Are Marriage Records Public in New York State?

Marriage records that are more than 50 years old are considered historical documents and are available to the public. You can request a marriage registration that is over 50 years old either by mail or by visiting the Registration Room Division in the Manhattan office for a fee. Each agency in New York has its own procedures for processing requests for records, so there is no standard procedure. The NYC Records & Information Services has death records for the five boroughs of New York City that date back to 1795. In most states, a basic marriage license registry or marriage license index is considered public information, even if actual certificates or licenses may have strict privacy regulations under the state's civil registry laws.

It is important to note that New York is unique in that the city and state are two separate vital records jurisdictions. Marriage records between 1908 and 1937 come in two different record collections, certificates and licenses, so it is important to check both series. As a resident of New York State, you have the legal right to inspect public records through the state's Freedom of Information Act (FOIL). Visit the New York City Records Department's & Information Services website for a complete list of records available online.

The New York City Clerk's Office provided this data to the non-profit activist group Reclaim The Records. Divorce records are sealed in New York and are only available to parties involved in the divorce process. Adoption records for adoptees under 18 years of age are sealed and not available to the general public in New York State. New York City marriage records that are over fifty years old are considered public documents, and all basic marriage index files are open to the public with no year restrictions.

Rory Rabinovich
Rory Rabinovich

Hardcore beer fanatic. Avid zombie lover. Certified zombie aficionado. Infuriatingly humble social media scholar. Passionate pop culture buff.

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