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I recently spoke with the director of the NYS Health Department's vital
The state law says that birth records have to be hidden from the public
for 75 years. Marriage and death certificates remain hidden for 50
years. Sometime after January 1 of each year, the NYS Archives in
Albany receives another year of vital records indexes on microfiche. I
phoned Vital Records to find out why the birth certificate index was no
longer being released. I was told that in 1937, a law went into effect
stating that adoption records would be sealed. I think that means that
the available birth indexes end with 1936.
Each year's birth certificate index is a mixture of the births of
adopted children and non-adopted children. To release those years of
the index, the names of the adopted children must be removed first. The
indexes were typed many years ago. After removal of the adopted
children, the list would have to be retyped. The director was in favor
of this, but said there was a question about how the finances would be
provided. There was to be a meeting to discuss this subject (no date
had been set at the time).
People live longer today than in the past. One of the probable topics
to be discussed is whether birth certificates should be hidden for 100
years instead of 75 years.