JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: 2015 Restrictions on obtaining NYC Death Certificates #general

Jan Meisels Allen

Robert Avner asked if there is anything we can do to get the NYC Department
of Health Services to reverse themselves on the restrictions they placed on
accessing death records. Robert first brought this to our attention on a
posting on February 17 on this discussion list. On February 18 I replied,
that a public hearing was held on November 14, 2014 and no comments were
received. The proposal was presented to the Board of Health on October 7,
2014 in response to a comment >from one of the board's members.

Unfortunately, the genealogical community was not aware of the hearing or
notice. At its December 9, 2014 meeting the Board of Health adopted the new
articles which may be read at:

The NYC Department of Health did everything legally by noticing the hearing
and no one >from the genealogical family was watching the NYC Department of
Health Board for any hearings. NYC is one of 57 US vital records
districts - separate >from NY State. They have advised us more than once that
they do not follow the NYS rules - in fact in presentations on birth and
death records access I use as a slide their wording >from a denial:

"We do not follow that state law. NYC is a closed jurisdiction and we are
not public records. For birth and death certificates, you must show
entitlement. There aren't an amount of years when our records become public

Please do not fault me on the grammar: I am a proud graduate of the NYC
Public School System, and a NY college and a NY graduate school and this is
poorly written.

I have contacted several NYC area genealogists to brain-storm and I
understand that this week or next a few weeks representatives >from the JGS
NY, Association of Professional Genealogists, NY Genealogical and
Biographical Society, NGS, and perhaps one or two others will meet to
discuss what if anything can be done. Rest assured IAJGS, Records
Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) and other genealogical
organizations are concerned - but how we can get them to change their position
when it was legally noticed and a legal hearing held will be an uphill
battle and not an easy one considering there are people at the Department of
Health Services which believe - erroneously - that records access leads to
identity theft and fraud.

As I learn of any progress I will post to this discussion list, but if it is
advocacy I am prevented by Jewish Gen's due rules to post any advocacy
issues on their lists. However, I can post advocacy issues on the IAJGS
Records Access Alert and I encourage you to subscribe to read the archives
and future postings on any advocacy - not just New York City. IAJGS Records
Access Alert archives may be accessed at: 
You must be a registered subscriber to access the archives. To register go to: and follow
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Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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