New York State Vital Records Milestones
Webpage by Cliff Lamere Mar 2005
The following was part of the forward or introduction to:
"Local Registrar Procedures Manual
A guidebook of everyday office procedures for the local registrar of vital statistics"
New York State Department of Health, Vital Records Section
This manual was for registrars outside of New York City, although when these changes occurred similar changes may have gone into effect in New York City as well.
Approval to post this on my website was received 18 Mar 2005 from James O'Connor, New York State Department of Health, Vital Records Section.
New York State Vital Records Milestones
begin pg. v
1847 New York State Legislature required school district clerks to report to the town clerk or city alderman the number of births, deaths and marriages in the district during the preceding year. Birth reports included the names of the parents, and the sex, race and name of each child born alive.
Town clerk or city alderman required to send an abstract to the county clerk or health inspector. County clerk or health inspector required to send abstract to the Secretary of State.
1853 New York City health inspector required to submit monthly reports of births, deaths and marriages to the Secretary of State.
1866 Metropolitan Board of Health established by the Legislature and authorized to receive reports of birth and death for New York City.
1870 City of Albany Charter revised to require the recording of births, deaths and marriages with the City Registry Bureau.
1875 City of Yonkers sets up local system of birth, death and marriage registration.
1878 City of Buffalo sets up local system of birth, death and marriage registration.
1880 State Board of Health and Vital Statistics Bureau established and given general supervision of vital statistics registration outside of Albany, Buffalo, New York City and Yonkers.
Births, deaths and marriages required to be reported within 3 days of their occurrence with the city, town or village clerk.
1882 State Board of Health authorized to require local boards of health to supervise local vital statistics registration.
1885 Certified copies of vital records on file with the State Board of Health and local offices valid as prima facie evidence in all New York State Courts.
1888 Penalties for violating the vital statistics law established.
1893 Procedure for filing of original certificates by local offices with the State Vital Statistics Bureau standardized.
Birth certificates signed by the physician or midwife required to be filed within 30 days of the birth.
begin pg. vi
1901 State Department of Health established.
1904 Name cards with the child's name were to be filed with the registrar, if the original birth certificate did not include it.
1908 Filing requirement reduced to 10 days from the date of birth.
1909 Filing requirement reduced to 36 hours.
1911 Transmittal of the original birth certificate to the State Bureau of Vital Records required on or before the fifth day of the month after the birth certificate was filed.
1913 First reference to the office of local registrar.
Filing of birth certificate required within five days of the birth.
State Health Commissioner authorized to subdivide or combine two or more primary registration districts.
State Health Commissioner authorized to charge fees for certified copies of birth and death records and for searches of files or records.
Stillbirth registration required.
Birth certificates made legal evidence for personal identification.
1914 Cities of Albany, Buffalo and Yonkers made part of the statewide vital statistics reporting system.
1917 State hospitals and prisons made separate registration districts.
1919 Position of deputy registrar established.
1924 Registrars required to submit weekly vital statistics reports to the district health officer.
1932 Local registrars required to transmit certificates to the County Health Commissioner.
County Health Commissioner required to transmit monthly the certificates to the Division of Vital Statistics.
1936 Birth certificate prohibited from making reference to the legitimacy of the child.
begin pg. vii
Original birth certificate sealed and replaced by an amended birth certificate whenever the parents of an illegitimate child subsequently marry; the child was adopted; or the child's parentage was determined by a court.
Amended birth certificates available at the Department of Health only.
Sealed birth certificates available by court order only.
1938 Birth certificate required to contain a statement that the mother received a blood test for syphilis.
1954 Funeral directors, undertakers and embalmers prohibited from holding the office of local registrar.
1955 Consolidation of primary registration districts into a whole-county or part-county registration system supervised by the county health department was authorized by the county board of supervisors with the approval of the Health Commissioner.
1967 Consolidation of primary registration districts into a whole-county or part-county registration system supervised by the county department of health was authorized with the approval of the legislative body of the county.
Certificates required to be filed with the Department of Health at such times as the Commissioner directs. Transmittal required on the fifth of each month.
1968 State Health Commissioner authorized to charge fee for uncertified copies or abstracts in addition to the search fee for authorized records purposes.
1971 Social Security Numbers of the mother and father required on the birth certificate.
1972 Copy of amended birth certificate sent to local registrar whenever the original birth certificate is amended. Prior to this only notice of the amendment and directive to seal the original birth certificate was sent to the local registrar.
1973 Vital records storage by photographic or magnetic means authorized.
1977 Vital Records Review, a quarterly newsletter featuring informative and instructional articles about registration procedures and current events, was first published. The newsletter was discontinued in 1989.
1978 Vital Records Registration Handbook, a handbook providing detailed instructions on how to complete birth, death and fetal death certificates, was published. It was revised and republished in 1988.
begin pg. viii
1979 Commissioner of Health issues rules for access to vital records for genealogy purposes.
1981 Law clarified to specify that an uncertified copy or abstract is provided for authorized genealogical purposes.
1982 Consolidation of two or more primary registration districts into a combined district required approval of the legislative body of the county.
1983 Adoption Registry established to provide non-identifying information to adult adoptees and to enable reunions for voluntarily registered adoptees and their corresponding birth parents.
1987 Fetal deaths registered directly with the Department of Health. Local registrars receive a report of fetal death form that must be destroyed within 30 days.
1988 Registration of physicians, midwives and funeral directors repealed.
Access to death certificate copies clearly defined.
1991 Local registrars no longer required to provide Boards of Election with the names of voter age decedents. Task transferred to the Department of Health.
Acknowledgment of Paternity form established. New form
allows parents of a child born out-of-wedlock to legally acknowledge paternity administratively and to
enter the putative
father's name on the birth certificate.
1997 Acknowledgment of Paternity form only form that may be used to enter the putative father's name on the birth certificate.
Local registrars authorized to include counties comprising New York City when giving verbal permission to remove the body of a deceased person to a non-adjacent county.
1998 Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) using Internet-type filing by local registrars, funeral directors, physicians, coroners and medical examiners under development.
1999 Local Registrar Procedures Manual published.
EDRS development continues.
Statewide Perinatal Data System integrating the Internet-type Electronic Birth Registration System under development.
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