(US-NYC) Update on NYC Municipal Archives Proposed Regulation on Access #usa #announcements #records

Jan Meisels Allen







In 24 hours we have gotten the attention of  the NYC Department of Records & Information Services (DORIS) known to us as the Municipal Archives.  “…heard the positive news that DORIS does not

"necessarily" intend to charge license fees for using genealogy records. DORIS recognizes the proposed changes are unclear and has indicated some clarifications will be made before the final rule

is published. BUT...there is no guarantee that we will be consulted in advance on the FINAL RULE. Your comments are still NEEDED by October 23 as it still is not clear if personal usage of a vital

record certificate is  still at risk beyond the purchase and use by one person.” 


The devil is in the details and we have not seen the changes in the proposed rule. Plus, it is VERY unique for an agency which proposes a rule to change the wording before a hearing,

and whether that is considered “legal” or only the wording in the actual proposed rule at this point is  unknown.


The latest is posted by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) and can be read at:

You do not have to be a subscriber to Facebook to access the post.


This is the wording of the post:


IMPORTANT UPDATEWow! What an impact many of you have made in just 24 hoursBUT WE NEED EVERYONE'S COMMENTS IN THE PUBLIC RECORD by October 23.  


In response to your initial comments, we heard the positive news that DORIS does not "necessarily" intend to charge license fees for using genealogy records. DORIS recognizes the

 proposed changes are unclear and has indicated some clarifications will be made before the final rule is published. BUT...there is no guarantee that we will be consulted in advance on the FINAL RULE.       


While the application of licensing fees may not apply to vital records, it is not clear if personal usage of a vital record certificate is still at risk beyond the purchase and use of the certificate by one person. 

As written, the rules limit individual use of these records, "Reproductions are provided for the researcher's personal use only. Reproductions may not be reduplicated, published, or transferred to another individual or institution." 


We still need to consider that we do not know what we will find in the final rule before publication. This is also about the wider licensing wording, e.g. "permission to use", and the restrictive language

and fees that apply to other "archival sources" which are public records at MUNI.  As written, the rules still require a license for educational, scholarly, non-profit, and media use.

Clarification is needed here: genealogists are educators and scholars! 


We are anxious to see in writing, clarifications DORIS intends to make. 


The hearing date is fixed as October 23please continue to inform others and ask everyone to act by learning more at


 Please be active on this issue---we can’t be silent!


To access the previous  postings on the IAJGS Records Access Alert about the NYC DORIS/Municipal Archives 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