We want our records back.
And we get them! More than twenty million records reclaimed to date.
We’re Reclaim The Records, a new not-for-profit activist group of genealogists, historians, researchers, and open government advocates. We identify important genealogical records sets that ought to be in the public domain but which are being wrongly restricted by government archives, libraries, and agencies. We file Freedom of Information and Open Data requests to get that public data released back to the public. And if the government doesn’t comply, we take them to court.
Then we digitize everything we win and put it all online for free, without any paywalls or usage restrictions, so that it can never be locked up again. Learn more about our work and sign up for our newsletter.
Help us reclaim even more.NEW: Make a Donation
We started our work in New York City in 2015, expanded to three new vital records jurisdictions in 2016, and became a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2017. Your support will help us continue the fight for open records nationwide.
Newest records requests
- Index to Deaths in Albany, New York, 1880-1916
NY FOIL request filed with Albany City Clerk’s Office on September 6, 2017
- Index to Deaths in Yonkers, New York, 1880-1916
NY FOIL request filed with Yonkers City Clerk’s Office on September 6, 2017
- Index to New York State Marriages (Outside of New York City), 1880-2016
NY FOIL request filed with NYS Department of Health on September 12, 2017.
- Index (Simplified Database Extract) to all New York City marriage records, 1996-2016
NY FOIL request filed with New York City Clerk’s Office on September 22, 2017. Appeal filed with the New York City Clerk’s office on November 17, 2017. Litigation likely to commence soon!
- Index to New York State Births (Outside of New York City), 1880-1942
NY FOIL request filed with NYS DOH on September 27, 2017
Upcoming records requests
- New York City Birth Certificates, 1910-1917
NY FOIL request in planning stage against NYC Department of Health
- Index (Simplified Database Extract) to all New York City domestic partnership records, 1993-2016
NY FOIL request in planning stage against NYC Clerk’s Office
- …and 68 other record sets from sixteen states and territories that we’ve placed on our long-term to-do list
Do you know about genealogical or archival records that ought to be available to the public, but aren’t? Take our Records Survey and tell us about it!
Upcoming Lectures and Presentations
2018: January 8 (rescheduled from November 13) – JGS of Washington State (Bellevue, WA); February 16 – Mt. Diablo Genealogical Society (Walnut Creek, CA); April 28 – Fairfax Genealogical Society (Vienna, VA); April 29 – JGS of Maryland (Baltimore, MD); May 2-5 – National Genealogical Society annual conference (Grand Rapids, MI)
Recent Lectures and Presentations
2017: Live-Streamed Lecture at the 2017 IAJGS conference (Orlando, FL); Santa Clara County Historical and Genealogical Society; San Luis Obispo County Genealogy Society; Oakland FamilySearch Library w/ SF Bay JGS; JGS of Cleveland (Beachwood, OH, via videoconference)
2016: JGS of Long Island (Plainview, NY); The Center For Jewish History (New York, NY); Lecture at the 2016 IAJGS conference (Seattle, WA); San Francisco Bay Area JGS (San Francisco, CA)
Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Director’s Award, 2017
A plaque presented in recognition of both exceptional contributions to the field of genealogy and family history, and extra-mile efforts to promote good will and improve services.
IAJGS Outstanding Project of the Year, 2017
John Stedman Memorial Grant Recipient, 2017
We were recognized at the banquet for the annual conference in Orlando, Florida for our work bringing genealogical and archival records back to the public. We were also awarded $3,000 towards the legal fees in our fight for the open Missouri birth and death index.
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Foilies Award, 2017
Our records requests and subsequent lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services under the Missouri Sunshine Law was recognized as exposing one of “the year’s worst in government transparency.”
Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE/NICAR) Golden Padlock Award, 2017
Traditionally a print and TV journalists’ award, we were the first genealogical group to successfully nominate a government agency for their intransigence on genealogical records for the Golden Padlock Award, given to “the most secretive government agency or individual in the United States.”