Salute to Brooke Schreier Ganz & Reclaim the Records

brooke.ganzBrooke Schreier Ganz, We Salute You!

August 2016 – Brooke Schreier Ganz, genealogist, has become an open government advocate. She is collecting information about archivally important data sets that are not currently available online or on microfilm by using Freedom of Information laws and Open Data initiatives to get copies of this information. These record sets are then put online, for free, and for everyone.

Brooke started working in archives, libraries, and government agencies in NY, NJ, and Missouri, and her “Reclaim the Records” initiative is expanding further into different parts of the country. She is documenting everything she has learned about filing Freedom of Information Act requests and has created a Do-It-Yourself guide for genealogists and others who want their state, local, and Federal records made more available.

Brooke’s first filing was for access to the Index to New York City Marriage Applications, Affidavits, and Licenses, 1908-1929. This very important record set, originally kept by the New York City Clerk’s Office, is the index to a three-page document that is generally dated a few weeks before the actual marriage took place and contains more information than the 2-page marriage certificate. Brooke won access and has since digitized and uploaded 48 rolls of microfilm containing an estimated 450,000 records. A subsequent request to the NJ State Archives produced approximately 445,000 vital records indices on microfilm for 1901-1903 and 1901-1914. These records are also being prepared for digitization and uploading. Brooke has 5 more records request underway and she is only just getting started.

Bill Israel, Chair IAJGS Salutes Committee
with Nolan Altman and Doris Nabel

International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies