Posts Tagged ‘new york state’

New York, State Health Department, Genealogical Research Death Index Starting to Come Online

Early this morning I logged onto to look at something on the 1855 NYS Census, when I noticed that there were now 33 collections, instead of the normal 32, in the New York State collection of actual scans of microfilmed records and data bases.

Glancing down through the list I discovered the newest title, having just become available as of December 19th,
 ”New York, State Health Department, Genealogical Research Death Index, 1957-1963″ -  Yippee!  It has started!

We have been hearing rumors that the NYS Health Department, Vital Records, Death Index was expected to be made available online in the future.  I have written about this in a previous blog post  and you will see three major articles that I have written about the NYS Vital Records at the top right hand side of my blog here at

1963 is the current 50 year limit that we must wait to look at the death record index.  So perhaps this is precursor to wonderful things to come.  Perhaps the 1957 to 1963 chunk is just a trial at LDS or just the first release of all of the remaining death record index listings back to about 1880.  Let’s hope so anyway.

After quickly looking for some immediate ancestors or family members that might have died during this short period of time, I could not find any, so I did a search on my surname HILLENBRAND and came up with one that I knew a little bit about. having worked on this line for some many years.  This is not my immediate family but is a second group that also lived in Syracuse and Onondaga County.

Here is a sample of what you can expect to find:

William L Hillenbrand, “New York, State Health Department, Genealogical Research Death Index, 1957-1963″
Name:     William L Hillenbrand
Event Type:     Death
Event Date:     28 Oct 1962
Event Place:     Syracuse, Onondaga, New York
Gender:     Male
Age:     85
Birth Year (Estimated):     1877
Death Year:     1962
File Number:     75441


NYS Death Index Sample


Note that you will find a date and place of death, age and an estimated year of birth.  More importantly you will find the all important “File Number”.  This is what you will need when you apply for a copy of the actual death certificate from the Dept. of Health in Albany.  If you apply to a local jurisdiction, city or town clerk’s office, the File Number might not be of any help because I am told that it was assigned in Albany, but it will speed things up for you at state level.

As stated previously the NYS Vital Records Division of the NYS Health Department started a collection of official notifications of Births, Deaths and Marriages commencing in 1880.  As also reported, many of these are lacking in the early years for what ever reason, but generally speaking from about World War I onward there is a good chance that you will find a record on your Upstate New York Genealogy research in this huge microfiche collection.

You may look at the full collection on microfiche at several libraries and locations throughout the state.  See previous posts for a listing.  The above referenced digital collection is the very first time that I know of that any part of this massive VR Index has been put online and I give major kudos to all parties involved that made this happen.

Here is how you can search this online collection.
Go to click on: [Search].
Scroll down to the bottome of the screen and click on: [United States]
Scroll down on the left to: [New York].
Then scroll down to third up from the bottom,
New York, State Health Department, Genealogical Research Death Index, 1957-1963

Note that this is a compiled data base taken from the microfiche and not copies of the actual fiche.

This fabulous news comes on the same day that sad news comes from my friend, F. Richard Barr who  just forwarded a blog post written by The Legal Genealogist, about the Closing of the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) until three years after the person’s demise.  This act was passed by Congress in the current Budget Bill and is expected to be signed into law by President O’Bama.  You can bet that there are people attempting to have this law extended to ALL of the SSDI at some time in the future.  Stay vigilant fellow genealogists.  We can not allow this to happen!

Enjoy the new online Vital Records Death Index.
Dick Hillenbrand
Upstate New York Genealogy

Part of 1855 New York State Census Online By Mistake

The new Family Search website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is quite likely the most valuable free tool for genealogists anywhere in the world.

Recently while exploring some of the “1865″ New York State Census that are available as screenshots of the microfilmed pages, though not indexed yet, may be viewed on your web browser of choice and you may go page by page in a location that your family lived in.

I have been filling in many pieces of data in various family groups that I had previously recorded all of the federal census for and some of the other NY state census. So when I get time it is always a pleasure to go on to their website and start looking at various communities in the 1865 census.


One set of ancestors that had resided early in South Hannibal, Oswego County, NY and then at Lysander, Onondaga County were Hopkins and Phebe (GARDNER) HULET. I have gathered a lot of info on this family but realized I did not have 1865 data for them.

So going to and scrolling down near the bottom of the white section of their homepage, just above the green area, click on the text for “United States”. This will bring up a listing by states and a simple search box. So when you put in “1865 New York” it will immediately show you things that they have available online as scans of rolls of film. In this case you will see the following choices:
New York, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865
New York, Eastern District Naturalization Petitions, 1865-1957
New York, State Census, 1865

Well the first two categories are a wondrous marvel in themselves, but at this time I chose the last one for the 1865 state census.

Now click on the link for “Browse through 57,158 images”, and you will see the list of counties of which films are available for.
Select “Oswego” County.

Now over the past few weeks I have been looking in Hannibal, Enumeration Districts 01 and 02, with no success in finding my ancestors Hopkins and Phebe. Then realizing that Hopkins died in 1869 and his wife Phebe died at her son, Herman’s home in Fulton, NY in 1875, I decided to take a look at the Town of Volney which is where part of the village of Fulton was located at that time. I knew that Herman had lived on the east side of the river, and he had at one time been the Sheriff of Oswego County.

So as I was scrolling through each double page of the census films it suddenly dawned on me that this layout did not look like the 1865 census pages that I had recently been viewing, so in looking at the header title of the screen shots, it showed that this film was actually the wrong film. It is the “1855″ census pages, not the 1865.


This is not exactly a bad thing, as none of the 1855 pages have been published yet on Family Search, but they no doubt would want to know about the error. So I sent Family Search an email about the wrong film showing and I am sure that at some time in the future they will put up the proper 1865 version.

So if you have any interest in people in the Village of Fulton for 1855, you better hurry and get what you can get as it is now. Chances are 1855 is not due to be published until some time in the future.

We are all so lucky to have these resources at our keyboards and fingertips and I can only encourage LDS to keep up the fabulous program of publishing such useful information as the actual scans of the census pages such as these. Thank you LDS.

You may search this UNYG blog site for other articles about the New York State Census.

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