For those who are looking to access the New York death records or vital records, it is important that researchers know where to look at. Death records dating prior to 1949 from the five (5) Boroughs of New York City, which include Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Manhattan and Queens, are located at the Municipal Archives. Deaths recorded after 1948 are available from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Ordering is done through email, telephone or mail.
Death records are public records; however, not all applicants are eligible to obtain a copy of the death certificate. To be able to obtain a copy of the death certificate, the applicant must be the (a) sibling, blood relative or spouse of the deceased (b) has a lawful right (ex. legal guardian) (c) court order and (d) for medical reasons. Records of deaths that occurred outside the New York state can be obtained from the county where the death occurred. Fees for the records depend on the office where the record is to be obtained.
For family history or genealogical purposes, researchers can get copies of death records that happened prior to 1949 from the NY Municipal Archives. Getting the information is relatively easy as individuals can order through online, walk in or mail. The Municipal office does not accept any phone in requests. Each record costs about $15 and individuals who walk in can obtain a copy for $11. Additional fees are charged: (a) $2 for each borough for one year (b) $2 each borough for a year (c) $5 for “letter of exemplification” which will be appended in the certified copy and (d) $10 for each additional copy.
For records that date after 1949, researchers can request the records from New York’s Department of Health Office. The Office requires the applicants to present a valid photo-id or if the person does not have one, a billing statement that is under the researcher’s name and address. For those who request the records for travelling purposes, the Office requires them to present a copy of their passport.
Each death record costs $30 for priority handling; applicants are charged with additional $15 for a total of $45 per request. The Department accepts internet, telephone and mail order requests for death records. For applicants who request through the internet and phone, they will be charged $15 for handling fee and an additional $8 per transaction for vendor processing fee. Cash payments are not allowed. Processing time would vary depending on the order in which applicants avail of the service although normal processing takes about a week. For those who want to get their copies faster, they may avail of the UPS overnight delivery for an extra $15.50.
As the Office does not accept online orders and credit card payments, applicants or those who are requesting the records can check out the partnered establishment of the Office. VitalChek processes almost all online requests. For those who require basic information such as death records or death notices, there are online search engines and sites from which one can obtain the information that they need.
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