During Fort Wayne Ancestry Day's Ask the Experts Panel, we received so many questions that we were unable to answer them all during the event. The following are questions asked and The Genealogy Center staff's responses.

I have a death record that was listed in the WPA indexes of Indiana vital records. How can I get a copy?

The Genealogy Center has vital records sourced in those indexes for Allen County and a few other counties. For the rest, you will need to contact the health department for the county in question.

I need 1920-1955 New York City vital records. I know enough to pinpoint, but can’t afford the cost to send for all I need. Any suggestions for alternative online sources? If a person is in New York City today, is there a place to go physically to get this information? Legal name changes – where would I search for this for New York City, 1959-1952?

First of all, this may be information you already know, but for the sake of others researching New York City:

• Birth records prior to 1910,
• Marriage records prior to 1930, and
• Death records prior to 1949
are at the Municipal Archives. These are the records you may obtain for genealogical research. Forms are available on the website for ordering these records. The base fee is $15 per record, with additional charges for a search of two years if an exact date isn’t known, for postage and handling, for a certified copy, etc. See the New York Public Library’s website for more information about New York vital records. (New York City information is partway down the page.) For records of events that occurred after the dates shown above, you must be qualified to obtain the records. These are held in the Office of Vital Records in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. These records also begin at $15 each.

If you are qualified to obtain copies of the records, you can go to these offices in person to get them, but the websites suggest that you order online to avoid waiting in a line. The cost is the same if you get go to the office in person to get them. In localities where the record books are freely available to researchers, it may be more cost-effective to hire a professional researcher in the area to photocopy the books for you than to order individual certificates, but in the case of New York City, the cost is going to be the same for the records, whether you order them online or you send a proxy to get them for you. Images of these records are not available online.

Legal name changes would have taken place in the courts. See whether the Family History Library has filmed the civil court records for the county within New York City where you suspect the name change took place. If not, you will need to search the records onsite or hire a researcher to do it for you. You can find researchers for New York City on the websites of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Board for Certification of Genealogists.