New York City Marriage Indexes Online

When genealogists think of vital records online, they usually think of GenealogyBank and

screenshot of GenealogyBank's search page for New York City Marriage Records 1730-1969
Source: GenealogyBank – New York City Marriage Records 1730-1969


Genealogists go to GenealogyBank to find original newspaper articles about the engagements and weddings of their ancestors from 1730-1969.

Now the 1908-1937 index to New York City marriages is online at Internet Archive.

Photo: pages from the Brooklyn Marriage Groom and Bride Index, 1911, from Internet Archive
Source: Internet Archive – example pages from the Brooklyn Marriage Groom and Bride Index, 1911.


I have written about the Internet Archive before:

Internet Archive is an important source for digital copies of millions of city directories, county histories and published family histories. Now they are also putting important original records online.

In April 2016 the Internet Archive put the indexes to New York City marriages from 1908-1937.

Per the Internet Archive:

In the early 20th century there were two different sets of marriage records kept in New York City, and they each had their own index.

The better-known NYC marriage records are the two-page Health Department marriage certificates, which run from the late 19th century through 1937. You can view the images of those certificates on microfilm at the NYC Municipal Archives building in lower Manhattan, or you can order copies of specific certificates from the Archives through a form on their website. Images of those certificates are also freely available to the public on FamilySearch microfilms, and a text transcription of the information in those certificates is also freely searchable on the FamilySearch website, although the actual images are not online.

There are two complementary indices to those Health Department certificates, known as the Brides Index and the Grooms Index. These indices were created on index cards in the late 1930’s through the Works Project Administration (WPA). Those index cards of the Brides Index and the Grooms Index were then microfilmed, and you can view the films onsite at the Municipal Archives building in New York, or you can view them on FamilySearch microfilms. In recent years, these indices have been turned into free online searchable databases, transcribed through the hard work of the volunteers in the non-profit Italian Genealogical Group (IGG).

But the information presented here is the index to the other set of marriage records, the ones that are not nearly as well known.

These marriage records were kept by the New York City Clerk’s Office, not the Health Department. And they are not the usual two-page certificates. Instead, they are a three-page document set, consisting of (1) the application of the couple wishing to get married, (2) the affidavit from the couple stating that they are legally allowed to get married, and (3) the marriage license granted to the couple so that they could go get married at a date in the near future. Therefore, the dates of the documents listed in this index were sometimes several days or weeks before the marriage, not always the same date that the wedding took place.

The three-page City Clerk’s Office document set usually has more information contained in it than the two-page Health Department marriage certificate. For a description of the differences in the information read Leslie Corn’s article, “City Clerk’s Marriage Licenses, New York City, 1908–1937: One of 20th Century Genealogy’s Best Primary Sources” from the NYG&B Newsletter (now New York Researcher), Spring 1999.

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