Reclaim The Records - Way to Go!
New York State Death Indexes Online and Free!
Many of you know that I am from New York. I have generations of relatives from there back to the 1700s. New York State is notorious for being anti-genealogy in allowing access to various records. However, Reclaim The Records, a non-profit organization, is petitioning New York State and…they are winning their battles!
Have you heard of this organization, Reclaim The Records? Hopefully, as a genealogist or family historian you have. They are petitioning states for record access – records we need, but have been denied access in the past.
Here’s one of my personal examples:
One of my family lines is Dix. The surname appears as Dick, Dicks, Dix (latter spelling is more contemporary.) A few years ago, I found my great grandmother’s burial – Esther Dix, 1835-1894. 
Upon feeling this excitement that offered the opportunity of new and more information, I sent New York State a death certificate request for her record as Esther Dix, as above, but was rejected as they could not locate the record. Now, due to the efforts of Reclaim The Records, and posting the death indexes online, she is clearly listed…and indexed as Esther Dick, of Brunswick. 
Had I been able to access the death indexes, I would have realized the alternate spelling, versus where a paid employee who received my request would not have looked at other spellings variations, thus the waste of $22. These are our relatives, our families. Genealogical records should be accessible (and free…but I’ll settle for accessible.)
Reclaim The Records is also expanding into other states like Missouri and New Jersey.
For more information about the organization, please view their webpage and efforts at:
To view New York State Death Indexes, 1880-1956, for free, they are housed at Internet Archive: https://archive.org/
Here’s a small view at how the New York State Death Indexes look per year at archive.org:
Thank you Reclaim The Records for your efforts and success!
1. Findagrave.com, New Mount Ida Cemetery, Troy, Rensselaer County, New York, Photo by: Alysia, Memorial# 90768770.
2. New York State Death Index - 1894, Esther Dick, digital image, www.archive.org.