Files relating to the annual publication of the New York City birth index and death index

Reclaim The Records filed this request with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene of New York City, NY.
Est. Completion None
No Responsive Documents


From: Reclaim The Records

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the New York State Freedom of Information Law (1977 N.Y. Laws ch. 933), I hereby request the following records:

I am seeking all information, files, correspondence, e-mails, notes, memorandums, minutes of meetings, transcripts, rulings, budgets, expense reports, and any other records regarding the now-defunct program that once published the annual index of births and deaths in New York City.

Until approximately 1982, the New York City Department of Health annually published the city's birth index and death index in book format, one book of births per year and one book of deaths per year. These books were printed from a computerized source, and were not handwritten ledger entries.

The information provided in these books included:
- the person's surname, given name, and middle name, which would often be contained in a single truncated twenty-two-character-long field for birth records or a single truncated eighteen-character-long-field for death records;
- a four-digit numerical code, with leading zeros if necessary, for any death records that had a corresponding Medical Examiner case number;
- a two-digit numerical representation of the month of birth or death;
- a two-digit numerical representation of the day of birth or death;
- a one-digit numerical representation of the last digit of the year of birth or death (i.e. a "9" for 1979);
- the first five characters of the person's mother's maiden name, for birth records;
- a two-digit numerical representation of the person's age, for death records, with an added "H" or "D" notation for ages measured in hours or days;
- a one-letter code for the specific borough/county of birth or death, or an assigned letter code for out-of-city events;
- the numeric certificate code, usually five digits with leading zeros if necessary.

Copies of some of these books are available to the public at the main New York Public Library branch at 42nd Street in Manhattan, the New York City Municipal Library at 31 Chambers Street in Manhattan, the New York State Archives in Albany, and possibly other locations. Copies are supposedly also available at the New York City Municipal Archives, although these may not be available to the public.

I am particularly looking for any information about the cessation of this publishing program in approximately 1982-1983, and whether any outside persons or outside agencies were involved in this decision, including federal agencies. I am also interested in whether any public notices were given or hearings were held about the ending of the project.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM or USB drive if not.

Please also be advised that this FOIL request is being filed publicly through the website, and all correspondence about this request will be immediately published to the general public.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.


Brooke Schreier Ganz
Founder, Reclaim The Records

From: Chari Anhouse

Dear Ms. Ganz:

Please be advised that the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene does not have documents responsive to your Freedom of Information Law request insofar as it asks for documents from 1982 - 1983, which are no longer in the Department's possession pursuant to its Document Retention Schedule. Please note that the NYC Board of Health amended NYC Health Code ยง 3.25 in 2008 to cease publication of annual vital statistics indexes. The Notice of Intention for this amendment, as well as the Notice of Adoption, are available online: and All provisions of the City Administrative Procedures Act (NYC Charter Chapter 45) were followed in relation to this process.

Thank you.
Chari Anhouse
Associate General Counsel/Records Access Officer
NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
General Counsel's Office
42-09 28th Street, CN-31
Long Island City, NY 11101


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From: Reclaim The Records


Thanks so much for your quick help with this request, I really appreciate it.

Reclaim The Records


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