Re: Taking Photographs of Microfilm Reader Images at NYC Municipal Archives #general #photographs


I have been there many times. Initially I tried taking photos, but the staff is fairly alert and will reprimand you. Recently much of the microfilm has been indexed and you can see images online rather than using a microfilm reader (which are usually 50% out of commission and out of focus). The place is run on a shoestring clearly, and I have sympathy for the obvious fact they have no funding. At least the staff is helpful. My solution is to make up in advance a spreadsheet with identifiers for all the records I want to look up, and then when I have the image, enter the information in columns prepared for the data I need. The value to genealogists of marriage documents is to be able to decipher the names of the parents of both parties, addresses that help verify identities, and sometimes the officiant and witness names can be helpful as well. Birth and death record images can also contain unindexed information. Beware that this office has only the archived records that NYC allows to be public, and that NYC is very recalcitrant about liberating records that should be public by now (e.g. births only available to 1909). This office is separate from the Health Dept, which has later records and is much less public-friendly.
Susan Schwartz

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