Monday, April 15, 2024

Finding FREE NYC Documents during WikiTree Connect-a-Thon

The April WikiTree ConnectAThon added nearly 89,000 new profiles to the worldwide WikiTree. I was part of Team L'Chaim and mostly added ancestors and ancestors-in-law from my Jewish roots. Along the way, I discovered new documents and worked my way backward to older generations as well as horizontally to siblings and spouses of distant cousins whose lives I'd never researched. 

FREE New York City Vital Records

A huge help: finding FREE vital records from the late 1800s through early 1900s on the New York City Digital Vital Records site. This site has birth, marriage, and death records scanned in color from the originals. No sending away, no paying, no waiting. Immediately view and download if that cert is available. Not all are, yet.

Above, shown on the site, an ancestor marriage license from October 7, 1923 that gave me parents' names to extend my tree further back, and witnesses for my FAN club (friends/associates/neighbors). A pdf is downloadable...and/or users can print. Such valuable info on an original document signed personally by the ancestors I'm researching. Gold mine! You can read more about this excellent and free site here.

I started by obtaining the marriage cert number (not license number) on Ancestry, although it can be obtained by using the database search functions on and other sites. The cert number, borough, and year are needed to get results.

Vital records reveal new facts and relatives

On the NYC Digital Vital Records site, I clicked "Search beta" and selected marriage cert, input the cert number, selected the city borough, and input the year. 

Not all of my searches resulted in finding certs, but about 75% did. I can redo my research later in the year to see whether additional certs become available. Did I mention this is a free search and free download?! 


  1. I am absolutely in love with this resource. It has been a tremendous help for me in finding and verifying my New York ancestors. I solved a long long mystery about an aunt and where and when she get married. Thanks for highlighting it this collection.

  2. Wow - thanks for the info. I will have to check out this site. I'd also never heard of the ConnectAThon. Sounds like a very productive endeavor!

  3. Thanks for the info! I will have to check out that site. I'd also never heard of the ConnectAThon. Sounds like a valuable endeavor!

  4. I'm another person in love with this site! I have been able to find so many certificates for my family research. Thanks for bringing it to more people's attention.

  5. Great site! I used it a couple of years ago for a client case. I see they have added more, yay! :)

  6. I don't have NYC ancestors that I know of, but if I run across any, I'll have to try this tool!

  7. Thanks for this. I need to spend more time on WikiTree to explore the resources.