I wrote this blog post on November 29th but waited to make it public until after an official announcement was made that the records were available. Instead another group broke the news before an official announcement was made.
Reclaim the Records has done it again. The organization has obtained copies of the Buffalo, NY death indexes. At first Buffalo maintained there own death records and did NOT send vital records to the State Department of Vital Records in Albany until Jan. 1, 1914. Even more amazing is that Buffalo started keeping death records in 1852. Other sources that I have seen say that their death records started in 1878.
These records only include the City of Buffalo and not the rest of Erie County. There are a lot of families from the Rochester area that also ended up in Buffalo.
The earliest indexes have the decadent’s name, year of death and volume and page number of the record (see below). Starting in 1892 the index also gives the parent’s names and a place of death (address). Those kinds of extra data stopped after 1902 and the indexes go back to just names, year, volume number and record number.
Reclaim the Records has uploaded the indexes to the Internet Archives. This is a link to the collection. Then these are links to individual index books:
- Death Index; 1852 – 1884
- Death Index; 1885 – 1891
- Death Index; 1892 – 1894
- Death Index; 1895 – 1896 – missing first few pages.
- Death Index; 1897 – 1902
- Death Index; 1903 – 1908
- Death Index; 1909 – 1914
- Death Index; 1915 – 1919
- Death Index; 1920 – 1924
- Death Index; 1925 – 1928
- Death Index; 1929 – 1932
- Death Index; 1933 – 1936
- Death Index; 1937 – 1941
- Death Index; 1942 – 1944
When you view one of web pages you should click on one of the two icons that has arrows pointing to four corners. That will have you enter “full page” mode. That way you can zoom in and out of the image.
For death records before 1914 you should write directly to: Vital Records, 1302 City Hall, 65 Niagara Square, Buffalo NY 14202. The fee is only $10 but they only accept a money order (payable to the City Clerk). They also want a copy of a government ID and a self-address stamped envelope. For records beginning Jan. 1, 1914 you could order from the same address but I suspect that they will send you a transcript; not a copy of the original. If you know for sure, please reply. For sure, if you order a death certificate from Albany, they will send a copy of the original for $22.