Discover Your NYC Ancestors with This New Historical Records Database

The Historical Vital Records Project gives free, online access to birth, death, and marriage records from NYC's history.

Ever want to know what your New York City ancestors were up to in the 1800s? The city government is making that information more accessible than ever. 

New York City just launched an online database of over 9.3 million historical records of births, deaths, and marriages across the five boroughs. The project, dubbed the Historical Vital Records Project, gives access to genealogical data that can be searched by area, type of record, and even first and last name. While the digitization process isn't complete yet, it is already past 70%, and once finished it will flaunt a collection of 13.3 million online records.

The ambitious project gives New Yorkers the ability to discover their heritage through a new, digital lens. As part of an initiative led by the Department of Records and Information Services, the project aims at making NYC's collection of vital records—one of the nation's largest—more accessible. The digitization originally started in 2013. Thanks to the latest efforts, it now offers a look inside vital records between 1855 and 1949, which can be perused and downloaded in high-quality images for free.

Mayor Eric Adams commented on the project with enthusiasm. "These historical records will not only serve as an essential resource for family historians across the country and around the world but will allow everyday New Yorkers to learn more about their personal history and explore their roots," he said in a statement. "My administration is committed to expanding access to city resources and providing New Yorkers with the information they need."

To access the database and read more tips on how to accurately search the collection, you can visit the Historical Vital Records website.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.