New York city vital records access: Important update

Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 1:45pm
Author: 
D. Joshua Taylor

Dear Friends,

The NYG&B has been actively monitoring the situation regarding the proposed changes to access to New York's birth and death marriages originally proposed by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in October 2017. Today, a posting appeared from the Department which stated their approval of the amendment (postmarked March 13, 2018). While the document reflects the opinions we as a community shared, it does not make any changes to their proposed restrictions on these public records. As the amendment stands, birth records will not become public until 125 years after the event and death records will not become public until 75 years after the event.

The notice does note: 

"The Board recognizes there is a keen interest in accessing birth and death records for the sake of tracing genealogy and family health issues, as evidenced by the many comments received on the topic. The Board will therefore consider an amendment to the Health Code to allow direct descendants and other close relatives to access birth and death records before they become public."

This is not an ideal outcome for members of our community and please rest assured that the NYG&B and its allies will work together to ensure that the Board follows through on their promise to consider an amendment to allow for broader access as promised. However, we remain adamantly opposed to the closure of these public records. You can read the full note from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene here: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/notice/2018/noa-amend-article207.pdf

The NYG&B will be determining the best methods for providing additional input to the Department as they formulate the possible amendment. We will need your help and support on this important process. To keep informed on this topic, please register for the NYG&B eNews and watch the NYG&B's blog for further details.

Thank you for your support of this important issue --

Joshua

 

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