There are some exceptions, but RECLAIM THE RECORDS WINS OUR FREEDOM OF INFORMATION FIGHT FOR 19th + 20th CENTURY BIRTH AND DEATH RECORDS FROM YONKERS, NEW YORK THEIR FIRST-EVER PUBLIC AVAILABILITY, NOW ONLINE AND FREE!.
Yet again, Reclaim the Records has scored a victory for access to records – https://us11.campaign-archive.com/?u=5f700fdc65a51d3813e67dab2&id=c08aa3aa97.
Hello again from Reclaim The Records! We hope everybody has been hunkered down safely and soundly for the last few months, maybe working on some genealogy from home with some of the records we’ve helped release online over the past few years. Well, we’re back to announce some great new records you might want to check out while you hunker in your bunker. And as always, these new records we’ve acquired and published are totally free.
After literally years of negotiating and haggling (although luckily stopping short of yet another lawsuit), we are pleased to announce the first-ever publication of tens of thousands of late nineteenth and early twentieth century births and deaths for Yonkers, New York. We’ve photographed the alphabetical indices, and for most years we were able to photograph the full birth and death registers, too!
And none of these record books had ever been available to the public to use or browse before, not even on microfilm at a library. And the people listed in these records were generally not in the statewide birth and death indices that we previously acquired and published for New York.
Yet our announcement is not that short, for they also allowed us to digitize birth records, which had not even been part of our original FOIL request! To our knowledge, these records may represent the largest collection of New York State birth registers that have ever been made available to the public without any kind of restrictions or usage agreements, and for that, we thank the City of Yonkers for allowing us to come in and make our history that much more accessible.
Here’s what we acquired and what’s online, and what’s still left to photograph:
Record Type Years Format Notes Yonkers Births 1875-1882 Birth Index + Birth Register We thought the records started in 1880-81. Nope, turns out it was 1875, plus a few scattered late registrations from some earlier years. Yonkers Births 1882-1886 Birth Index ONLY We hope to photograph the Birth Register in the back of this book on a return visit. Yonkers Births 1887-1890 Birth Index + Birth Register Actually starts late 1886. Missing photos of two pages in the Index, for some surnames starting with letters S and U. Yonkers Births 1890-1893 Birth Index + Birth Register Yonkers Births 1893-1895 Birth Index + Birth Register Yonkers Births 1895-1897 Birth Index + Birth Register Yonkers Births 1898-1900 MISSING? It is unclear whether this book survived; the office staff did not bring it out to us. If it still exists, we hope to photograph it on our return visit. Yonkers Births 1900-1914 Birth Index ONLY This book does not include a Register. It does include a few delayed birth registrations from other years outside this range. Yonkers Births unlabeled,
Birth Index ONLY This book does not include a Register. It does include a few delayed birth registrations from other years outside this range. It is not clear why these births were compiled into a separate book from the previous book. Yonkers Births February 1915 –
Birth Index + Birth Register in a “mini certificate” format These Birth Registers are in a different format from the previous books, and almost look like a miniature birth certificate. Several records are covered over with white paper taped over the original page, presumably as a crude redaction of the original birth records of adoptees. Yonkers Deaths 1875-1884 Death Index + Death Register We thought the records started in 1880-81. Nope, turns out it was 1875. Yonkers Deaths 1884-1889 Death Index + Death Register Yonkers Deaths 1890-1916 NOT YET AVAILABLE There are an unknown number of books covering deaths between 1890 and approximately 1915-16. The Clerk’s Office has mentioned in e-mails that the books after 1900 are in poor condition. We hope to photograph all of these on our return visit.
As always, we have published these collections on the Internet Archive, for free, for anyone to use, in any way they wish. The entirety of this collection is handwritten, meaning that we cannot use the OCR technology of the Internet Archive to make the records automatically text-searchable. For now, the only way to search these records is by manually browsing the indexes and looking for record numbers, or by flipping through the pages, which are in roughly chronological order. Luckily, the handwriting in the books is generally very good. You can also download the books entirely, if you prefer to have your own copy on your hard drive. We hope that organizations with an interest in New York genealogy will take up indexing projects so that these records can one day become a searchable database.