Jan 102012

I have a genealogical copy of my grandfather's birth certificate. For some reason, I was able to get that a while back but I need a court order to obtain a certified copy (see below). He was born over 100 years ago. He died over 40 years ago. But I still need a court order.

So I'm going to try to compile together the information I get on obtaining and putting together that court order. I'm just getting start started.

I first emailed a help desk at the NY State Supreme Court of Erie County. The person at the City Clerk's Office in Buffalo said that it would need to be a State Supreme Court order. From the court web site, it seems that they are the only court that can order the government to take some action. This is what the help desk said:

"In order to obtain a court order you must prepare a Petition, which outlines you were are, what the relationship is to the person whose birth record you want, along with the purpose for the record. You may want to attach any documents you may have supporting your reasons for your request for a Supreme Court Order. Since you want to do this without the assistance of an attorney, you also must prepare a proposed Order for the Judge to sign if your application is approved. This office does not have any pre-printed forms for such a matter. Once you have prepared your petition & proposed order, they need to be submitted to the Chief Clerk's Office of Supreme Court in the county where your grandfather was born. If in Erie County, the address is 25 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo. NY 14202."

I think from various things I found on the web, I can put together both a Petition and a proposed Order. What I am uncertain about is how to file a RJI (request for judicial intervention) and how to obtain an index number and whether I will need to do anything to issue a summons to the clerk of Buffalo, as suggested on various blog sites.

Update 11 Jan 2012

New response from the help desk:

"As previously stated, the Petition, any supporting documentation and proposed order need to be submitted to the Chief Clerk's Office of Supreme Court in the county where your grandfather was born. If in Erie County, the address is 25 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo. NY 14202. Erie County does not require an index number nor an RJI unless you want the original documents to be on file with the Erie County Clerk. The petitioner can by-pass the County Clerk altogether and go straight to the Special Term Judge and take the order directly to Vital Records once the order has been signed. Regarding serving the Vital Records Office, I suggest you include a cover letter asking the judge if it is required to serve them."

Based on this, and I followed up with more questions, it sounds like I can send a cover letter, a copy of the Petition, and a copy of the Proposed Order to the Special Term Judge, which now for Erie County appears to be Judge D'Amico. He may require that I "serve" the Vital Records Office or not. Who knows, maybe I would not even need to appear before him. Fingers crossed.

Update 11 Jan 2012

Another response today:

"Your petition would go the Supreme Court Civil Special Term Judge not the County Special Term Judge. Your petition should be sent to the Chief Clerk's Office at 25 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo. NY 14202 because the application must first be logged in so that Supreme Court has a record of receiving the application and for tracking purposes. Paperwork should be sent directly to a judge only after the case has been assigned to that judge."

Update 12 Jan 2012

Response today:

"You should send your petition, proposed order and supporting exhibits to the Chief Clerk's Office. I would also suggest a cover letter, listing your complete mailing address, phone number and email address(optional) if the court needs to get in touch with you. I would also suggest including a self-addressed stamped envelope so that the order, petition, and exhibits can be returned to you once the order has been signed by the judge."

a genealogical copy of my grandfather's birth certificate from the City of Buffalo

  5 Responses to “Initiating a court order in New York to obtain a copy of my grandfather’s birth certificate”

  1. HELLO! I am in this exact perdicament with Buffalo NY, this is a hopeful request but once you complete the petition and proposed order would you post a sample of it? I have done many searches and have been unable to figure out how to complete this for this purpose and am struggling with the lingo. ANY aditional help is SOO apprreciated.


    • Just realize this was in 2012, could you update your success and possibly how you completed it? ๐Ÿ˜€
      I’m currently not a fan of NY laws, too difficult

  2. Hello! Just wanted to say thank you for this post. I am currently in the process of getting a court order for the 8 certified copies of birth, death, and marriage certificates. Your posting has been very helpful and helped me to save some time! I know that this was a while ago but do you remember if you had to request an index number and an RJI (request for judicial intervention) for every certified copy you requested or just one to cover all of the requests?

    Again… Thanks for posting such a throughout outline of your process! It has been very helpful for me!

    Christy Palma

  3. Hello All,

    I need to obtain my father’s birth certificate- must be certified with raised seal. His birth certificate is sealed as he died decades ago. I understand a court needs to subpoena the record to be released. How do I facilitate the process?

    I am securing documents to apply for dual citizenship. I’m surprised obtaining dad’s birth certificate is an obstacle.

    Many thanks,

  4. Sorry I did not see a sample of a petition to the NYSC requesting copies of parents birth , death and marriage certificates

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>