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DRL 19 – Domestic Relations Law 19

DRL 19

DRL 19
Domestic Relations Law 19

1. Each town and city clerk hereby empowered to issue marriage licenses shall keep a book supplied by the state department of health in which such clerk shall record and index such information as is required therein, which book shall be kept and preserved as a part of the public records of his office.  Whenever an application is made for a search of such records the city or town clerk, excepting the city clerk of the city of New York, may make such search and furnish a certificate of the result to the applicant upon the payment of a fee of five dollars for a search of one year and a further fee of one dollar for the second year for which such search is requested and fifty cents for each additional year thereafter, which fees shall be paid in advance of such search.  Whenever an application is made for a search of such records in the city of New York, the city clerk of the city of New York may make such search and furnish a certificate of the result to the applicant upon the payment of a fee of five dollars for a search of one year and a further fee of one dollar for the second year for which search is requested and fifty cents each additional year thereafter.  Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, no fee shall be charged for any search or certificate when required by the veterans administration or by the division of veterans’ affairs of the state of New York to be used in determining the eligibility of any person to participate in the benefits made available by the veterans administration or by the state of New York.  All such affidavits, statements and consents, immediately upon the taking or receiving of the same by the town or city clerk, shall be recorded and indexed as provided herein and shall be public records and open to public inspection whenever the same may be necessary or required for judicial or other proper purposes.  At such times as the commissioner shall direct, the said town or city clerk, excepting the city clerk of the city of New York, shall file in the office of the state department of health the original of each affidavit, statement, consent, order of a justice or judge authorizing immediate solemnization of marriage, license and certificate, filed with or made before such clerk during the preceding month.  Such clerk shall not be required to file any of said documents with the state department of health until the license is returned with the certificate showing that the marriage to which they refer has been actually performed.
The county clerks of the counties comprising the city of New York shall cause all original applications and original licenses with the marriage solemnization statements thereon heretofore filed with each, and all papers and records and binders relating to such original documents pertaining to marriage licenses issued by said city clerk, in their custody and possession to be removed, transferred, and delivered to the borough offices of the city clerk in each of said counties.
2. (a) In lieu of the requirement of maintaining a book supplied by the state department of health pursuant to subdivision one hereof, each town or city clerk may cause all information as is required by law or rule or regulation of the department to be kept in such books to be photocopied, photographed, microphotographed or reproduced on film which shall be kept and preserved as part of the public records of his office together with an index thereto.  Such photographic film shall be of durable material and the device used to reproduce such records on such film shall be one which accurately reproduces the original record in all details.
(b) Such photocopy or photographic film shall be deemed to be an original record for all purposes, including introduction in evidence in all courts or administrative agencies.  A transcript, exemplification or certified copy thereof shall, for all purposes, be deemed to be a transcript, exemplification or certified copy of the original.
Matter of Hepps v. N.Y. State Dep’t of Health, 2020 NY Slip Op 02517, ¶ 1, 183 A.D.3d 283, 286-87, 122 N.Y.S.3d 446, 449-50 (App. Div. 3rd Dept.)
Town and city clerks empowered to issue marriage licenses are required to keep a book in which they record prescribed information pertaining to marriages, which is kept as part of the “public records” (Domestic Relations Law § 19 [1]).
Further, the statements submitted to the clerks as part of the marriage license process must also be recorded; those documents are “public records” that are “open to public inspection” subject to an important caveat—there must first be a showing that such disclosure is “necessary or required for judicial or other proper purposes” (Domestic Relations Law § 19 [1]; see § 15 [1] [a]).
The town and city clerks are required to file with respondent the original “affidavit, statement, consent, [court] order . . . , license and certificate” (Domestic Relations Law § 19 [1]) and, upon receipt by respondent of such records, the originals “shall be kept on file and properly indexed by [respondent]” (Domestic Relations Law § 20).
Petitioners’ FOIL requests indicate their intent to upload the foregoing personal marital information on the Internet and that they anticipate that the records will be converted into a text-searchable database and made available for free to the public for genealogical and historical research.

DRL 19-A
Domestic Relations Law 19-A

The master, chief officer, ship’s surgeon, or the company, corporation, charterer, or person having the management and control of any vessel which shall arrive at the port of New York, shall report, in writing, to the city clerk of the city of New York within three days after the arrival of such vessel the marriage of any resident of such city occurring thereon at sea, and shall file with such clerk a transcript of the entry made in the log book of such vessel in respect to any such marriage.

1. Entities Responsible for Reporting: The passage specifies that certain individuals and entities associated with a vessel are responsible for reporting marriages that take place at sea. These entities include the master (captain) of the vessel, the chief officer, the ship’s surgeon (doctor), or the company, corporation, charterer, or person responsible for the management and control of the vessel.
2. Reporting Deadline: These responsible parties are required to report the occurrence of a marriage that involves a resident of the city of New York within three days after the vessel’s arrival at the port of New York. In other words, if a marriage involving a New York City resident occurs on the vessel while it is at sea, the reporting must be done within three days of the vessel’s arrival in the city.
3. Written Report: The report must be made in writing and submitted to the city clerk of the city of New York. This ensures that there is an official record of the marriage, and the city clerk’s office is the designated authority for receiving and recording such reports.
4. Transcript of Log Book Entry: In addition to the written report, the responsible party is also required to file a transcript of the entry made in the vessel’s log book regarding the marriage. The log book typically contains records of various events and activities on the ship, and in this case, it would include details about the marriage ceremony.
The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that marriages occurring at sea, which involve residents of New York City, are officially recorded and reported to the relevant local authority. This helps maintain accurate records of marriages and ensures that they are legally recognized, even if they take place outside the city on board a vessel.

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