Reclaim The Records is once again taking on the New York City Municipal Archives, but this time we're asking for ALLLLL THEIR RECORDS. All of them.
We want every historical New York City birth, marriage, and death record. Every scan of an old will or deed or tax assessment list or military recruit list. Every everything! We're going to get them and then put them all online for free, for everyone to use. No fees, no restrictions.
We're sick of the Archives' illegal and immoral "licensing" and "permissions" con job restricting public access to historical public records. We're mad that they're continually ignoring the people and patrons they're supposed to be serving.
And so, we just filed a big brand new Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request with the city, and you can read all about it here, in very copious detail:
This would mean that all of the genealogy websites you know and love, both commercial and non-profit, large and small, as well as individual researchers or teachers or journalists or anybody, would finally have access to download and re-upload and re-publish every single historical New York City vital record, for free. Millions and millions of them! And unlike the Archives, we won’t have any dumb “Mother, May I?” permission slips or shady licensing fees to line our pockets. It’s all gonna be free, forever.
We're also going to be going after much of the Archives' microfilm holdings, and eventually some of their never-before-scanned-or-photographed paper and book holdings. And early next year, we're planning on launching a groundbreaking kind of new lawsuit against the agency, asking to get genealogists' money back, for all the "licenses" they've had to pay out for years, for the use of old public domain records that the Archives has never owned and will never own. More details about that are forthcoming on our website.
- Brooke Schreier Ganz
President and Founder, Reclaim The Records
Mill Valley, California