When did they get married?
December 1, 2010 7:42 AM   Subscribe

How do I find a record of the marriage of two now-deceased people? Challenge: They were married in New York City

I'm trying to find the marriage certificate or even just the date of the marriage of two people (I know their names) who are now deceased. I know their marriage took place sometime in the early 1970s, I'm just trying to find the exact date. The problem is, it took place in New York... which evidently has strict laws about releasing marriage certificates; the clerk's office wants death certificates for both parties, which I don't have, before it releases the marriage certificate. Any ideas on how to proceed?
posted by MaddyRex to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Where did they die?
posted by SMPA at 7:46 AM on December 1, 2010

They both died in Florida.
posted by MaddyRex at 7:48 AM on December 1, 2010

You would need to get death certificates for these people from the state of Florida. Or perhaps the municipality in Florida in which they passed away.
posted by dfriedman at 7:49 AM on December 1, 2010

Have you tried FamilySearch.org?

If you refine the search for "John Smith" that I linked to above - you should get the required information. (Their database covers 1686 - 1980).
posted by cinemafiend at 7:50 AM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

FamilySearch is likely to be restricted by the same rules that MaddyRex linked to. If the NYC city clerk won't let random people request records less than 50 years old, I doubt they would have let the Mormons microfilm them, either... But I guess it's worth a look.

The good news is if you do need to get copies of the death certificates from Florida, it's cheap ($5 each) and doesn't require that you meet any sort of strict criteria (unless you need cause of death information, which I presume you don't). I have requested a couple of death certificates from Florida within the past year and they both came within 2-3 weeks.
posted by Nothlit at 8:04 AM on December 1, 2010

Nothlit - while your supposition is correct in theory it is not correct in practice.

The Mormons microfilmed a lot of "restricted" vital records from every state - and then years later they began publishing this material on the web. The states were in an uproar over this and have sinced stopped allowing the Mormons to microfilm everything they could get their hands on...

Other than birth certificates - most of the vital records for many states have been made available via the Mormons (with the exception of materials from the past twenty-five years or so). Many states require proof of blood relationship for notarized copies of certificates that can be readliy accessed through the Mormons (sans official notarized seals).

At least this has been my experience.
posted by cinemafiend at 8:30 AM on December 1, 2010

It's pretty tough to get vital information on average people's information that occurred in the past 50 years or so. I was lucky with my grandparents' wedding in that it was in the paper for some reason so a search on the NYTimes archives found it. You might have some luck with people who are doing family tree type stuff [I'm surprised what I've been able to find about more distant relatives via Googling and other people who have done the work] or you might want to check neighborhood newspapers if they had one, to see if there might have been a wedding announcement.

Otherwise it really looks like getting the death certificates is going to be your most painless tack.
posted by jessamyn at 9:19 AM on December 1, 2010

Is there any chance they were married in a church? If you can figure out where it was, there might be records of it. (For example, the Catholic church keeps records of all "life" events. Other denominations might, too.)
posted by cowboy_sally at 10:09 AM on December 1, 2010

Thanks all who responded.

I just got an email from a mefi-te who suggested geni.com and voila! Not the marriage dates, but lots more information than I've been unable to find anywhere else, and plenty of people who knew the wife and are contactable. What a great site! I'd never seen it before.
posted by MaddyRex at 8:33 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

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