NYC marriage records #usa #records


My grandfather was married four times, but only two of those marriages were recorded in civil records. It's not entirely clear if the second one was a marriage at all, though I recall her being called his wife and I called her grandma.  I know he had a religious marriage ceremony with his third wife, but not a civil record, apparently because that allowed them to keep her housing assistance in NYC.  I don't know the marriage laws in NY at the time, but in some states, all that was necessary to be considered married by common law was to be free to marry and to say to others that the couple is married.  
Barbara Sloan
Conway, SC


Thanks! I've used but didn't realize it had marriage records.


One can't always rely on the NYC marriage OR birth records being complete in Ancestry as the NYC vital records aren't always complete.. 
The records after the marriage were supposed to be returned to the NYC records authorities, but that did not always happen. I know of very early Brooklyn marriages that are not in NYC files as the church wedding was never reported to the vital records offices.  I also have an uncle whose first marriage is not recorded and then in 1939 and 1942, he may never have actually gotten married after getting licenses. is often a good bet for finding elusive data..  I prefer to use rather than Italian.  The German and Italian groups collaborated in creating the databases they use, but they are only as good as the records that went it (discounting for spelling errors).  In the past two years, Italiangenealogygroup changed (updated) their front end user interface.  While some of the new changes are good, like searching a name in ALL their databases at once, the ability to sort the records by clicking the column headers in the returned lists was lost; so I prefer the genrmangenealogygroup site.

Marriage license questionnaires are maintained by the NYC Archives and usually are three pages of data, but require someone to search for them.  However, if they married in NJ, that will not result in finding a record, either.   

I did not find a marriage for Frank Zimmer in nor in the NJ Ancestry marraige records..  I did locate the probable marraige of a daughter of Sarah and Frank, Lillian Kaplan, in April 1928 to Murray Dravich. 

Good luck with your search. 

Sherri Bobish


If Frank Kaplan was divorced than they may have married outside of NY, perhaps NJ.

My husband's grandfather was divorced in NYC in 1913.  The divorce papers specified that his ex-wife could re-marry, but he could not.  Two weeks after the divorce he got married in Paterson, NJ.

An index to NYC (or maybe just Manhattan??) divorces is at:

31 Chambers Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10007

Division of Old Records

This room is only open two days per week.  The index can be searched, but the divorce records are sealed for 100 years.


Sherri Bobish
Princeton, NJ

Sally Bruckheimer

"My question is: How complete are Ancestry's marriage records? Is it possible that marriage records are lost or misplaced?"

If you don't trust Ancestry, try or Both are free and search lots of NYC records. is another possibility, and if you find something, you will get a lot more info.

Sally Bruckheimer
Princeton, NJ


I've been searching Ancestry for the record of my late grandmother's second marriage. I found the record of her first marriage easily. But there is nothing under her name (Sarah Zimmer) (maiden name Thomashefsky) or her second husband (Frank Kaplan). I believe he was divorced, although I can't find that record either. They got together in the early 1920s. My question is: How complete are Ancestry's marriage records? Is it possible that marriage records are lost or misplaced? In the alternative -- and this seems unlikely to me -- how common was it for immigrants to simply live together in that period of time? She is a dearly beloved lady, but I have to ask the question. She was a widow with a small child, and Frank had three children. 
Sherry Robinson, Albuquerque