How To Find A Date Of Death In NYC Prior To 1935/SSDI? #usa #records

Martin Kaminer

Hello All -

My father is nearly 90 and has just worked out that his mother had an older sister who may have perished, with her child, in a back-alley abortion, probably between 1930 and 1935. Tragically for all, but not atypically, her existence was kept secret after her death. I found her easily in the 1930 census right there in The Bronx with my grandmother and their parents. Finding the date or even the year of her death is proving more difficult.  My Dad was born in 1934 and believes this to have happened around the time of his birth, though he's not certain. I submitted a request to the NYC Dep't of Records to search all boroughs for the years 1930-1935 but as I don't have much info to give them I'd like to continue to explore on my own. I'm finding nothing in SSDI (which starts in 1935) nor in the New York, U.S., Death Index, 1852-1956.  I don't know much about the latter database but am perplexed as to why she wouldn't appear there.
My ultimate aim is to order a death certificate to shed a little light on this sad tale.  Any information I can find about the time and place of her death will aid in that.  I welcome your suggestions.
Martin Kaminer


Another place to look is cemetery burial records. Even if the family were keeping her death a secret, they would likely have buried her in one of the New York area Jewish cemeteries. In my family I have a great aunt who died in childbirth in 1919 and was buried in Old Montefiore in Queens. The record in the cemetery database indicates she was buried with her stillborn infant. JGSNY has a database of landsmanshaften cemetery plots within NY cemeteries, so if you think she might have been buried in a plot corresponding to the family’s shtetl you can see which cemetery to check. 

Susan Slusky
Highland Park, NJ

Aukstoji Panemune, Lithuania
Borisov & Smolyevichi, Belarus
Janow Lubelski & Frampol, Poland
Skala Podolskaya & Berezhanka, Ukraine

Fred Kolbrener

Have you searched on  Most of the death certificates from NYC are indexed AND partly extracted on family search.  You can get a free account on it.  If you are successful in finding the record of her death, you can download a copy of the record  once the LDS Family History Centers are again open to the public.  With regard to your father whose name you did not list, there were two or more Kaminer male births in NYC according to Familysearch.  

Another place to search is via which is available at many public libraries.  Ancestry will allow access free at libraries until the end of 2021.  However, you can’t download a copy of the death certificate there.  

You did not provide the name of the person whose data you are seeking, but since it was a sister to your mother, the name probably was not Kaminer.  You implied that this may have been an event that occurred outside of marriage, so you would be searching for someone with your mother’s maiden name.

Suggest you start your searches via Ancestry and  The latter you can do from your home computer.

Good luck.
Fred Kolbrener
Woodbridge, VA

Researching: KOLBRENER (LezaJsk); SCHWARTZ (Glogow Malapolski); ZINDEBAND (Minsk); LIFSHITZ (St Petersburg); JABELOW (Minsk); BOHRER (Lezajsk); POLLACK (Minsk); BLUMSTEIN/BLUMSZTEJN (Goworowo); FRETER/FRATER (Czyzewo)



Two suggestions which are free to search:
If you locate the record in the FamilySearch database, you can view a digital image of the certificate for no charge at any Family History Center.

David Passman
Dallas, Texas

Sarah L Meyer in the NYC vital records section - you can use Italiangen or Familysearch and other sites as part of his one step pages.  That said, I went looking on both of these via for a marriage that I had found before as part of a presentation and it did not show up.  You might also check Reclaim the records (you will have to search for the link.
Sarah L Meyer
Georgetown TX
BIRGARDOVSKY, EDELBERG, HITE (CHAIT), PERCHIK Russia (southern Ukraine) and some Latvia or Lithuania

Martin Kaminer

I'd like to express my gratitude to all the wonderful people on JewishGen for their kindness and generosity in sharing their knowledge. Renee in particular, whose powers are absolutely oracular, as well as everyone else.  You've helped shed light on a mystery that has hung over my family, particularly my father's generation, for nearly a century and caused many to suffer. The answers you provided have raised new questions but there is a welcome feeling of unburdening as some long-held myths fall away. Y'all did a major mitzvah. Thanks so much to all of you and Shabbat Shalom.
Martin Kaminer

Barbara Hemmendinger

It would be helpful to know the place of death.  Perhaps in a neighboring state, in which case NYC death records would be nonexistent?

Barbara (Elk) Hemmendinger 
Williamsport, PA

BAHSSIN, BASIN, BASSIN, Starodub, Russia
LOWENSOHN, LOWENBERG, Jelgava (Mitau), Bauska, and Riga, Latvia
EHRLICH, Kobrin, Belarus
ZIBULSKY, SHEFKOWITZ, Pereyaslav, Ukraine 

The Becker's Email

Check out as they battle both NY state and NY city for release of records.  See if they have records from this time period.

Johanna Becker
Newport, RI