(US-NYC) New York City Board of Health Adopts Amendment to Article 207 Expanding Those Who May Access Birth and Death Records Without Embargo Periods #general

Jan Meisels Allen

The IAJGS Records Access Alert reported in March about a proposed amendment
to Article 207 of the New York City Health Code allowing certain direct
descendants and other family members to access the birth and death records
of their deceased relatives prior to the records becoming public. The New
York City Department of Health held a hearing on April 23, the deadline for
all comments. See:
[MOD. NOTE: shortened URL - https://goo.gl/ZME2oA ]

On June 4, 2018 the New York City Board of Health held a meeting where they
unanimously passed the proposal. However, rather than become effective in 30
days, New York City Registrar, Steven Schwartz, Ph.D. requested
implementation be delayed until the end of 2018 giving the Department of
Health and Mental Hygiene time to update procedures, update the website and
required staff training. Forms will have to be updated and a new procedure
for proof of relationship through an attestation or notarized form will have
to be developed. No comments as to when that process will be available prior
to the end of the year, or whether the new process will be subject to a
public hearing before adoption.

While a researcher category was requested to be added to the list of
expanded persons able to immediately access birth and death records >from the
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, other than mentioning it in Dr.
Schwartz's report to the Board, nothing further was done- and it was not
added to those who may immediately access birth and death records. The
request for "informational copies" to be made available was not
incorporated, and Dr. Schwartz said the "unofficial copies" was a "bad idea"
as records should remain either open or closed.

It was also mentioned that Dr. Schwartz will be leaving the Department
after 30 years as he has been nominated for a post at the US Center for
Disease Control (CDC). Dr. Schwartz has been the instrumental person at the
Department for advocating the 125/75 years embargo periods for birth and
death records access when transferred to the Department of Records and
Information Services (DORIS) the Municipal Archives. This was the regulation
adopted in March, 2018 :

Thank you to Susan R. Miller, Director of Programs, New York Genealogical
and Biographical Society, who attended the Board of Health Meeting on June
4th and reported it to the NY-RPAC, of which IAJGS is a member.

To read the previous postings about the NYCDoH&MH regulations on both the
expansion of family members who may access birth and death records directly
from the NYCDOH&MH without waiting for the embargo periods, and the transfer
of birth and death records and embargo dates on the IAJGS Records Access
Alert go to the archives of the IAJGS Records Access Alert at:
http://lists.iajgs.org/mailman/private/records-access-alerts/. You must be
registered to access the archives. To register go to:
http://lists.iajgs.org/mailman/listinfo/records-access-alerts and follow
the instructions to enter your email address, full name and which
genealogical organization with whom you are affiliated You will receive
an email response that you have to reply to or the subscription will not be

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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