New York City is attempting to restrict access to important records! Updated.

With thanks to our colleagues with the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.  See their landing page at

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is proposing a new rule that would affect when birth and death records are made available to the public and transferred to the Department of Records and Information Services.

The proposed schedule would greatly lengthen the amount of time a birth or death record is restricted for public access, which would negatively impact family history researchers everywhere.  Birth Records would be locked up for 125 years.  Death records would be inaccessible for 75 years.

The process will afford opportunities for the genealogical community (and the general public) to provide input by attending a public hearing (Tuesday, October 24th) and submitting written comments.  NYG&B also has initiated a petition drive that will be submitted as part of their official comment letter.  For more detail and opportunities to express concern see the NYG&B landing page.  The video featuring NYG&B President D. Joshua Taylor gives an excellent overview of the issue.

Stay tuned for further developments:  Updated October 27, 2017

For an excellent report on the October 24,2017 Public Hearing see the NYG&B NYC Blog:

Original URL:

For the latest developments, subscribe to the NYG&B Blog or check back here frequently.

Selected Statements:

  1. RPAC  — Letter to NYC Health Dept Oct 21 (002)
  2. IAJGS  — NYC DoHMH Guidelines on Access Final Submitted (003)
  3. FGS  —  FGS-NYC Vitals Comment
  4. NYG&B Oral remarks —  NYG&B DOH Testimony FINAL
  5. Moss  — NYC Moss 24 Oct Final+

UPDATE 15 Nov 2017

The New York City Department of Health has published all comments they have received at:

A video of the public hearing held on 24th of October is found at:

A preliminary review of the submitted materials and testimony provided finds that ALL input to this hearing was in opposition to the Commission proposal to restrict access to death records for 75 years and birth records for 125 years.  No additional rationale has been found that was offered by any witness or volunteered by DOH representatives hosting the hearing in support of their proposal.








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