Basement Records: 858-8690
The Erie County Clerk's Office keeps microfilm for certain genealogical records available for viewing in our Basement Record Room located at 92 Franklin Street. These records include Census for dates 1850 to 1925, Births that occurred in the City of Buffalo from September 17, 1881 to December 15, 1913, Marriages from 1878 to April 29, 1935 and Naturalizations that occurred in Superior, County or Supreme Courts from 1827 to 1929.
To obtain other Birth, Death, or Marriage Records, please contact the City, Town or Village Clerk where the birth or death occurred or where the marriage license was issued. Wills are handled through Surrogate Court.
Attention All Veterans of the Armed Forces
Here is the first thing to do, if you haven’t already. Take your original DD-214/discharge papers down to the Erie County Clerk’s Office and have them recorded and put on file!
Filing your discharge or separation papers is free of charge and certified copies of recorded discharges are made, free of charge, for veterans or their immediate families whenever needed. Discharge papers are proof of your military service, and can be used to establish eligibility for a variety of benefits including property tax exemptions and civil service credits.
Which DD-214 to record? Veterans who served on active duty more than once, probably (should have) received a DD-214 for each period of active service. It is the last one you received that you want to record. This should show your accumulated and total service. It should also have all your decorations and awards. If it doesn’t or something else is wrong, you need to get it corrected. Go to this web site to find out how to do that: http://www.cufon.org/CRG/memo/186587.html.
Anything recorded in the Erie County Clerk’s Office is open to the public, mainly land deeds, court records, etc. However, Congress and New York State have passed laws specifying that Veteran records are considered confidential and not open to the public. You or your next of kin are about the only ones who can obtain a copy of your DD-214. For a summary of the various state’s laws, plus pertinent references to the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act, go to http://www.pria.us/files/public/Standards_Publications/Current/state_statutes_Military_Discharge.pdf.
If you are planning on being buried in any of the National Cemeteries, your heirs will need your DD-214. Just one more reason to have it recorded where they can always get a copy.
By recording you original DD-214/discharge papers with the Erie County Clerk's Office, you are now eligible to receive the "Thank A Vet" Discount Card. This complementary program is a way to recognize the veterans in our community for their service and sacrifice. Available to any veteran in Erie who files their military discharge forms/DD-214 with the County Clerk's Office.
You can also file your original DD-214/discharge papers at any of the Erie County Clerk's "Thank A Vet" Outreaches that are held throughout County.
Eligible veterans will receive a photo I.D. card which identifies them as an honorably discharged veteran. The veteran can then use this I.D. card at hundreds of participating local businesses who have agreed to honor the card by providing the holders with a discount on purchases or services.
Once you file your discharge papers, we will provide a personal discount card, free of charge, that can be used at participating local businesses.
For more information on where you can obtain genealogy and/or veterans records and what records are available in the Clerk's Office, click here.