush Town Clerk
Linda Kennedy
East Greenbush Town Hall
225 Columbia Turnpike
Rensselaer, NY 12144

Phone: (518) 477-7145
Fax: (518) 477-4508


East Nassau Village Clerk
Diane Maguire
P. O. Box 268
East Nassau, NY 12062

Phone: (518) 794-0289


Grafton Town Clerk
Suzanne Putnam
Grafton Town Hall
2379 NY State Highway 2
P. O. Box 80
Grafton, NY 12082

Phone: (518) 279-3565
Fax: (518) 279-3685

Hoosick Town Clerk
Susan Stradinger
Hoosick Town Offices
P. O. Box 17
New York State Armory
80 Church Street
Hoosick Falls, NY 12090

Phone: (518) 686-4571
Fax: (518) 686-5304

Hoosick Falls Village Clerk
Ann Marie Bornt
Hoosick Falls Village Hall
24 Main Street
Hoosick Falls, NY 12090

Phone: (518) 686-7072
Fax: (518) 686-4902

Nassau Town Clerk
Rita M. Labrum
P. O. Box 587
Nassau Town Hall
29 Church Street
Nassau, NY 12123

Phone: (518) 766-3559, Ext. 1
Fax: (518) 766-4422
Nassau Village Clerk
Heather Werner
P. O. Box 452
Nassau Village Hall
40 Malden Street
Nassau, NY 12123-9354

Phone: (518) 766-3044, Ext. 2
Fax: (518) 766-2939

North Greenbush Town Clerk
Kathryn A. Connolly
North Greenbush Town Offices
2 Douglas Street
Wynantskill, NY 12198

Phone: (518) 283-4306
Fax: (518) 283-7621
Petersburgh Town Clerk
Callie Crisp
P. O. Box 125
Petersburgh Town Hall
65 Main Street
Petersburgh, NY 12138

Tel: (518) 658-3777, Ext. 10
Fax: (518) 658-3770
Pittstown Town Clerk
Michelle A. Hoag
Pittstown Town Hall
123 Tomhannock Road
Valley Falls, NY 12185

Phone: (518) 753-4222
Fax: (518) 753-7706


Poestenkill Town Clerk
Sue Horton
P. O. Box 210
Poestenkill Town Offices
39 Davis Drive
Poestenkill, NY 12140

Phone: (518) 283-5100, Ext. 103
Fax: (518) 283-7500


Rensselaer City Clerk
Maureen G. Nardacci
Rensselaer City Offices
62 Washington Street
Rensselaer, NY 12144

Phone: (518) 462-4266
Fax: (518) 462-0890


Sand Lake Town Clerk
Barbara Biitig
P. O. Box 273
Sand Lake Town Hall
8428 Miller Hill Road
NY State Route 66
Averill Park, NY 12018

Phone: (518) 674-2026, Ext. 22
Fax: (518) 674-0441
Schaghticoke Town Clerk
Janet Salisbury
Schaghticoke Town Hall
290 Northline Drive
Melrose, NY 12121

Phone: (518) 753-6915, Ext. 101
Fax: (518) 753-6918


Schaghticoke Village Clerk
Cheryl L. Jackson, Registrar
P. O. Box 187
Schaghticoke Village Hall
163 Main Street
Schaghticoke, NY 12154

Phone: (518) 753-6100
Fax: (518) 753-7441

Schodack Town Clerk
Donna L. Conlin
Schodack Town Hall
265 Schuurman Road
Castleton-on-Hudson, NY 12033

Phone: (518) 477-7590
Fax: (518) 477-2439


Stephentown Town Clerk
Patricia M. Gallup
P. O. Box 268
26 Grange Hall Road
Stephentown, NY 12168

Phone: (518) 733-9195
Fax: (518) 733-6492


Troy City Clerk
Cydne R. Brearton, Registrar
Troy City Hall
1776 Sixth Avenue
Troy, NY 12180

Phone: (518) 270-4587
Fax: (518) 270-4609


Troy Bureau of Vital Statistics
has birth and death records from 1876;
Troy City Clerk has marriage records
from about the same date.

Valley Falls Village Clerk
Janet Weber
55 State Street
Valley Falls, NY 12185

Phone: (518) 753-6131
Fax: (518) 753-6230

. .

OBTAINING RECORDS FROM THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH - The copy of a B, M or D record that has been sent to the state government is now held by the New York State Department of Health. If you apply, and if your application is successful, the Dept of Health will always supply a photocopy of the original B, M or D certificate, and not a modern "certification". Application to obtain a photocopy of an original B, M or D certificate should be made on a printed application form, and in September 2006 the fee was $22.00 per document. You can print an application form by visiting the website of the New York State Department of Health Vital Records Section. That website will also tell you what information you need to supply in order to apply, and whether you qualify for an exemption from the 50-year and 75-year embargo of records. There are two ways to obtain B, M and D certificates from the Dept of Health: by mail or in person.

BY MAIL - The backlog of requests by mail at the NY State Dept of Health is such that the waiting time was said in December 2002 to be about five months. Even this is an improvement, as a few years ago the waiting time was as long as two years! To apply by mail, send your completed application form and your check for $22.00 to the following address:

Vital Records from the State by Mail
New York State Department of Health
Vital Records Section
Genealogy Unit
P. O. Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602

IN PERSON - Alternatively, you may call in person at the New York State Department of Health's premises. You will still need to fill in the form (obtainable at this office) and pay $22.00. This office will take your application and put it into a "fast track", and you will receive the photocopy of the requested document by mail seven to 10 days later. Here is is the location of this office:

Vital Records from the State in Person
New York State Department of Health
Vital Records Section
Genealogy Unit
Walk-In Services

800 North Pearl Street
Second Floor - Room 200
Menands, NY 12204

WHAT IF I DON'T KNOW THE YEAR OF MY ANCESTOR'S B, M OR D? There is good news and bad news. The good news is that wonderful, WONDERFUL New York State Births, Marriages and Deaths Indexes exist. They include every B, M or D record in the NY State Dept of Health's possession from the first ones in 1881 until the latest year that has come into the public domain -- i. e., up to 50 years before the present time for marriages and deaths and up to 75 years before the present time for births. Each index entry gives the full name of the person; the exact date of the event; the town, village, hamlet or city in which the event occurred; and the number of the certificate in the Dept of Health's records. A few of the years also give ages. Some years are arranged in Soundex order; most years are in ordinary alphabetical order. A few years in the marriages index name the spouse; most years don't. The bad news is that this index can be viewed ONLY in person at the New York State Archives, located in the New York State Museum Building. If you go there in person, you can search year by year until you find the index entry for your ancestor. To look for a single event for a single individual, you can easily search 20 years in 10 minutes. There is a search service available, but if you have no idea when an event occurred, this search service can be very expensive -- and it might not even yield a result. If you have MANY people you want to look up, you might want to consider going to Albany to do this yourself -- it might even be cheaper. Details of the search-service fees can be found on the website of the New York State Department of Health Vital Records Section.

Divorce Records
Since 1847 divorce actions in New York have been handled in the Supreme Court for the county in which the divorce was heard. New York divorce files, however, are sealed for 100 years. In colonial times, petitions for divorce had to be made to the governor or legislature, and only a few were granted. The Chancery Court granted divorces from 1787 to 1847. These older records are in the state archives.

New York State Archives
New York Department of Education
Room 11D40
Cultural Education Center
Albany, NY 12230

Phone: (518) 474-8955

Naturalization Records
Anne Kiely kindly informs us by email that naturalization records are available at the Rensselaer County Clerk's office.

Rensselaer County Clerk
Records Room Department
County Court House Annex
105 Third Street
at corner of Congress Street
Troy, NY 12180

Phone: (518) 270-4080
Fax: (518) 271-7998

Send additions, corrections, comments or suggestions to:
Debby Masterson

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