OPEN RECORDS LIFE: One of our board members is right this minute in an FOI hearing with a state department of health, which is claiming — in a recorded meeting — that they can’t give us the birth index for that state because their database is stored in FoxPro and might crash. 😂
I was shocked and dismayed to learn today that #FOIA hero Russ Kick @thememoryhole2 passed away recently. Russ was a pioneer in FOIA and govt transparency in general, as well as being an accomplished comics artist responsible for these amazing works. He will be sorely missed.
it’s not totally official-official, so no formal announcement yet, but we might have just won another lawsuit (!!!) against a federal agency, not just over access issues for millions of records, but also a way to save genealogists big money on the copies
I imagine many here on #ancestryhour know about @ReclaimTheRecs. If not, learning about what this amazing non-profit https://www.reclaimtherecords.org/ is doing should be an essential part of your genealogy journey. #ancestryhour #FOIA
Have you registered for the 2021 Annual Meeting on October 20th at 7:30 ET? Register TODAY for meeting and feature presentation by @Alecferretti about @ReclaimTheRecs. https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_MAPNfgvaRhyHJQJjif-Ylg
RUN AND TELL THAT: USCIS IS ASKING FOR YOUR PUBLIC COMMENTS ABOUT THEIR PRICE GOUGINGHi records friends! Today we have a time-sensitive opportunity for you: a chance to tell a major federal government agency with millions of never-before-online historical records about how and why they can shape up and do better. If speed-kvetching about genealogy is your thing, now’s your chance!Here’s the super-short version of what’s going on and what you can do right now (like, today):www.recordsnotrevenue.comAnd here’s the super-long comment our organization has formally submitted to USCIS, to make the case for better public records access:www.reclaimtherecords.org/about/activism/uscis-genealogy-program/And here’s the much longer backstory, explaining what this is all about, in our latest newsletter!mailchi.mp/reclaimtherecords/run-and-tell-that-uscis-genealogy-program-public-commentsWe hope you’ll take the time to read all this, and to submit a comment to USCIS right away. You can submit your comment online, it won’t take long. Tell them how you feel about their agency holding millions of records hostage, records which ought to go to the National Archives.Public records belong to the public. And our shared American history is not the agency’s piggybank. Don’t delay, tell them today! … See MoreSee Less
RECLAIM THE RECORDS’ LONG-RUNNING LEGAL FIGHT TO OPEN 1.6 MILLION NYC DEATH CERTIFICATES MOVES FORWARD!Hello again from your friends at Reclaim The Records! Today we have an exciting update in our long-running legal battle to (1) acquire and then release to the public about 1.6 million currently-inaccessible NYC death certificates from 1949-1968, totally free, as uncertified digital scans that we want to put online, and (2) strike down some truly awful new rules that heavily restrict public access to twentieth century New York City vital records, even from some of the relatives of the people directly named in the records.This project originally started back in October 2017, when the City held a public hearing at which none of the people in attendance and none of the more than six thousand people nationwide who submitted public comments voiced support for the new and incredibly strict record access rules. But the City went ahead and approved the stricter rule change anyway.Well, that just wouldn’t do. So in February 2019, we sued them.And it was quite a long list of "them". The Respondents in our case include the New York City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, the New York City Bureau of Vital Statistics; the New York City Board of Health; Oxiris Barbot in her official capacity as New York City Commissioner of Health; Gretchen Van Wye in her official capacity as New York City Registrar; and last but certainly not least, Steven P. Schwartz in his official capacity as former New York City Registrar.We had one court hearing in November 2019 and one in early 2020, before two different judges, facing off with the City over some of the issues. And then the pandemic struck, and things in the New York City court system understandably got put on hold for a while.But now, we’ve got some movement — and, you guys, we don’t want to jinx it, but it seems to be looking promising!Want to read the latest details, and links to all our court paperwork? (There’s a lot of it!) It’s all in our latest newsletter issue!And here it is:mailchi.mp/reclaimtherecords/our-legal-fight-to-open-1-point-6-million-nyc-death-certificates-mov…Fun fact: the 2019 National Genealogical Society conference, which was held in Washington DC, makes a special guest appearance in this one, helping us catch city government officials "astroturfing", or making up fake support for their policies! (See, those overpriced Fleetwood conference session recordings really do come in handy!)Come for the discussion of the City hypothetically suing local cemeteries for supposed privacy invasions, stay for the unexpected "Hamilton" references. Check out our news and let us know what you think! … See MoreSee Less
Reclaim The Records is an IRS-recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our EIN is 81-4985446. Contact us at [email protected]