All New York City birth certificates that are more than 100 years old are supposed to be open to the public. Yet the New York City Department of Health has inexplicably failed to transfer these seven years’ worth of older birth certificates to the NYC Municipal Archives, which only has the certificates through 1909. Reclaim The Records will be making a FOIL request on or after January 1, 2018 to acquire and distribute these certificates to the public. We’re waiting until January 1st to make sure all of the 1917 certificates will be legally available and included in the request.

These certificates are available for individual ordering through the Department of Health; however, the DoH directs all online orders to a payment provider called VitalChek that incorrectly tells researchers that the 1910-1917 certificates are only available to the person whose name is on the certificate, or to their parent (who would presumably have been born in the nineteenth century!). The certificates have never microfilmed by FamilySearch. And the DoH has never given any reason why they are restricting access.

We’re going to change that.

More details to follow!

State or Vital Records Jurisdiction: New York City

Government Agency: New York City Department of Health

Law: New York State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)

Record Type: Birth Records

Record Years: 1910-1917

Record Format: Certificates

Record Physical Format: Probably microfilm, but possibly paper-only

Number of Records (Estimated): 200,000

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(We ask because some states' Freedom of Information laws only allow state residents to make a FOIL request.)

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