Tired of being told by archives, libraries, and government agencies that the genealogical records you want are “unavailable”? Reclaim The Records, a new not-for-profit activist group of more than 5000 genealogists, researchers, historians, and journalists, figured out how to do something about it. They use Freedom of Information laws—and sometimes even lawsuits—to obtain copies of previously inaccessible archival record sets, which are then put online for free public use.
In this presentation, Brooke Schreier Ganz will describe the work of Reclaim the Records. The group won the first-ever public and online access to more than twenty million archival records, including the New York City marriage license index (1909–1995), the New York State death index (1880–1956), and the New Jersey marriage index (1901–2016), and they have an ongoing lawsuit for the Missouri birth and death index (1910–present), and more. The presentation will explain how this was accomplished, as well as the history and legal basics of Freedom of Information laws, and will teach researchers how to file requests for any records that may help their own family tree research.
The program is free for members of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland and $5 for non-members (applied to membership fee when a visitor joins JGSMD). Refreshments will be available. Please check the JGSMD web site
at for late updates and for the time, location, and program of future meetings.