Requests for searches can be done in writing and mailed to the Erie County Clerk's Office, 92 Franklin Street, Buffalo, New York 14202. For additional information, please call (716) 858-8785.
The search request should be accompanied by a check or money order in the appropriate amount made payable to the Erie County Clerk. Payment can also be made at the time copies are picked up at the Clerk's Office.
Copies of records are $0.65 per page, with a minimum charge of $1.30. The minimum charge for a certified copy is $5.20 and covers a document up to 8 pages. Each additional page of a certified document is $0.65 and the maximum charge per document, whether certified or not, is $40. You may find the chart for copy fees by clicking here.
Unless the recording information (book and page that identifies the document) is included in your request, a search charge is incurred. Generally, if the document was recorded after 1988, the search charge will be $5 for every two years, per name, per document type or type of record searched, i.e., deed or naturalization record. If you are requesting a search of a record prior to 1988, the search will be done manually and the charge is $10 for every two years per name, per document type.
If you have included a daytime telephone number, we will contact you when the documents are ready for pick-up. If you have made your request by mail, please include a self-addressed stamped return envelope. Records stored off-site and records of a genealogical or archival nature may take longer to retrieve.
Record Request Form
All out-of-office requests for secure files must be submitted with a Secure Record Request Form. The Form is designed to provide confidentiality and security in cases where personal retrieval of a file is not practical. The Secure File Record Request Form can be downloaded by clicking here.
Information about Particular Record Retrievals
Matrimonial Records are sealed pursuant to New York State Law for 100 years and can only be released to the plaintiff, defendant or attorney(s) of record. A person who is not a party to a divorce may only review the file by providing written authorization from one of the litigants or with a court order. The written authorization MUST be notarized. Please contact the Erie County Family Court directly for Family Court judgments, i.e., child custody and support orders.
The person requesting such records must provide proper identification. In requesting the records, it is helpful to have as much information as possible such as the index number, the type of record sought, a filing date and the name of the parties.
To request a copy of any sealed records, you will need to send your request in a written and notarized statement, with a check for the cost of the search and the certified copy of the records. The search charge for digitized records (after 1988) is $5 for every two years searched, for manual records is $10 for every two years and the critical date is NOT the date of judgment, but the date of commencement of the action. Unless you can provide an Index number, YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR A SEARCH. The charge for certified copies is $.65 per page, with a $1.30 minimum charge and for certified copies, $1.25 per page with a $5.20 minimum charge. For Matrimonial records, assume that the Judgment is a minimum of 3 pages.
Naturalization records are filed with the Erie County Clerk for the period from 1827 through 1929. The Immigration and Naturalization Service also has records of naturalization, created on and after September 27, 1906. Such records prior to 1900 contain only the name of the applicant, date of naturalization, country of allegiance and names of witnesses. According to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, before 1922, wives and children became citizens through the naturalization of the husband and parent. Some records of arrival from 1891 to 1897 are at the Port of New York and certain other ports. Records of arrival prior to 1891 are maintained by the Central Reference Section, National Archives, Washington, D.C. 20408.
Depending on the year of naturalization and the jurisdiction, the Erie County Clerk’s Office may or may not certify the record. If there is a question, you may be required to contact the National Archives and Record Administration prior to requesting a certified record from this office.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services, formerly known as Immigration and Naturalization Service, can be accessed on the internet at: http://www.uscis.gov
Records of persons naturalized by the United States District Court, Western District of New York, may be found at the United States Court House. Questions or comments concerning these records and/or the manner of their storage may be directed to the District Court Clerk, United States District Court for the Western District of New York, United States Court House, 68 Court Street, Buffalo, New York 14202 (phone: 716-551-4211).
A list of the records available at the Erie County Clerk’s Office may be found by clicking here. Please follow Steps 1-3, above, to make a request.