Reclaim The Records: Using Freedom of Information Laws for Genealogy

Brooke Ganz
Mar 13, 2019
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1m 29s
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Speaker's Introduction
1m 31s
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9m 16s
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Access Issues
3m 54s
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13m 55s
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How Do You FOIL?
20m 35s
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Records Pipeline
15m 37s
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We're Suing Missouri
14m 58s
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Announcements / prizes
4m 48s
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Questions / answers
17m 19s

About this webinar

Tired of being told by archives, libraries, and government agencies that the genealogical records you want are “unavailable”? We were too, so we figured out how to do something about it.  We're Reclaim The Records, a new not-for-profit activist group of more than 5,300 genealogists, researchers, historians, and journalists. We use Freedom of Information laws – and sometimes even lawsuits – to obtain copies of previously inaccessible archival record sets, which we then put online for free public use.

About the speaker

About the speaker

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, she is also the creator of LeafSeek, a f
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  1. Legacy Family Tree
    5 years ago

    Phenomenal! Have her back regularly for updates!

    Presenter was great!

    Really enjoyed tonight!!!!

    Slides were so easy to follow. Very informative webinar.

    So glad I listened tonight. Wonderful information – power to the people inspired! Thank you all for sharing this important information.

    So very informative! And well-presented. Unfortunately, I missed some of Brooke’s talk and will have to catch up later.

    Such enthusiasm — no wonder so successful.

    Such great work and information. I can’t wait to hear more and get updates!

    Thank you. Very helpfull

    That was a GREAT Webinar!

    This is encouraging. My home county has family records going back 200 years but the clerks are uncooperative and practically nothing is out there that wasn’t done by the local historical society. Thanks for the handout, it will be put to use.

    This one’s a 20+

    Three really top notch webinars this week!! Third Party DNA – Theory of Family Relativity – and now this one by Brooke

    Tons of valuable information.

    Totally awesome work you are doing

    Tremendous amount of information and a CAN-DO attitude getting beyond brick walls.

    Unquestionably the best presentation that I’ve seen/heard in a long time!

    Very dynamic speaker!

    very good i wish it was on a little earlier.

    Very informational and will help me with NY Genealogy.

    Very informative

    very informative for me since I am in New York

    Very interesting. Thank you!

    Very useful information. Wish there was more time. THank you very much!

    Very, very informative and helpful. Hope she will have future webinars.

    Way more information than I could have expected, and something I plan to support in the future because of all of the good it is doing for us.

    Well presented but not directly applicable to NZ

    What a marvelous webinar! Brooke is an excellent speaker! So enthusiastic! Thank you very much.

    Wonderful! I’m hoping that you’ll have it on for a repeat for things that I know I missed. Thanks so much. Great interview with Brooke.

    Would love to hear more!

    Wow this was a fantastic webinar. I am looking forward to checking all the links in the handout. Thank you so much Brooke for all you do.


    WOW! what an interesting presentation from an enthusiatic presenter.

    WOW!! I wish I had that much energy. Brooke, you’re impressive. Great webinar. Thank you.

  2. Legacy Family Tree
    5 years ago

    Great content and presentation – thank you Brooke!!!

    great information

    Great information and another Wonderful Webinar.

    Great information!

    Great information, but Brooke needs to slow down – talks a little too quickly.

    Great information, good presentation, grateful the resources were extended to audience.

    Great pubic speaker. I’m so proud of the work that Brooke has accomplished.

    great webinar about a great group!

    Great work they are doing in securing records.


    Greatest webinar ever.

    Have been following RtR for a while, this was great!

    Hurray for FOILers!

    I found it hard to take notes as fast as she was speaking, but I got some great websites to check out.

    I nominate this webinar for webinar of the year.

    I would rate this webinar as a 10 if that were possible! Great wealth of information, clearly presented, and with links that can be used imediately! I don’t care to write more because I am too anxious to start searching! Thank you!

    It was very informative.

    It’s always great to hear about new record sources and Activist Genealogists!

    Looking forward to more presentations by this presenter on this topic. Thank you!

    Lots of good information that I was not previously aware of and I need to do research in New York. She was very thorough and knowledgeable and I enjoyed it very much.

    lots of useful information

    Love Brooke and her organization. They have and do incredible work!! Thank you for setting up this webinar for free!! Kudos to all!!

    Love it! So informative. Have used FOIA to request genealogy records previously and am inspired to request more!

    Oh, wow! So much info about freedom of information laws packed into this webinar

    One of the best and most important and inspirational webinars ever. Please have Brooke back!



  3. Legacy Family Tree
    5 years ago

    A lot of great information. Very easy to follow and understand.

    Almost too much for 90 minutes. Fabulous information, but hard to take it all in in a short time.

    Amazing webinar. Explain more about Reclaim the records. Everyone genealogist needs to see the webinar.

    An absolutely fabulous webinar!

    Awesome info on ways to get ad places (now) to get info that wasn’t available before.


    Best webinar!

    Brooke Ganz was very informative, very passionate, and very entertaining! I learned a great deal, and would attend any other presentation where she spoke. Thank you so much for the opportunity!

    Brooke is always fantastic. Have heard her before and seen her at conferences. I’ve been using Reclaim the Records since she started it and I have made many breakthroughs. I also donate to Reclaim the Records. Hope more people will.

    Brooke is fabulous! Reclaim the Records is so important to everyone! Bring her back for more webinars please.

    Brooke talked really really fast, and these Texas ears had a hard time keeping up. She did cover a lot of material though, and did a fabulous job. Thanks for all the links!

    Brooke was absolutely fabulous. You can tell her knowledge and passion for this subject know no bounds. It is so exciting to see someone take their interests to this level. Brooke is definitely our hero!

    Brooke was amazing. Incredible content and fabulous personality. More of her, please!

    Brooke was articulate and covered a LOT of information in a short period of time. I learned so much information in this webinar. Stellar!

    Brooke was excellent. She is resilient. I applaud her efforts on behalf of genealogists and family historians. What an enormous contribution she has made and continues to make! Thanks for sharing so much valuable information.

    Enthusiastic speaker who presented a great deal of information!

    excellent go glad some one is making strides to have governments — THAT IS US FOLKS — comply !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Excellent information

    Excellent information about states records. But I am interested about Federal Records. Decades ago I was told that during WWII the FBI made secret records about prominent German born US citizens. My great grandfather was a banker in
    Cleveland Ohio; and I suspect a file was made on him. How do I get those records.

    Excellent information and excellent work on behalf of all genealogists.

    Excellent speaker – incredible information – wonderful presentation….hope Brooke Ganz can share more of her knowledge again soon! Thank you so much for this presentation….excellent!

    excellent topic, great speaker, way to promote genealogy activism, which is much needed these days! Thank you Brooke!!!!

    Excellent webinar! Full of valuable information.



    Excellent!! Interesting!! And very informative!!

    Fabulous. About 3 hours worth of material in 105 minures.


    Fantastic topic.


    found it most informative and empowering