Goodbye microfiche sheets, hello Internet!
Reclaim The Records has announced that the organization has won and published the first free online copy of the New York State birth index, for the years 1881-1942!
Reclaim The Records made a Freedom of Information request to the New York State Department of Health a year ago, in September 2017, and it has finally been fulfilled. The data for 1881-1934 is online right now at the Internet Archive and the remaining data for 1935-1942 will be online by the end of this week. With more than 700 gigabytes of high-resolution images, it is taking a while to upload all the images.
This statewide birth index was previously only available to researchers who were sitting in a small number of upstate New York public libraries, as well as the Manhattan branch of the National Archives (NARA). And even then, it was only available in an old-fashioned and difficult format, scratched-up and faded microfiche sheets. And you had to hand in your driver’s license to be held hostage by the librarian just so you could see a single sheet at a time.
Thanks to Reclaim The Records, genealogists and others can research all the people in the New York State birth index whenever we want, from our own homes, for free. You can browse the images, download the images, re-post them to your own website, and even transcribe everything into your own database, if you want.
You can read more in the Reclaim The Records web site at: https://www.reclaimtherecords.org/records-request/10/.
The images of the New York State Birth Index, 1881-1942 are available on Archive.org at https://archive.org/search.php?query=New%20York%20State%20Birth%20Index%201881-1942.