The New York State Death Index, 1880-1956 is available for free, online, at Internet Archive.
If you want to see one specific year of the Death Index, you can use the left column menu option to “Search this Collection” and type a specific year OR type the URL for the specific year into the URL window in this format:
https://archive.org/details/New_York_State_Death_Index_1880 (change the last four digits of the sample URL to the year you want to see).
This is one of the collections obtained by Reclaim the Records, a non-profit group that identifies important genealogical collections at government archives and libraries which should be in the public domain but have been restricted. Reclaim the Records fights to have these records made public and the New York State Death Index, 1880-1956 is one example of records they’ve been able to reclaim as free, public content. Donations are accepted to assist Reclaim the Records in their pursuit of free records access.
What Records Are Missing from this New York State Death Index?
- The years 1880 and 1881 had poor compliance, so the records are incomplete
- The year 1943 is hard to read and no better copy has been found
- New York City deaths are not generally included in this New York State Index because they were in different vital records jurisdictions, but some parts of Queens and Brooklyn are included if they were in unincorporated parts of those Boroughs
- Yonkers, Buffalo, and Albany, NY were not included in the statewide death index until 1914 or 1915
What Can I Learn from these New York Death Records?
These New York death records may include:
- First Name of the Deceased (and Middle Initial if there is one)
- Last Name/Surname of the Deceased
- City where person died
- Date of Death
- Death Certificate Number (if you need to order a copy of the death certificate)