My lineage society says I need vital records from NY. Do I need a court order?

I’ve heard this come up as a point of confusion often recently…

New York State has restrictions on the access to vital records. (NY City has its own records system.) A lineage society requires that vital records be provided for the applicant, their parents, and their grandparents. The parents are deceased. The applicant is told that they need a court order to get records.

It’s not true. The State of New York has a policy that allows for time period waivers of genealogical copies of vital records for direct descendants. The application has to be made by the direct descendant. (If you’re hiring a professional genealogist, they cannot do it for you.) The applicant has to document the decease of the subject(s) of the birth or marriage record (for marriage, both spouses), and their relationship to that subject or subjects. In many cases, this means submitting copies of the grandparents’ death records, a parent’s record naming their parents, and an applicant’s record naming their parents.

If there is any confusion, refer the clerk’s office to the page referenced above.

Published by Bryna O'Sullivan

Proprietor of Charter Oak Genealogy, Bryna O'Sullivan specializes in assisting clients with lineage society applications and with French to English genealogical translations.

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