The State of New York began requiring a registration of births, deaths, and marriages in 1880-1881. These pieces of information are known as vital records, or vital statistics. This law was not always followed until about 1913 or even after, so some certificates do not exist.

Flower Library holds microfiche copies (provided by the State Department of Health) of older indexes to these vital records; patrons may use our microfilm reader to view the information. More information about the indexes, including availability restrictions, is provided by the NYS Archive website.

Ancestry.com

Your library provides a subscription to Ancestry.com, one of the easiest ways to track down vital records! Some quick information before you get started:

  • It must be used within the building
  • You may log into this account on your own device
  • You may log into this account using one of our public access computers (there are some reserved specifically for this purpose near the Reference Desk on the second floor)
  • The link is available here – no password needed once you enter
Ancestry - available in the library.

Internet Archive: New York State Vital Statistics

The information provided in the links below was made available by the nonprofit organization Reclaim the Records. They successfully filed a New York State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request against the NYS Department of Health in September of 2017 (completed in August of 2018). The FOIL request ultimately allowed free, immediate, public access to New York State’s birth, death, and marriage microfiche records in digital form for a large chunk of years.

Please note that they are only browsable, not searchable.

Reclaim the Records logo

Locating a Physical Certificate

Once you’ve determined which specific certificates you need using the resources listed above, it’s time to contact authorities to obtain official copies. There are multiple places to reach out to:

Please note that fees may apply in both locations. However, the NYS Department of Health may take longer than the village or town offices to supply any requested certificates.

New York State logo

Jefferson County Cemeteries

Curious about where your ancestor may be buried locally? Locate more information, including potential gravestone photos, via Find a Grave.

Note that Find a Grave is includes a range of international locations, not just Jefferson County.