The NYC Marriage Index

Welcome to the first searchable database of the 3,124,595 marriage licenses filed in New York City between 1950-1995. It's free, public, open data.

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Download the raw data for offline use

This data set was obtained from the New York City Clerk's Office through a New York State Freedom of Information lawsuit in mid-2016. The data is in the public domain, no strings attached.

Read more about the data (and its flaws) before trying to use it.

Search Results

Currently displaying just the top 250 results (more results and pagination coming soon)

Bride or Spouse #1 Groom or Spouse #2 License Data
First Name Middle Name Surname First Name Middle Name Surname Borough Year License # Status

Currently displaying just the top 250 results. More results and pagination coming soon.

All about NYC marriage records

New York City marriage records that are more than fifty years old are considered to be public documents, and all basic marriage index files are open to the public without any year restrictions. Here's how to find them.

Marriage Licenses, 1908-1929

This is a three-page (occasionally four-page) document set originally issued by the New York City Clerk's Office. The files were later moved to the New York City Municipal Archives.

A-Z INDEX TO LICENSES: IMAGES ONLINE at the Internet Archive*
ON MICROFILM at the NYC Municipal Archives
ON MICROFILM at the New York State Library in Albany
A-Z INDEX TO LICENSES: DATABASE SEARCHABLE at MyHeritage.com
SEARCHABLE at Ancestry.com
ORIGINAL LICENSES ON MICROFILM at the NYC Municipal Archives
MAIL ORDER at the NYC Municipal Archives

* This data was released to the public through a successful Freedom of Information request and lawsuit filed by Reclaim The Records, settled with the NYC Municipal Archives in September 2015. Read all about it!

Marriage Licenses, 1930-1995

This is a three-page (occasionally four-page) document set originally issued by the New York City Clerk's Office. Newer files are still stored there, but some older files have been moved to the New York City Municipal Archives.

A-Z INDEX TO LICENSES: IMAGES ONLINE at the Internet Archive, for 1930-1972** (images do not exist after 1972)
ON MICROFILM at the NYC Municipal Archives through 1949
A-Z INDEX TO LICENSES: DATABASE ONLINE at this website!
DOWNLOADABLE at the Internet Archive in XLS, CSV, and SQL formats
(The two columns of data containing the spouses' dates of birth were redacted for privacy.)
SEARCHABLE at MyHeritage.com
SEARCHABLE at the German Genealogy Group
SEARCHABLE at FamilySearch
SEARCHABLE at Steve Morse's website
SEARCHABLE at Ancestry.com
ORIGINAL LICENSES ON MICROFILM at the NYC Municipal Archives (only through 1949)
MAIL ORDER at the NYC Municipal Archives (only through 1949)
ONSITE ACCESS at the City Clerk's Office (after 1949)
MAIL ORDER through the City Clerk's Office (after 1949)

** This data was released to the public through a successful Freedom of Information request and lawsuit filed by Reclaim The Records, settled with the New York City Clerk's Office in mid-2016. Read all about it!

Marriage Licenses, 1996-2016

This is a "born digital" database originally created by the New York City Clerk's Office. There is no separate index.

A-Z INDEX TO LICENSES: IMAGES None.
A-Z INDEX TO LICENSES: DATABASE 1996-2016 coming soon!***
(This "index" would be a subset of columns exported from the full original city database.)
ORIGINAL LICENSES ONSITE ACCESS at the City Clerk's Office
MAIL ORDER through the City Clerk's Office

*** This data is the subject of an ongoing Freedom of Information request filed by Reclaim The Records in September 2017.

Marriage Certificates, late 19th century - 1937

This is a two-page document set originally issued by the New York City Health Department. The files were later moved to the New York City Municipal Archives. Note that a marriage certificate is not the same thing as a marriage license!

A-Z INDEX TO CERTIFICATES: IMAGES ON MICROFILM at FamilySearch Family History Centers
ON MICROFILM at the NYC Municipal Archives
A-Z INDEX TO CERTIFICATES: DATABASE ONLINE at the Italian Genealogy Group's website
ONLINE at the German Genealogy Group's website
ONLINE at Steve Morse's website
ONLINE at Ancestry.com
ORIGINAL CERTIFICATES SEARCHABLE TRANSCRIPTIONS (but not images) at FamilySearch.org
IMAGES at FamilySearch.org, but only if you're sitting in a Family History Center
ON MICROFILM at FamilySearch Family History Centers
ON MICROFILM at the NYC Municipal Archives
MAIL ORDER at the NYC Municipal Archives

Domestic Partnerships, 1988-2016

The NYC Department of Personnel began a partnership registry for city employees in August 1988, and the City Clerk's Office began a formal registry for the general public in January 1993. (More details.) The program was not discontinued even after the statewide legalization of same-sex marriage in June 2011.

A-Z INDEX: DATABASE coming soon!***
ORIGINAL FILES ONSITE ACCESS at the City Clerk's Office
MAIL ORDER through the City Clerk's Office
Note: Same-sex marriages registered in New York City after June 2011 will be included with the marriage licenses, not with this data set.

*** subject of a new Freedom of Information records request by Reclaim The Records in early 2018.

About this data

This data set is messy. There are many known problems, both with the format and the contents. Here's what you should know.

Format problems

  • Rather than providing a raw database dump in CSV format, the New York City Clerk's Office originally provided the files on a USB drive in six .XLS (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet) files, one file per borough except for Manhattan which was broken up into two files. Each spreadsheet file had multiple sheets of data within it, and each sheet had a maximum of 65,000 entries on it.
  • The spreadsheets' cells and columns were in text format even in cases where it was inappropriate, such as the column for license sequence (license ID numbers) which were a series of integers.
  • The spreadsheets lacked a primary or unique key or auto-incrementing field. The license sequence number alone could not be used, as it was only unique within each year and possibly within each borough, and we could not be sure there were any internal database constraints to ensure it was actually a unique field.
  • The spreadsheets' data clearly had some cells where there was extra space(s) before and/or after the text of the cell. In other words, the cells had not been "trimmed". While the spaces were not always visible, this could represent a problem if someone were importing the files directly into a SQL database or trying to a search on a name.
  • According to one row in the Brooklyn spreadsheet, Brooklyn marriage license numbers 9601 through 10000 for the year 1971 are apparently "void".
  • NEW: So far, we have discovered that there are at least 28,000 to 30,000 missing records for Manhattan for 1967! Those records do exist at the City Clerk's Office but for some reason they are not listed in this database. We'll probably discover other small batches of missing records as we continue to have people use this database.
  • We turned the six original .XLS spreadsheets into five very large and basically-cleaned-up .CSV files, one for each borough, all ready for people to use in applications, data analysis, or their own research. We concatenated all the separate sheets back into single columns, trimmed the excess spaces from cells, formatted the license field as numbers instead of text, turned all instances where the middle name columns literally said "NULL" into actual NULL's, and did other basic cosmetic fixes, but we did not attempt to change any of the actual name data, not even in cases where the names were clearly recorded with typos or other content problems.

Content problems

The index files created by the New York City Clerk's Office clearly had some problems with the quality of their data:

  • There are several obvious misspellings of common given names, like "Rchard" for "Richard", etc. There are also many names with obviously transposed letters.
  • There is no consistency about how surnames with suffixes (like "Jr") are handled. The suffixes were unfortunately included in the surname column directly, not in their own column. Sometimes there will be a space before the suffix, sometimes a comma and a space, sometimes just a comma. In at least one case where someone is a so-and-so, the third, the City Clerk's Office records them as "so-and-so 111" rather than III.
  • Some surnames, compound surnames, and hyphenated surnames have inconsistent spacing and punctuation in them. For example, people whose surname was "McMann" or other names starting with "Mc" may have had their names listed in the database as "Mc Mann" (with a space after the "Mc"), which would make finding these records more difficult.
  • Most middle names were either not recorded at all, or were recorded as part of the given name. They were not recorded in their own dedicated database column until approximately the early 1970's. For example, someone named "Louise Karen Jones" who married in the 1960's would have had her given name recorded as either "Louise" or "Louise Karen" and her middle name recorded as NULL in this database. (Actually, the original files literally used the word NULL instead of a real NULL, most of the time.)
  • There was a column called LICENSE_CITY in the files that is sometimes NULL but sometimes says NYC. No, we don't know why, because all five of these boroughs are obviously in NYC.
  • There's another unexplained column in those files called LICENSE_TYPE_ID, which 99% of the time has the value "1". Your guess is as good as ours what this meant.
  • Finally, there are a few records where the whole row is garbled in the database, full of numbers or other non-alphabet characters.

Frequently Asked Questions

This data is open to the public? Really?

Yes, in most states, a basic marriage license "log" or marriage license index is considered to be public information, even if the actual certificates or licenses may have strict privacy rules under the state's vital records laws. In New York, this was upheld in a New York State Freedom of Information case from 1993, formally Gannett Co., Inc. v. City Clerk’s Office, City of Rochester, 596 NYS 2d 968, affirmed unanimously, 197 AD 2d 919 (1993). That ruling does require that any data deemed to be too personally intrusive, such as the street addresses of the license applicants, must be removed before making the data public.

How did this data get online? Who built this website?

This data was provided to the not-for-profit activist group Reclaim The Records by the New York City Clerk's Office. Reclaim The Records had requested a copy of the data in December 2015 through the New York State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). The City Clerk's Office refused to comply with their request and a lawsuit was initiated in March 2016. The City Clerk's Office settled the case in September 2016, providing the data, and reimbursing Reclaim the Records' attorneys fees. You can read the whole story, along with copies of the actual court filings, here.

Who built the original database?

The New York City Clerk's Office built this database for their own in-house use. Their version of the database also includes two columns for the spouses' dates of birth, which were removed for privacy reasons before handing the data over as part of the legal settlement.

I would like all of my data (or someone else's data) removed from this website and/or the original files. This is an invasion of privacy.

Legally it isn't, and we will not assist you in censoring public documents.

This data set only covers 1950-1995. What about people married in other years?

No database exists (yet) for pre-1950 licenses, but the original handwritten ledgers were microfilmed. The 1908-1929 index microfilms were recently digitized and put online for free public use; they were won in a 2015 Freedom of Information lawsuit. And the 1930-1972 index microfilms were won in a separate 2016 Freedom of Information lawsuit, and were uploaded to the Internet Archive in early 2017.

There is also a totally separate record database that indexes the NYC Health Department marriage certificates up through 1937, which was created by the combined volunteer efforts of two non-profit genealogical groups. Note that marriage certificates and marriage licenses are not the same thing. Read more about the many different kinds of New York City marriage records.

Can I use the raw data files for [a school project / a for-profit website / personal research / something else]?

Sure! This data is in the public domain. Have a ball. But please let us know how you're using it, so we can link to your website or project, and show off all the cool stuff people have done with this open data.

I can't find certain people in this database, but I know they were married in New York City between 1950 and 1995!

This database only holds records of licenses filed in New York City. If the people you're looking for were living somewhere else nearby, such as Westchester county or Nassau county, they may have applied for the license there, but signed the papers at the wedding ceremony held in New York City.

Additionally, the contents of this data, as provided by the City Clerk's office, have some...problems. This may make it difficult to find people who "should" be in there. Read more about the known problems with the data.

I found certain people in this database, but I know they were not married in New York City between 1950 and 1995!

A tiny number of people in this database may have applied for and received a license from the City -- sometimes even more than once! -- but then for some reason not gone through with the actual ceremony. Again, this is a database of licenses. Whether the couple actually said "I Do" is not recorded here.

The year listed for certain people's license is wrong; the database lists the year before they were married?

Licenses were valid for several weeks. It is possible that some people could have applied for a license in December of one year, but married in January of the next year. The license year would match the application, not the ceremony.

What about the data from all the other parts of New York, outside of New York City?

New York is very unusual in that the City and the State are two totally separate vital records jurisdictions. Reclaim the Records made a new New York FOIL request in September 2017 for the New York State marriage index, 1880-2016. That data will also be released to the public, since it too should be in the public domain. Make sure you sign up for our free e-mail mailing list to follow our progress on that, and our other records requests.

I still can't find a person in this database, and I really think that they should be in there. What now?

When in doubt, you should talk to the City Clerk's Office directly. Their copy of this database also includes information about the bride's and groom's dates of birth, while this one does not, and perhaps they can do a look-up on those fields for you to help you track down a stubbornly missing record.

Also note that the original handwritten ledger indices for the 1930-1972 licenses, which were previously only available on microfilm, have now been digitally scanned and were put online in early 2017. In the event that you can't find someone in this text database, you may wish to look through those original index images instead. Those index images are not text-searchable, but they're sorted by borough and by year, and then are arranged by quarter of the year, and then are listed alphabetically by surname, so they're not too difficult to use.

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