Certificates of incorporation for business firms dating back to 1811 (enactment of the first general incorporation law in New York) are filed at the New York State Department of State. Duplicate copies of certificates of incorporation are filed in the office of the county clerk in the county where the business firm has its principal office.
You are here
The State Archives has created a naturalization pathfinder to help researchers determine where to locate records of New Yorkers' naturalizations from 1664 to the modern day. Naturalization records are created pursuant to the U.S. Constitution and federal law. If a naturalization proceeding occurred in a state court in New York, the resulting records are in custody of the county clerk's office in the county where the proceeding occurred.
No, the New York State Archives holds only historical records of New York State government. The New York State Library holds a very large collection of directories for cities in New York State. For more information about that collection, go to the State Library's website; phone (518) 474-5355; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New York State Archives holds numerous records relating to inmates of New York State correctional facilities (prisons and reformatories). For information about prison records in the Archives, consult the Guide to Records of the Department of Correctional Services in the New York State Archives or search the Archives' online catalog. The prison records in the Archives are far from complete, and few of the records are indexed.
Divorce records dating since July 1, 1847, 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.)
The New York State Archives is the official repository of New York State Government records having permanent legal and historical value. It has custody of legislative, judicial and executive agency records. Our webpage, research assistance, provides information on our hours, phone, email, locations, and parking.
Adoption records maintained by the Family Court or the Surrogate's Court are permanently sealed pursuant to the Domestic Relations Law Section 114. The records may be disclosed only by a judge's order "on good cause and on due notice to the adoptive parents and to such additional persons as the court may direct."
The State Archives has created a probate pathfinder to help researchers determine where to locate New Yorkers' probate records, which include wills, estate inventories, and letters of administration relating to deceased persons' estates. In addition, the State Archives publication on probate records provides a concise explanation of the records in the State Archives which pre-date 1787, their location and how to access them.
Every year the State Archives receives dozens of requests, such as the one above, for "the file" on someone. The good news is that the State of New York does not keep "files" on all of its citizens; thus there are none in the Archives. Searchers can try many "person finders" on the internet such as Switchboard or WhoWhere. Also a private investigator, licensed by the Department of State, can be hired.