Reclaim the Records: How Genealogists Can Use Freedom of Information Laws
SATURDAY, MARCH 6, 2021 at 1 PM CST
Brooke was tired of being told by libraries, archives and government agencies that genealogy records she wanted were “unavailable”, and she figured out how to do something about it. In January 2015, Brooke formed Reclaim the Records, a non-profit organization that has successfully used state Freedom of Information (FOI) laws – and sometimes lawsuits – to obtain copies of previously inaccessible archival records for genealogical research, digitized them, and put them online for free. This presentation will explain how they did this and how you can file requests for records that may help in your own family research using the FOI laws.
Brooke Schreier Ganz is the founder and president of Reclaim The Records, and the first genealogist to successfully sue a government archive for the return of records to the public. A computer programmer and longtime genealogy nerd, she is also the creator of LeafSeek, a free open source records management platform and multi-lingual search engine that won second place in the 2012 RootsTech Developer Challenge. Brooke is a longtime volunteer for ArchiveTeam, an online preservationist group that preemptively crawls at-risk websites to save copies of the data for the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Her personal genealogical interests include Jewish genealogy, mostly in Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, and New York City.
General meetings and informational programs with guest speakers on genealogy or historical topics that are open to the public are held at 1 PM CST on the first Saturday of the month except for January, July, and August. See the Society Newsletter for details, call (707) 448-8614, or https://www.scgsca.org/ for more information.