How I found my grandfather on the NYC groom index #general

marlene finkelstein

I strongly recommend that those who have been unable to locate a known or
suspected marriage on the NYC groom or bride online databases should try
using the wildcard option for each letter in the surname.
I had a major advantage when I did my search for my gf's marriage license on
the Italian genealogy website a few years ago. I had my grandparent's
license in front of me thanks to my Mom having obtained the record decades
earlier when my gf passed away and it was needed for settling his estate. I
was just testing the groom database for accuracy.
My grandfather was married under the surname Stein and so it said on the New
York Affidavit for License to Marry that I had. Searching with 'exact
spelling' and 'sounds like' options for his surname did not result in
locating the correct certificate. What did work was using the wild card
option for the 4th letter of his name. Turns out that STERN was written on
the marriage license, not STEIN. (I simply had not noticed it since it was
handwritten. My eye saw what my brain already thought it knew. I have since
sharpened my research skills.) And so the listing on the groom database was
STERN as well.
I never pursued how my Mom was able to obtain the marriage certificate in
the 1950's given the fact that it had the incorrect surname on it. Perhaps
by knowing the exact date of the marriage the record clerks were able to go
through index cards to pull the record.

Marlene Finkelstein

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