Index to all New York City marriage records, 1930-2015

Reclaim The Records filed this request with the New York City Clerk's Office of New York City, NY.


From: Reclaim The Records

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the New York State Freedom of Information Law (1977 N.Y. Laws ch. 933), I hereby request a copy of the index to all New York City marriage records held at the New York City Clerk's office, from January 1, 1930 through December 31, 2015 inclusive.

This information is available to the public under FOIL under the following case:
Gannett Co., Inc. v. City Clerk's Office, City of Rochester, 596 NYS 2d 968, affirmed unanimously, 197 AD 2d 919 (1993). See also the New York State Committee on Open Government (COOG)'s published Advisory Opinions on "Marriage Records" and "Matrimonial Records", some of which are available online on their public website:

I request that the content of this marriage index be provided in full, except for any pieces of data that were explicitly declared by the 1993 Gannett case and by subsequent published Advisory Opinions from COOG to be infringing on the applicant couple's privacy. For example, certain pieces of data such as the applicant couple's names are clearly a matter of public record, while other pieces of data such as their exact street addresses may clearly be withheld for privacy.

But some pieces of data commonly contained in a marriage index, such as the applicant couple's ages or dates of birth or places of birth, were never explicitly ruled by New York State courts to be either permitted or denied. COOG has written that these pieces of data may potentially be available to a FOIL requestor if they can show a "proper purpose" for the release of the information. I request that these "extra" pieces of information be retained in the index, as they are crucial for researchers and genealogists who wish to use this marriage index to disambiguate amongst people with the same common names and thereby locate their own family members. An index to eighty-five years of marriage records for a city like New York will likely contain millions of couples' names; being able to separate out all the John Smith's by year of birth and/or country of birth and/or age at marriage would be crucial to researchers and genealogists hoping to use these records to search for individual relatives or to follow broader demographic trends in the data.

I have reason to believe that the City Clerk's office has copies of this index available in microfilm format for earlier years, possibly 1938-1950, and in computer database format for most later years, possibly post-1950. It is also possible that some years may have multiple formats available; for those years, I would prefer to receive the database format, unless the database is missing any information contained in the microfilm format.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

Please inform me of any potential charges in advance of fulfilling my request. Please be advised that any microfilm copies made will also require shipping fees to California.

Please also be advised that this FOIL request is being filed publicly through the website, and all correspondence about this request will be immediately published to the general public.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.


Brooke Schreier Ganz
Founder, Reclaim The Records