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Genealogy Resources: Obituaries & Vital Records

A brief guide on how to get started and resources available to the local researcher.

Obituaries & Death Notices

Death notices and obituaries are slightly different. Most of the time, a death notice is the information the family puts in the local newspaper for a fee. Obituaries are articles written about a person who has died, usually by newspaper staff. Death notices and obituaries are a good place to find information on deceased relatives.

Vital Records

Vital Records (Birth, Marriage, Death)

Official birth, marriage and death records are filed in each state.  Most states charge a fee for looking up these records.  They are confidential by federal law for a certain period ofter they are created:

Deaths: confidential for 50 years

Briths: confidential for 75 years

Marriages: confidential for 50 years


The earliest available records vary from state to state, as there were no Federal guidelines in the 18th and 19th centuries regarding vital records.


Vital Records Information

      Provides information about where to obtain vital records from each state and     county of US with guidelines on how to order.  Also links to foreign info.


New York State Vital Records Index A microfiche name index by year of New York state births (1881-1927), marriages (1881-1952), and deaths (1880-1952).  You can locate date and municipal jurisdiction holding the record.  This index is located in the Retrieval Room in the Bausch & Lomb Building of the Rochester Public Library. Staff are unaable to take telephone requests.  For library hours and parking information, click here.