New York State Legislature passes bill allowing all adult adoptees (or their descendants, if the adoptee is deceased) to get their original birth certificates #general
Are you a New York adoptee? Or the descendent of one? Or are you
someone who helps either of these groups with their family trees,
either as a hobbyist or as a professional genealogist? If so, there
was big news today!
Today the New York State Legislature passed the Weprin/Montgomery
bill, A5494 / S3419, allowing all New York adoptees who are over the
age of eighteen, or their descendants if the adoptee is deceased, to
request a copy of their original, unaltered, and unredacted birth
certificate. These records will become available by request starting
in January 2020. New York is the tenth state to vote to allow this
kind of full access.
This bill has been years in the making. It passed the State Senate by
a vote of 56-6, then after languishing in the Codes Committee for
weeks, it today passed the Assembly by a vote of 126-2, just before
the legislature is set to adjourn for the session. Governor Cuomo has
said that he will sign the bill.
This means that hundreds of thousands of original birth records, from
the Orphan Train days to the Baby Scoop Era and beyond, will
potentially become available to adoptees and researchers.
For more information on the bill, and for eventual instructions on how
to get your request sent in for your records or for your ancestors'
records, keep your eyes on the website for the New York Adoptee Rights
For other states' rules about records access, which are often more
draconian, check out "The United States of OBC" (Original Birth
Certificate), put together by the Adoptee Rights Law blog, which
breaks down all the laws and requirements, state by state:
Reclaim The Records is proud to be a Strategic Partner of the New York
Adoptee Rights Coalition (NYARC), a group of organizations
representing diverse interests including adoptees, foster parents, and
attorneys -- and genealogists! -- all teaming up to help get this bill
passed. Members of NYARC have been on the scene in Albany for months
lobbying to make this happen, and were even livestreaming the Assembly
debate >from up in the gallery today -- although the cellphone video
was shaking a bit because they were crying.
Today is a very happy day for us all. :-)
- Brooke Schreier Ganz
Founder and President, Reclaim The Records
Mill Valley, California