Part 35 - Vital Records

Effective Date: 
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Doc Status: 
Complete
Statutory Authority: 
Public Health Law, Sections 413-b-c, 4173, 4174

Section 35.1 - Searches and certifications without fees

Section 35.1 Searches and certifications without fees. The New York State Department of Health shall make searches and issue certifications and certified copies of birth, death, and marriage records without charge to:

(a) local or State organizations of war veterans in connection with claims for soldiers' burial fees, markers for soldiers' graves, and securing relief for veterans or their families;

(b) applicants for enlistment in the U.S. armed services or the merchant marine:

(c) persons of any age filing applications with the State employment bureau;

(d) persons residing in Canada applying to Canadian authorities for public relief or veterans' claims, providing the province of Canada in which applicant resides furnishes similar information gratis to persons residing in the United States;

(e) children under the age of 16--limited to certifications of birth;

(f) persons who were either adopted or whose paternity was established by law, limited to a certification of birth or certificate of birth registration made out in the name by which the person is designated in the adoption or filiation papers at the time a new birth certificate is prepared pursuant to section 4138 of the Public Health Law;

(g) State or municipal departments for official purposes.
 

Doc Status: 
Complete

Section 35.2 - Birth records; confidential information

35.2 Birth records; confidential information.

(a) A certified copy or a certified transcript of a birth certificate shall be issued only:

(1) upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction;

(2) upon specific request by the person, if 18 years of age or more, or by a parent or other lawful representative of the person to whom the record of birth relates; or

(3) upon specific request therefor to the Commissioner of Health of the State of New York by municipal, state or federal agencies when needed for official purposes.

(b) A certification of birth shall be issued when required for a proper purpose. A proper purpose shall not exist when the record is requested for commercial or profit-making purposes or to satisfy idle curiosity.

(c) The confidential information for medical and health use only furnished with a certificate of live birth shall not be copied and shall be detached except as herein provided. Data thereon, as determined by the State Commissioner of Health, shall be recorded on appropriate storage media for scientific research only. Following such recording the portion containing such confidential information shall be detached from the original certificate by the State Commissioner of Health or other person authorized by him who shall then destroy such portion. No copy of a certificate issued pursuant to sections 4173 and 4174 of the Public Health Law shall contain such information.

(d) The request for a certified copy of a birth certificate, a certified transcript of a birth certificate or a certification of birth shall include such documentation required by the State Health Commissioner to establish the stated need.
 

Effective Date: 
Wednesday, April 5, 1989
Doc Status: 
Complete

Section 35.3 - Fetal death; confidential information

35.3 Fetal death; confidential information.

(a) The information contained on a fetal death certificate shall be disclosed by the State Commissioner of Health only to the mother,her lawful representative, and to authorized personnel of the Department.

(b) The confidential information for medical and health use only furnished with a fetal death certificate shall not be copied and shall not be detached except as herein provided. Data thereon, as determined by the State Commissioner of Health shall be recorded on appropriate storage media for scientific, medical and health research only. Following such recording, the portion containing such confidential information shall be detached from the original certificate by the State Commissioner of Health or other person authorized by him who shall then destroy such portion. No copy of a certificate issued pursuant to sections 4173 and 4174 of the Public Health Law shall contain such information.
 

Effective Date: 
Wednesday, April 5, 1989
Doc Status: 
Complete

Section 35.4 - Death records; disclosure

35.4 Death records; disclosure.

(a) No certified copy or certified transcript of a death certificate shall be subject to disclosure under article six of the Public Officers Law.

(b) A certified copy of a death certificate or a certified transcript of a death certificate shall be issued only:

(1) pursuant to the order of a court of competent jurisdiction on a showing of necessity, or

(2) upon specific request of the spouse, sibling, children, or parents of the deceased or the lawful representative of such persons, or

(3) when a documented need to establish a legal right or claim has been demonstrated, or

(4) when a documented medical need has been demonstrated, or

(5) upon specific request by municipal, state or federal agencies for statistical or official purposes, or

(6) when needed for medical or scientific research approved by the State Health Commissioner, and

(7) when needed for statistical or epidemiological purposes approved by the State Health Commissioner.

(c) Commencing on January 1, 1988 all death certificate forms shall contain a confidential section which shall list the cause and circumstances of the death. When a certified copy of a death certificate or a certified transcript of death certificate is issued, the confidential section shall be detached and no information from that section shall be disclosed in any other form or manner, except:

(1) pursuant to the order of a court of competent jurisdiction on a showing of necessity, or

(2) upon specific request for such information by the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased or the lawful representative of such persons, or

(3) when a documented medical need for such information has been demonstrated, or

(4) when a documented need for such information for the purpose of establishing a legal right or claim has been demonstrated, or

(5) upon specific request for such information by municipal, state or federal agencies for statistical or official purposes, or

(6) when such information is needed for medical or scientific research approved by the State Health Commissioner,

(7) when such information is needed for statistical or epidemiological purposes approved by the State Health Commissioner.

(d) A certification of death containing only the name, the date of death and the place of death of the person to whom it relates shall be issued when required for a proper purpose. A proper purpose shall not exist when the record is requested for commercial or profit-making purposes or to satisfy idle curiosity.

(e) The request for a certified copy of a death certificate, a certified transcript of a death certificate or a certification of death shall include such documentation required by the State Health Commissioner to establish the stated need.
 

Effective Date: 
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Doc Status: 
Complete

Section 35.5 - Genealogical research; method of disclosure; searches

35.5 Genealogical research; method of disclosure; searches.

(a) Information from records of birth, death and marriage may be provided for genealogical research purposes, subject to the restrictions of this Part, in the form of an uncertified copy or abstract upon written application and payment of the applicable statutory fees, which are contained in Public Health Law, sections 4173 and 4174 and Domestic Relations Law, sections 19 and 20-a. If a search discloses no record, the applicant shall be required to pay the specified fee for the time spent for the search for the record and for a certification that the search disclosed no record. Information will not be released if it is to be used for commercial or profitmaking purposes.

(b) Records searches shall be conducted only by the following persons in the files maintained by their respective agencies:

(1) authorized employees of the Department of Health;

(2) a local registrar, deputy registrar, or an authorized employee of the registrar; and

(3) a town or city clerk, deputy clerk, or an authorized employee of the town of city clerk.

(c) Information may be released subject to the following limitations:

(1) no information shall be released from a record of birth which has been placed in a confidential file pursuant to Public Health Law, section 4138;

(2) no information shall be released from a record of birth unless the record has been on file for at least 75 years and the person to whom the record relates is known to the applicant to be deceased;

(3) no information shall be released from a record of death unless the record has been on file for at least 50 years; and

(4) no information shall be released from a record of marriage unless the record has been on file for at least 50 years and the parties to the marriage are known to the applicants to be deceased.

(d) The time periods specified in paragraphs (2), (3) and (4) of subdivision (c) of this section are waived if the applicant is a descendant or has been designated to act on behalf of a descendant of the person whose record is being requested. A descendant is a person in the direct line of descent such as a son, daughter, grandson or granddaughter. The applicant shall provide documentation of descendancy prior to the release of information in those instances where a waiver of the waiting period is requested. A party acting on behalf of a descendant shall further provide documentation that the descendant authorized the party to make such application.

(e) All uncertified copies, abstracts or information issued for genealogical research purposes shall be clearly marked with the statement "for genealogical purposes only."
 

Doc Status: 
Complete

Section 35.6 - Adoption Information Registry

35.6 Adoption information registry.

(a) All registrations, records and information of the Adoption Information Registry, as established pursuant to section 4138-c of the Public Health Law, shall be filed and stored within the department with the Adoption Information Registry. Such filing and storage areas shall be clearly set off and physically separate from other areas and, except to the extent necessary for the proper function of the registry, access thereto shall be restricted to employees designated by the commissioner.

(b) The records and information of the Adoption Information Registry, except to the extent necessary for the proper function of the registry, shall not be transported or removed from the designated area within the Department of Health assigned for the operation of the Adoption Information Registry.

(c) Where an adoptee registrant registers directly with the department and requests the department to have nonidentifying information released either by the department or the authorized agency involved in the adoption, such agency shall be entitled to a service fee not exceeding $50 to be paid by the adoptee registrant directly to such agency for the review, compilation and forwarding of the nonidentifying information. The authorized agency, upon receipt of such request from the department and fee from the adoptee registrant, shall provide the nonidentifying information to either the department or the adoptee registrant as directed by the department.

(d) An authorized agency which maintains a mutual-consent voluntary adoption registry shall be entitled to a registration/a service fee for the registration, and a registration/a service fee for the services related to the processing of requests for information, according to the following schedule:

(1) Where an adoptee, a biological sibling of an adoptee or biological parent is registered directly with an agency, the agency shall be entitled to a registration fee not exceeding $20.

(2) Where the agency which was involved in the adoption provides nonidentifying information to an adoptee or the biological sibling of the adoptee, the agency shall be entitled to a service fee not exceeding $50, in addition to the registration fee.

(e) The verified registration by an adoptee, the adoptive parents of an adoptee under the age of 18 for the purpose of receiving medical information updates, the biological sibling of an adoptee or the biological parents of an adoptee whose consent to the adoption was required at the time of the adoption, or whose signature was required on an instrument of surrender to an authorized agency, as specified in sections 4138-c and 4138-d of the Public Health Law, shall be in the form that shall be prescribed by the commissioner.

(f) The recording and forwarding of the nonidentifying information to the Adoption Information Registry, as specified in section 4138-c of the Public Health Law, shall be in the form that shall be prescribed by the commissioner.

(g) Any person who discloses any information in the adoption registry unlawfully shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor pursuant to section 4138-c(7)(b) of the Public Health Law.

(h) Any authorized agency which establishes a mutual-consent voluntary adoption registry shall inform the Department of Health, Adoption Information Registry, by certified mail, of the establishment of such registry on the form prescribed by the commissioner.

(i) Any authorized agency which maintains a mutual-consent voluntary adoption registry, upon registering a person and making a determination that the agency was involved in such adoption, shall promptly forward a copy of the registration form to the Adoption Information Registry of the Department of Health, indicating on the face of the form that such agency was involved in the adoption and shall provide other information as requested by the department. (j) Any authorized agency which maintains a mutual-consent voluntary adoption registry, upon registering a person and making a determination that the agency was not involved in the adoption, shall promptly forward a copy of the registration form to the Adoption Information Registry of the Department of Health, indicating on the face of the form that such agency was not involved in the adoption and shall provide other information as requested by the department.

(k) Any authorized agency which has not established a mutual-consent voluntary adoption registry, upon receipt of a request to register with such agency, shall refer such person to the Adoption Information Registry of the Department of Health.

(l) An authorized agency is an agency as defined by New York Social Services Law, sections 371(10)(a) and 371(10)(b).
 

Effective Date: 
Wednesday, July 12, 2000
Doc Status: 
Complete

Section 35.7 Reserved

Section 35.8 - Birth and Death Certification; Form and Content

35.8 Birth and death certification; form and content.
(a) The signature of those persons executing, authenticating or filing such certificates may be constructed digitally for Certificates of Birth and Death prepared in the electronic format provided by the commissioner.
(b) A digital signature means the creation by the computer of an electronic identifier which the commissioner determines is:
(1) unique to the signer;
(2) capable of verification;
(3) under the signer's control; and
(4) linked to data in such a manner that if the data is changed, the signature is invalidated.

Effective Date: 
Wednesday, April 8, 1998
Doc Status: 
Complete

Section 35.9 Reserved

Section 35.10 Reserved

Section 35.11 Reserved

Section 35.12 Reserved

Section 35.13 Reserved

Section 35.14 Reserved

Section 35.15 - Wallet-size certification of birth; fee

35.15 Wallet-size certification of birth; fee. Each applicant for a wallet-size certification of birth shall remit to the commissioner with such application a fee of fifteen dollars in payment for the search of the files and records and the furnishing of the wallet-size certification if such record is found or for a certification that a search discloses no record of a birth.

Effective Date: 
Wednesday, January 24, 1990
Doc Status: 
Complete