Has New York centralized divorce records, or must I go to the county courts to get that information? Some states like Florida and California provide an index to divorce records to the public, but New York State apparently is not one of them. I'll provide some links to the information I have found so far, but this is one of the scenarios where it might be best to consult a professional with experience in that area. The article says:. Since , the supreme court has recorded divorce proceedings.
Each county has a supreme court, roughly equivalent to a district court in other states. Some counties may share supreme court justices. Many people before found it easier to obtain a divorce out of state.
Access to supreme court divorce records less than years old is prohibited without judicial permission. You must obtain a court order to see a file. The actual trial records are sealed. First, there is the divorce decree. This is the document prepared by the court, setting forth the terms and conditions of the divorce. It is signed by the judge and filed with the County Clerk of the County where the decree was issued. This is usually the County where the plaintiff resided. For information about obtaining a copy of a divorce decree, contact the appropriate County Clerk.
Please note that if the divorce was granted before January 1, , the divorce decree is the only type of document available. Second, there is a divorce certificate filed with the New York State Department of Health for divorces granted on or after January 1, The divorce certificate contains basic information about the spouses, and the date and place the marriage ended.
For information about obtaining a divorce certificate copy from the New York State Department of Health, please continue. Divorce records dating since July 1, , are filed in the office of the county clerk where the divorce proceeding occurred. All records of matrimonial actions, including divorce, separation, and annulment, are available only to the parties or their attorneys until one hundred years after the date of the final court decree.
If you go directly to Duchess County, the website has the following page for people who want access to court records for Genealogy Purposes :. Due to limited staffing, this office cannot do genealogy searches as a courtesy. If we do the work on a business basis, we must charge the fees set by law, which often makes the cost prohibitive.
This office is aware of the following people in Dutchess County who specialize in Genealogy. They also have access to records of offices other than those available to us. Their names and addresses are listed below. Underneath this opening text are links to the local historical and genealogical societies, and contact information for some experts in the area. The most luck I've had so far is with newspaper research.
Many small-town newspapers printed names of couples whose cases were on the court calendar, or whose divorces had become final. It's also worthwhile to consider that people sometimes filed for divorce in other localities than the place where they lived, if the rules about getting divorces were more lax than in their own state.
Once you have a notice from a newspaper article that says a case was on the calendar, you could try to find the court calendars themselves. The Family History Library has some records of the county courts. The County Court records will be listed under that topic. Most county and district court records are at local courthouses. Surrogate's court records are kept in separate offices. These records are now being microfilmed by the archives.
For recent court records, contact the clerk of the specific court of interest. This type of court record exists in most states after , but the FHL collection for New York State catalogs it separately. The Family History Library has microfilmed only a small portion of the available New York court records. The library has some records of courts of common pleas, courts of general sessions, county courts, courts of oyer and terminer, chancery court, supreme court, lis pendens, divisions of estates, and surrogate's court probates and guardianships.
In addition to state and county courts, there are several federal circuit courts and United States district courts that have jurisdictions within New York. These include:. To determine the correct district court for the area where your ancestor lived, call the District Court office in one of the counties of that region. A helpful reference book which has detailed information is:.
Sourcebook of Federal Courts, U. District and Bankruptcy. Records at the National Archives— Northeast Region include:. Court of Appeals known as U. Circuit Courts of Appeals from — records are at the National Archives—Northeast Region but are not available on microfilm.
Kronman, Barbara. Includes chapters on city government, courts, libraries, and personal information. Shows how to obtain vital records, name change records, and naturalizations. Family History Library. To request editing rights on the Wiki, click here. From FamilySearch Wiki. New York Wiki Topics. United States. Court Records. New York.
Criminal jurisdiction over felonies was exercised by the courts of oyer and terminer and courts of general sessions sitting in each county. Criminal jurisdiction over misdemeanors was exercised by courts of special sessions held by justices of the peace in towns and police justices in cities and villages. The pre trial court system was distinguished by overlapping jurisdictions and confusing organization.
Records of the higher trial courts were maintained on two levels--for the county-level courts by the county clerks, and for the Supreme Court and Court of Chancery by clerks of those courts. Surviving pre records of the county-level trial courts continue to be maintained by the county clerks. The Court of Chancery was abolished and its equity and statutory jurisdiction was transferred to the reorganized Supreme Court.
Using our free case information services you can find future appearance dates for cases in Criminal and Family Courts. You may also view information on both. Overview. The Unified Court System provides electronic access via the Internet to a wide range of court information in the areas of judicial.
Records of the county-level trial courts, i. The major exception is in New York City, where the county clerks maintain only the civil records of the Supreme Court, while the criminal records of that court are maintained by the court clerks. Probate jurisdiction has been vested in a separate system of courts since the early British colonial period.
Until the Governor or county "surrogates" performed probate functions and supervised decedent estates. Since the Surrogate's Court in each county has performed those functions, though between and a Court of Probates had jurisdiction over wills and estates of New York residents dying out of state, and of non-New York residents who had property in New York.
Appellate courts and juvenile courts are separate subjects, and equally complicated. As my essay on "courts, state" in the Encyclopedia of New York State says, "despite several major reorganizations over the past two centuries, New York's system of multilevel, special-purpose, and locally and regionally organized courts is the most complex of any state. Types of Crimes [ edit edit source ] There are two types of crimes for which a court record has value for the genealogist: genealogically relevant genealogically significant Genealogically relevant crimes are those relating to acts impacting family relationships and events.
Courts of Genealogical Value Timeline [ edit edit source ] Major New York courts that have kept records of genealogical value include the following: Colonial Period — Director General and Council of New Netherland was the highest court and governing body in New Netherland. There are three published volumes for — Van Laer, Arnold J. Register of the Provincial Secretary; Council Minutes. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, Each volume is indexed. The records for — have been lost.
Remaining records give genealogical information about many early immigrants. The index is in volume 7.