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The Municipal Library and Archives welcomes researchers to use our collections. The research rooms at the New York City Department of Records & Information Services (DORIS) are open to the public by appointment.
Please submit ONE inquiry to expedite response times.
Messages received via email, the Archives Collection Guides website, and the Department of Records websites are all routed to reference staff. Please allow 3 to 7 business days for responses to all inquiries and appointment requests.
What do I receive with my order? The NYC Municipal Archives will provide the following documentation based on your requests and research needs:
Certified Vital Record: A true copy of a vital record in the custody of the New York City Municipal Archives, issued by the Department of Records and Information Services. Printed on certificate paper without a wet signature and without a raised seal.
Letter of Exemplification: A true copy of a vital record in the custody of the New York City Municipal Archives, issued by the Department of Records and Information Services, and a letter re-stating the specific borough, year, and certificate number of the vital record. The copy of the vital record will have the raised seal of the Department of Records and Information Services. The letter will have a wet signature and a raised seal.
No Amendment/Correction Letter: A letter stating the Archive's policy that prohibits editing, correcting, and/or amending the historical records in its custody. The letter will have a wet signature and a raised seal.
Certified Property Card, OCME, or Civil List records: A true copy of the record with a raised seal and stamp, certifying issuance by the Department of Records and Information Services.
How do I place an order if the date of birth, death or marriage is not known and/or the certificate number is not known?
You can place an order for a search by filing in the information that is known. Your order must contain a name, year range and borough range.
Search online indexes for free, courtesy of genealogy organizations:
Note:Ancestry.com citations often link all names listed on a vital record (spouse, parents, children) to one certificate number. Please be sure the certificate number you provide corresponds to the individual named in the request.
What is the difference between Health Department marriage certificates and City Clerk marriage license records?
Couples who married between 1908 and 1937 may have filed records with both the Department of Health and City Clerk. In these instances, two records will exist: the license and the single certificate.
Department of Health Marriage Certificates were issued until 1938. They were filled out by the person performing the wedding ceremony. These certificates contain limited information.
City Clerk Marriage Licenses were issued beginning in 1908 in compliance with NY State Law. The City Clerk marriage record series typically includes:
Affidavit filled-out by the couple.
License issued by the Clerk, (includes parents’ country of birth and bride’s occupation)
Certificate filled-out by the person performing the wedding ceremony.
All orders for a Marriage Search will include a search in both indices.
What if I need a vital record for legal procedures (e.g. dual citizenship, apostille process, veteran benefits)?
Request a Letter of Exemplification. This option provides:
A true copy of a vital record in the custody of the New York City Municipal Archives, issued by the Department of Records and Information Services with a raised seal.
A letter re-stating the specific borough, year, and certificate number of the vital record with a raised seal and a wet signature.
If ordering online, you must select Mail Shipment as your Delivery Method in order to receive a raised seal and wet signature.
For information about divorce records contact the County Clerk in the County where the divorce action was heard, or, contact the New York State Department of Health (divorce after 1963), Corning Tower, Empire State Plaza Albany, NY 12237.
How do I request a name change record?
For information about name change records contact the Civil Court in the County of residence.
Is it true that the New York City Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS) has photographs of every house in the city, taken around 1940 and again in the 1980s? How can I see them and/or order copies?
Yes, between 1939 and 1940, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) staff photographed every house and building in the five boroughs for property tax assessment purposes. The City photographed every house and building again in the 1980s. The photographs can be searched and viewed on the agency website.