Those records were supposed to be open, after all, and we would fight for them. But one week later, a small miracle happened. The Deputy Attorney General decided that there was no need to go to mediation after all. She would instruct the Department of Health to put all the files on a small hard drive and send it to Alec in the mail, along with an invoice for the cost of the records and the drive.
Now, that might sound like a lot of money, but really, a one-time charge to get about five million records and years of data released to the public domain forever, plus avoiding all the costs of litigation? That sounded like a very good deal. Reclaim The Records made plans to reimburse Alec for the cost of these records, with his agreement that they would go online for free without any kind of usage restrictions, and we got our credit card ready. And then?
Another small miracle. They just gave us the data! Why did they do this?
More US genealogy records now online
New Jersey is one of only a handful of states where a requestor who wins an open records lawsuit will also automatically win payment of all their attorneys fees and court costs. This is unusual; in most other states, including New York, the decision whether to award attorneys fees is a totally separate question from whether the records were being wrongfully withheld from the public. Alec sent us a copy of the data as soon as he received it. We started to put it all online at the Internet Archive. And then we realized a few years were missing.
Searchable Databases and Records Request Forms
The New Jersey Department of Health did not have a complete set of their own state marriage index! Luckily, we were able to figure out that the New Jersey State Archives in Trenton had copies of the missing years of data on microfilm. The similarly nice people at FamilySearch then agreed to scan the microfilms for us, and the six missing Brides Index microfilms went online a few months later in December We also gave a heads-up e-mail to some friends in the genealogical community about the impending data release.
- Mosquitoes carrying virus that can cause brain inflammation and even death found in New Jersey.
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All the major websites you would hope or expect to see this data will have it online eventually, and multiple transcription projects are being planned, although it may take a year or two for everything to wind up freely text-searchable. And as for Alec? And you should probably tell him thank you for having the great idea to go after these New Jersey records in the first place.
One more fun fact: at one point in this records fight, a New Jersey government official casually mentioned to Alec that only a New Jersey state resident could file an OPRA request.
This government official was slightly misinformed, as a new court case just this past April decided that OPRA requestors no longer need to prove in-state residency. We in the genealogical community are the beneficiaries of his forbearance. We at Reclaim The Records were able to step in and work with Alec on this project because we finally became a real c 3 registered non-profit earlier this year, and have quietly been fundraising for the past few months.
We want to keep reclaiming and publishing records like this New Jersey marriage index. And we want to keep helping genealogists like Alec with legal assistance and financial support to reclaim any new records they may discover. If another genealogist comes to us tomorrow needing help with another awesome records project, we want to be able to say yes to them too. Record Type: Marriage Records.
Record Physical Format: Digital Images. Number of Records Estimated : approximately five million.
Me: I read you loud and clear. Our EIN is Well that layout is missing four more columns of data, which are on the next page! So do be careful to check at least one page ahead, too. Meet Alec Ferretti He may look young, but Alec Ferretti been a serious genealogist for more than a decade. And we thank you for your support.
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Please choose one. Catch up on your reading. ReclaimTheRecs on Twitter. EEE is a virus that causes brain inflammation and, though rare, can be fatal. Just earlier this month, a Massachusetts woman died after being infected with EEE. Public officials in New Jersey were already bracing for an increased amount of West Nile Virus this year, with the first case of the infection being reported on July 2 -- the earliest ever reported in the state. Last year, a record 61 people in New Jersey were reportedly infected with West Nile.
But EEE has also been making its presence known. For comparison, the state only had one reported case in 9 years prior, between and Approximately a third of people infected with EEE die, and there's currently no specific treatment for the virus, according to the CDC. There's no specific treatment for West Nile Virus, either.