CORRECTION: New York City Department of Records and Information Services Proposed Rules On New Fees And Access Requirements #announcements #photographs #records #usa

Jan Meisels Allen

My apologies, when writing up the history I incorrectly stated that the 2017 regulations on embargo periods and whom may access the records without the embargo period which went into effect in 2018 was with the Municipal Archives—that was incorrect. It was with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The summary of the current Municipal Archives proposed regulation was not affected by my historical error. The historical portion of the posting has been corrected below. My apologies for the historical error and thank you to Renee Steinig, JGS Long Island for bringing this to my attention.


While this is something posted on the IAJGS Records Access Alert with so many people worldwide interested in New York City records I thought it also appropriate to post on this forum. For those who are already subscribed to the Records Access Alert my apologies for duplication. For those who believe access to records of genealogical value are important you are invited to subscribe-its free- see at bottom how to subscribe.


Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee




The New York City Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS) (this includes the Municipal Archives) has proposed new rules with an increase in fees for records, photographs, videos, and access requirements –some of which are detrimental to genealogists-such as not being able to share any of the information with anyone.  The notice of the proposed rule and hearing may be found at: You may download the pdf of the proposed rule from this site and it is attached to this announcement for you convenience.


When reading the proposed rule please not that information in brackets [ ] is deleted and that which is newly proposed is underlined _____.


A public hearing is scheduled for Friday October 23, 2020 at 11:00AM Eastern Time.  Deadline for submitting comments is also October 23, 2020—see below on how to submit your statement. Information on how to participate by video conference or telephone is:

Internet Video and Audio. To participate in the public hearing, enter the

Webex URL:

(copy and paste if it does not click)


If prompted to provide a password or number, please enter the following:

Meeting Number: 173 225 7395. Password: kjEZGpCu746

• Telephone. To access the hearing by telephone, dial +1-646-992-2010 United

States Toll (New York City) or 1-408-418-9388 United States Toll.

•   Access code: 173 225 7395


You can submit comments several ways:

• Website. You can submit comments to the Department of Records & Information Services through the NYC rules website at:

Email. You can email comments to DORISrules@...

Mail. You can mail comments to:

Assistant Commissioner Kenneth R. Cobb,

Department of Records & Information Services,

31 Chambers Street, Suite 305,

New York, N.Y. 10007.

Fax. You can fax comments to Department of Records & Information Services, 212 788-8625.

By speaking at the hearing. Anyone who wants to comment on the proposed rule at the public hearing may speak for up to three minutes. Please access the public hearing by Internet Video and Audio or by Telephone using the instructions above. It is recommended, but not required, that anyone who wants to comment sign up prior to the hearing by emailing Gerald Rosero at: grosero@...


Some of the increased fees include:

  • raising the charge from $15.00 to $18.00 for a certified copy of a vital record of a birth, death or marriage record when a certificate number is provided, for one year/ one borough/one name and for issuance of a certificate say the record is “not found”.  Additional handling charges will apply for services requested via epayments.
  • Charging $2.00 for each additional year to be searched in one city/borough for the same name
  • Charging $2.00 for each additional city/borough for the same name
  • Publication or license fee for use of a reproduction of a still photograph, image or document or other archival item.  Educational, scholarly or non-profit products or media starts at $15.00 and increase for commercial products or media.
  • $40 charge for commercial use of moving images per second.
  • $10 charge for commercial use of moving images, per second.
  • $50 per hour charge for conducting original research for patrons not including copies.
  • $125 per hour charge for conservation services and exhibition load preparation requested by institutions, per hour, not including materials.
  • Increase from $15.00 to $18.00 for paper or digital  property card pertaining to one block and lot.
  • Certification of property cards relating to one block or lot.
  • Still images for personal use only, $45.00 for high resolution non-watermarked digital copy of any two-dimensional item with size restrictions; $65.00 for larger size copies; $40.00 per additional 100 pages or documents ordered at the same time.
  • Hard copy prints: $40- 8’x10”; $60 -11’x14”; $120.00 16”x20” plus extra charges for shipping and handling
  • $100.00 high-resolution non-watermarked digital copy of moving image tape or film per title.
  • Charges for photocopying services vary from $0.25 per page to $0.50 per page.  No charge for use of personal camera.


The proposed rules also state:

Section 3-01 Municipal Archives and Library Regulations Governing Use of Archives and Library Materials:

Section A: Access to Materials

All researchers must complete a registration form with name, contact information, affiliation if any, and specifying research subject and purpose and provide acceptable identification upon request.  Physical condition of any item may prohibit public access. Certain records may be subject to redaction and other restrictive access related to personal privacy, health information and minors. The special restrictions also apply to District Attorney case files, Board of Education “anti-Communist” case files, World Trade Center materials and Police Department surveillance records and photographs.  Other restrictions are listed in the proposed rule.


Section B:

Reproductions are provided for the researcher's personal use only. Reproductions may not be reduplicated, published, or transferred to another individual or institution.


Permission to publish, reprint, broadcast, reduplicate or make other use of Archives or Library materials are subject to the conditions in a Publish./Use form and observance of the US Copyright Code. Violation of any of the rules may be cause for future access to the Municipal Library and Archives.

There are other restrictions delineated in the proposed rules which I encourage you to read.


Thank you to Chuck Weinstein, JGS Long Island, for sharing the proposed rule with us.


It was in 2018 that the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene changed the access as to whom may obtain records and the embargo dates. A VERY strong genealogical community fought back. While they went ahead with the embargo period, we were successful in getting additional family members to be included in those who could get immediate access. The genealogical community needs to again work cooperatively to get many of the above proposed rules amended before they are adopted.


To access the previous  postings on the IAJGS Records Access Alert about the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, NYC Municipal Archives, DORIS,  go to the archives of the IAJGS Records Access Alert at:

You must be registered to access the archives.  To register go to:  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 finalized.


Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


 ,Permission is granted to republish/post or summarize this Alert provided that attribution be given to the IAJGS Records Access Alert 


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