Filling in the blanks – NYC Vital Records Index online

Every once in a while I devote a little research time to filling in the blanks in my family tree database. Today I decided to look for some missing names and dates that might be in the online New York City vital records collection, which includes all five boroughs and some additional records from Suffolk and Nassau Counties.  Two NYC based organizations have been busy transcribing and indexing these records. Amazingly all of the work has been done by volunteers and through donations.  These groups are the Italian Genealogical Group and the German Genealogical Society.  You can find every city vital record for an extensive time period. One caution, not every birth, marriage, or death in NYC was reported to the City. This is especially true for immigrants who might have thought it was enough to go through the church. Many children were not named until they were baptized so you would still need to search by date and parents names, which you cannot do online. Regardless, this is a huge thing to be able to search through almost every NYC vital record for genealogical information.  In addition to vital records these websites offer free searches for naturalization indexes for the region and various church and cemetery records of interest to each group.

Today I decided to concentrate on the Heal family who lived on Staten Island (Richmond County) and in Brooklyn (Kings County) and see if I’m missing any marriage information.  I could have limited my search to these two boroughs but the way folks move around NYC I extended my search through out the city. This selection indicates the borough the marriage took place. If the list were too long then I would go back and search by borough or add a first name.

Source: Italian Genealogical Group
Source: Italian Genealogical Group


In the grooms index I see that Chester B. Heal’s wedding is indexed. Checking my database I realize that although I did have the date of his marriage and his wife’s first name I did not have her family name. Clicking on “link to Brides” I found out her name was Elizabeth Violet Morrow! I add that information to my database and cite the source.

It’s always a good idea to note your sources for two basic reasons. 1) if you (or someone else) want to go back to look at it again and 2) it provides credibility to your published research.  Here’s a link to a Quick Reference Sheet I found on on how to cite your genealogy sources that I found very helpful.


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