MARRIAGE..GUIDE to film records at the (FHC)..Family History Center

New York City marriage records are quite complicated. A little background information is always helpful. Please keep in mind that NOT all marriages were recorded. Sometimes an announcement from the house of worship, local newspaper, or the baptisimal from a child born, will be your only "proof". New York State mandated registration of vital events in 1880, but the law was widely ignored until well into the 20th century. A truely well written explanation on the Marriage process can be found here: The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society The City Clerk Marriage License Bureaus were opened in the boroughs in 1908, when it became a requirement that a marriage license be obtained before the ceremony could take place. There are three types of documents associated with a marriage in New York City: *Affidavit for License to Marry *Certificate and Record of Marriage *Marriage license itself. Before you involve yourself looking through rolls and rolls of microfilm: Check by using the databases at They have transcribed: New York City Grooms Index Consisting of: Kings County Grooms 1864-1907 Manhattan Grooms 1895-1897 New York City Grooms All Boroughs 1908-1936 New York City Brides Index Consisting of: Kings County 1871-1910, and 1931-1937 Bronx County 1899-1937 Queens County 1904-1937 Suffolk County Marriage Records Consisting of: Marriage Records between the years 1908-1916 are available in affidavit form. Marriage Records between the years 1917-1935 are available in abstract form only Health Department records: From 1866 until 1937, the Department of Health kept marriage records. After 1937, it was no longer necessary to report marriages to the Health Department. All Health Department marriage records (marriage indexes & certificates up to 1937) are at the NYC Municipal Archives, and are available on microfilm below via the FHC. NOTE: Also at The Municipal Archives: Liber Books from 1848 to 1865 for N.Y.C. (Manhattan only) and Brooklyn, These are on microfilm. It is a line in a book recording the marriages by date. Pages are listed by letter of the alphabet by date of the marriage. They don't have as much information but it could be very helpful when one does not have a church or synagogue record. There are separate MARRIAGE and death records for Kings County Towns: Flatbush, 1847-1851; 1880-1894, Flatlands, 1880-1895, Gravesend, 1880-1894, New Lots, 1881-1886 New Utrecht, 1880-1894. Beginning in 1908 until the present, the CITY CLERK'S Office kept marriage license records. So there are two sets of marriage records in NYC for the period 1908-1937. The data in each record are similar but not always the same. The difference between the Health Department & the City Clerk: Health Department Certificates 1908-1937 typically contain: Bride's & Groom's: Names, addresses, ages, color, marital status, birthplace (usually the country and sometimes the state/territory of birth) Groom's occupation Father's name (for both bride and groom) Mother's maiden name (for both) Number of this marriage (for both) Place and date of marriage Signatures of bride and groom Witnesses' names and signatures Name, address, and signature of person officiating the ceremony. City Clerk's Marriage Licenses 1908-1937 contain : ALL the information in the certificate as noted above - PLUS: Specific birthplaces of the bride and groom Father's and mother's country of birth (for both bride and groom) Bride's occupation Former spouses living or dead Divorce: If applicant is divorced, when and where divorce or divorces were granted. If a person was being married for the second time, the divorce decree for the first marriage, birth certificate, and baptismal certificate may be included with the license for the second marriage. --NOTE: Divorce records are sealed in the State of New York for 100 years. However, if an applicant submitted a divorce decree as part of the application to marry, that decree is considered a matter of public record and is not subject to the usual restriction.-- Request all three parts of the record. A complete City Clerk marriage record has three parts. (1) Affidavit for License to Marry, filed prior to the wedding; the information was provided to the City Clerk by the prospective bride and groom and signed by them. (2) Marriage License, filled out by the City Clerk, permitting the marriage to take place. (3) Certificate and Record of Marriage (also called Marriage Certificate; different from the Department of Health certificate), submitted after the wedding by the clergyman or magistrate who officiated. Records more than fifty years old can be ordered from the City Clerk in person or by mail. A copy of the application/affidavit will be made only if you specifically request it. It is possible that the City Clerk will request an additional fee for copying the affidavit. The marriage indexes for Manhattan and Brooklyn prior to 1910 can be difficult to use, because each month and borough is indexed separately! If you know only the year of a marriage, you might have to search 24 indexes (2 boroughs x 12 months)! The index lists the GROOM'S name, DATE of marriage, and CERTIFICATE number. Beginning in 1910, Manhattan and Brooklyn marriage indexes are arranged in a strict alphabetical sequence. ONE index per borough per year. The other 3 boroughs are also arranged this way, beginning in 1898. For each borough, there is also a set of "Bride's Index Cards". These handwritten 3x5 cards are arranged alphabetically by the bride's name, one sequence for each year. Each card contains 10 entries, 1 per line. Each entry contains: bride's name, date of marriage and certificate number. Let's begin...CLICK on a borough below ALL BOROUGH MANHATTAN (New York County) BRONX County BROOKLYN QUEENS County STATEN ISLAND (Richmond County) RETURN to VITALS MAIN RETURN to MARRIAGE Main RETURN to BROOKLYN MAIN