Using Article 78 to Get a Copy of a New York State Birth Certificate for Italian Dual Citizenship

The New York Department of Health will only issue certified birth certificates to a person named on the birth certificate i.e. the child or the parents.  My grandmother, born in 1912, passed away in 1997, long after both her parents. Since everyone on her birth certificate is dead, I need a court order to obtain a copy of this document for my Italian dual citizenship application.

Article 78 proceedings provide a mechanism for individuals to request copies of these vital records. The person named on the birth certificate must be dead. You must provide proof of death as well as proof you are related to the individual. If your parent or grandparent is still alive and won’t order a copy of their birth certificate for you, you are out of luck.

I used this step by step guide created by Samantha Genova  as well as the guide attorney Cheryl Forchilli shared with the Dual US-Italian Citizenship Facebook group. If you are going through the process, I highly recommend you look at both of these guides and search the FB group for ‘Article 78.’

Thanks to the non-profit Reclaim the Records which has worked so hard to make these records publicly available.

Where to File

The Article 78 Proceeding should be filed in the Supreme Court of the county which holds the record. This means you may file in the county in which your relative was born if you want to request a record from the town clerk or you can file in Albany, where the Department of Health which issues state records is located.

My grandmother was born in a very small town and I’m not sure the clerk would be familiar with how to handle this kind of request so I chose to file in Albany where they are used to this sort of thing.

Make sure the state has a copy of the record. Some people get all the way through the process only to learn the state doesn’t have a copy. You can search the New York State Birth Index up to 1942 on Ancestry with a paid membership or browse the index for free on Internet Archive.

Using Article 78 to Obtain Multiple Copies of a New York State Birth Certificate

If you need multiple copies, ask for them in your petition. You don’t need to name other family members as petitioners or give an explanation. I adjusted the language in the petition template to say

‘… to deliver to Petitioner six long-form, certified signed and sealed copies of the (a) birth certificate for Petitioner’s grandmother…’

I don’t know yet if it will work but hope I can save some of my family members from spending $400 for a single document. People in the FB group have reported mixed results. Some received court orders allowing them only one document. Others were sent only one copy despite a court order for more.

Include a Return Date!

The return date is the date you are asking the court to review your request. It must be at least 3 Fridays in the future. I’d suggest adding an extra week or two to be safe.

I filed my petition, request for judicial intervention (RJI), and exhibits on 9/12. I received an index number the next day. I added the index number to my notice of petition and uploaded that a week later (after a clerk reminded me!).

Both my notice of petition and RJI were returned due to a missing return date. The notice of petition template I used simply said ‘at the court’s earliest convenience.’ Some people have had their paperwork processed using that language but mine was flagged, perhaps because I did not include a return date at all on the RJI.

I changed my notice of petition to say ‘on 14 October 2022 or at the court’s earliest availability.’

Correcting Your Petition

While correcting my RJI and Notice of Petition, I noticed that my petition hadn’t scanned correctly – a post it note on the first page obscured some text. To file an amended petition, log into your NYSCEF account and navigate to your Document List. Click File Document to this Case. Select ‘Documents not related to a motion/petition/OSC under the Non-Motion Documents section. You should find ‘Petition (Amended)’ in the drop down list.

Pending vs Processed

After re-submitting those three documents, I noticed that while my amended Petition was processed, both the RJI and Notice of Petition were still stuck in ‘pending’ mode. According to the NYSCEF Resource Center, a ‘pending’ document has been received and is under review.

After several days of waiting for pending to change to processed, I contacted the Albany Supreme Court to ask if I was supposed to do something. Their number is 518-285-8989. I learned that these documents would be ‘pending’ until my case was reviewed on my return date of 14 October 2022. The clerk gave me the all clear to serve both the Commissioner of the Department of Health and the Attorney General.

On another note, I found it a little confusing to figure out who to contact with questions. Every time I view my case, I see contact info for the county clerk. I was using those phone numbers and email addresses without much luck until someone in that office redirected me to the Supreme Court.

Serving Notice from outside New York via USPS

Service must be made by someone who is not a party to the case. My husband mailed my documents for me via USPS certified mail.

We ran into a major snag at the post office when trying to serve the Attorney General. On their website, the address is simply

Office of the Attorney General
The Capitol
Albany, NY 12224-0341

My local post office would not accept this address. Their address verification system demanded a street address because I was sending via certified mail. I couldn’t find one online and called the Attorney General’s office. They told me to use

Office of the Attorney General
#1 The State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224-0341

My post office didn’t like this either but a different clerk allowed me to override the validation and send anyway.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten in this process so far. Hopefully in a few weeks I will have another update!

Grinding Wet Sprouted Grains

I did not realize how hard it would be to grind wet sprouted grains. Here are some lessons I learned:

  • Most grain mills are not designed to grind wet grain. Wetting the burr could damage it. The same applies to fancy coffee grinders.
  • A food processor works better than a blender but neither result in anything like flour. This is not a good long term solution due to the risk of motor burnout.
  • Grinding in a mortar and pestle takes forever.
  • Some suggest drying the sprouted grain in a food dehydrator and then grinding using a grain mill. My first thought was that the heat may destroy some of the enzymes and nutrients that theoretically make sprouted grains healthier. On the other hand, if I am baking bread, wouldn’t that also kill the enzymes?
  • Some people run the grain through a meat grinder several times. I have invested $10 in a “Universal #1 Food Chopper” similar to this one,  but I haven’t tried it yet.

Historian Rachel Laudan’s blog has some interesting notes on wet grinding.

Sprouted Rye Grain Bread

In his book Bread Revolution, Peter Reinhart includes a recipe for flourless bread baked from self sprouted grains. This experiment is loosely based on that recipe.

I soaked three cups of Maine Grain rye berries for six hours. I needed 3 cups of pulp and wound up with enough for six cups.

I then rinsed the grains and and let them sit overnight. In 24 hours, a few had sprouted but not many. I rinsed again. About 36 hours after the initial soaking, the majority had sprouts. The rye did not sprout as evenly or quickly as farro.

I planned to crush the rye berries using a stone mortar and pestle to avoid the heat generated by a mechanical grinding process. However, after ten minutes of pounding, I had about a third cup of pulp. I used a coffee grinder for the rest. The output was quite coarse.

The recipe:

-18 oz sprouted rye berry pulp

-3.3 oz water

-1.5 oz sprouted wheat flour

– .5 oz yeast

-4 grams salt

The end result wasn’t exactly bread. Even after 24 hours, attempts to cut a slice resulted in crumbles, probably a result of using nearly 100% rye that couldn’t quite be called flour or even ground.

For my experiments, I tossed two ounces of crumbles in omelets made with two eggs and a pat of butter. Meals were eaten at breakfast with coffee and cream.

The results were surprising. Rye has a low GI and GL compared to other grains and I expected it to have less of an effect than whole wheat breads. Also, another study I’d read suggested that bread made from coarser grains may raise glucose less than bread made with finer grains.

I lost some of my data and will not repeat this experiment to recapture. The end result wasn’t very tasty and I was not sorry that it spoiled quickly.

Effect of Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Flourless English Muffins on Blood Glucose

Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Flourless English Muffins


These English muffins are made from sprouted whole grains and beans. The grains are not milled into flour. The muffins are purchased frozen and remain in my freezer.

The product nutrition label states each muffin weighs about 76g (2.7 oz) and has 30g of carbs. Six muffins in two different packages were weighed using a MyWeigh scale. The muffins ranged in weight from 3.05-3.25 oz (86.5-92.1g). The average weight was 3.13 oz.


To test the muffins, I ate one each morning with two poached eggs, a half pat of butter, and coffee with cream. I’ve typically fasted at least 12 hours before breakfast.

Every other day, I took 1000mg of apple cider vinegar in the form of two capsules just before starting the meal.

I recorded the time I started eating and the time I ended. I scanned my Libre 2 sensor every fifteen minutes. This was a manual process and prone to some error. I did not eat anything else and continued to scan until my blood sugar went back to baseline or it was time for lunch.


After repeating the experiment six times, the vinegar capsules look extremely promising.



Thank you to Quantified Diabetes for sharing your R notebook so I could create these graphs and also for inspiring these experiments!

I did ‘feel’ the vinegar in my stomach. I would not use these capsules every day but could see using them on a special occasion since I don’t have access to insulin or other medication that can spot treat out of control numbers. I like the capsules because I don’t enjoy drinking vinegar and also worry about damage to tooth enamel.

However, it is clear that eating an entire flourless English muffin is not something I should do on a regular basis. I will continue these experiments using 1 or 2 oz of bread instead of 3.

Evaluating Text Expanders for Genealogy Source Citations

Writing source citations can be time consuming. While it’s dangerous to rely on templates for source citations, being able to type a few letters and have a basic template for a frequently used collection simplifies the process.

Text expanders are tools which allow the user to enter a keyboard shortcut and insert a larger block of text. A few months ago I decided to look for a text expander I could use with Microsoft Word. My requirements were simple:

  • Easy to add citation templates.
  • Formatting options such as italics
  • Not subscription based

My preference was for an expander which prompted me to complete a small form using variable data rather than a template where I had to type over labels like First Name, Last Name, Title, etc.

Text Expander MicroReviews


A great tool with everything I need, but $40/year.

Open source, cross-platform. Formatting not supported yet. Interesting project, but not for this purpose.

Open source, Windows. No variable data or rich text options.


Microsoft and Mac, $4.99. Has variable text options and formatting but it is painful to set up source citation templates. Adding a template with variable options requires a lot of unavoidable pointing and clicking. If I could cut and paste or upload a CSV file, I would seriously consider this.


Windows. Requires using % for variables and formatting which makes entering templates tedious. Formatting is not consistent. Saved changes do not persist.

Auto Text Expander:

Windows. Easiest to use but does not seem to be available anymore. The link to buy is broken and a Facebook review from 2018 suggests the company no longer responds to messages.


Windows. Great documentation, only $19. Text expansion is just one feature. Entering citation templates is not easy but not too bad. Includes variable text and rich text formatting options. This came with a lot of presets I had to disable.

In the end, none of these solutions satisfied me. There’s a reason many tools don’t support formatting. Developers have to stay on top of the latest Office  updates. The $40/year cost of TextExpander seems more reasonable in this context.

Entering citation templates was an extremely tedious process in most of these tools. I worried I would need to do it more than once if there was some kind of breaking update.

Finding Bread I Can Eat – Literature Review

This is a list of articles relevant to the experiments I am trying. I will update this list as I go.

I have no medical background. If I have misinterpreted the results of any of these studies, please let me know.

Wholegrain Particle Size Influences Postprandial Glycemia in Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Crossover Study Comparing Four Wholegrain Breads

This small study found that bread made with larger grain particles had less of an effect on blood sugar than bread made with more finely ground particles. Roller milled and stone ground grains were tested. Stone milled grains had fewer fine particles than roller milled grains.

Effect of Wholegrain Flour Particle Size in Bread on Glycaemic and Insulinaemic Response among People with Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomised Crossover Trial

This small study examined the effect of three different types of flour: very fine roller milled, fine stone ground, and coarse stone ground. The population tested was pre-diabetic rather than diabetic and the results surprisingly did not show a significant difference between types of flour. The authors speculate that the flour they used had fewer large particles than the flour used in other studies. Another very interesting suggestion is that the stone ground flours they used may have been processed at higher heat which leads to more starch damage. Starch damage increases the glycemic response. Thought provoking discussion.


Finding Bread I Can Eat – Background

Some facts about me which may or may not be relevant:

  • – I’m a woman in my early 40s.
  • – I have a family history of Type 2 diabetes on both sides of my family.  I did not know that I had a 40% chance of developing the disease if my father had it.
  • – I have been a vegetarian for 30+ years, sometimes vegan. My diet, even as a child, was focused on whole foods and plants. I have never eaten much processed food. I grow and forage my own food. I buy direct from farms. The junk food I ate was artisanal or close to the source i.e. eclairs from a local bakery, ice cream from a farm.
  • – I am a serious amateur bread baker. I have volunteered and attended the Kneading Conference, belonged to the Bread Bakers Guild of America, and built a wood fired oven in my backyard. I am passionate about pizza.
  • – I have been 20-50 lbs overweight for about ten years. I ballooned to 170 in 2018, lost about 15 lbs in 2020, and have lost another 15 in the past three months.
  • – The diabetes diagnosis felt like it came out of nowhere. I skipped my annual physical last year because of Covid.
  • – My ALT/AST numbers had been on the high side of normal for years. I now wonder if this was an early warning sign of things to come.

Finding Bread I Can Eat – Project Overview

Inspired by Quantified Diabetes, I am starting a project to identify a delicious grain based bread I can bake myself which does not raise my blood sugar over 140-150.

In August 2021, I was diagnosed with T2 diabetes with an A1C of 12. I began taking 1000mg of Metformin and immediately cut out all grains, sugars, and foods high on the glycemic index. I switched to a lower carb diet, a challenge as a vegetarian, and ate 45-100 carbs per day. I also restricted calories to lose weight. Three months later, my A1C is at 5.8 and I feel I am in a good place to undertake this experiment without damaging my health.

My plan is to eat various types of grain based breads and record how they affect my blood sugar using my Libre continuous glucose monitor.

I am learning as I go and do not have a medical background. This research will be anecdotal rather than statistical. If anyone else has self-experimented in this way, I would love to hear about it!

Literature Review

Possible Experiments
– The Control: My Favorite Bakery Sour Dough
– White Bread
– Pizza
– Sprouted Grain, flour free bread, store bought.
– Sprouted Grain, flour, store bought.
– Sprouted Grain, flour, self sprouted and milled.

World of Trouble: A Philadelphia Quaker Family’s Journey through the American Revolution by Richard Godbeer

Like the title says, Richard Godbeer’s World of Trouble explores the problems faced by Quakers living in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War. He focuses on one specific family to illustrate the problems faced by many.  During the Revolutionary War, many Quakers refused to take sides, not only due to their non-violent religious beliefs, but because Quakers formed a merchant class which did not welcome the disruption to trade or the drastic changes in class structure the Revolutionary War brought.

Before the War, Henry Drinker was a successful merchant engaged in international trade.  He and his wife Elizabeth enjoyed a pleasant, prosperous life, one that becomes more difficult after Henry decides to sell British tea during the tea boycott. In September 1777 Henry Drinker and 20 other Quakers were arrested on suspicion of supporting the British enemy and sent to a prison in Virginia.  During this time, Elizabeth has to contend with both Americans and British trying to seize her property and commandeer her home as the city changes hands from one side to another.

We know so much about this time in the Drinker’s lives thanks in large part to the diary Elizabeth kept throughout her life.  She recorded many details about day to day matters, like her family’s health issues and the struggles of dealing with domestic servants.  It’s a wonderful source to learn more not only about the Drinkers, but also about the paternalistic way Quakers treated their servants and their attitudes towards illegitimate children and interracial relationships.

World of Trouble is not a flat chronological read.  The author takes key moments in the lives of the Drinkers, like Henry and Elizabeth’s engagement, and shapes a narrative that includes information about general customs while telling a story specific to Elizabeth and Henry. The couple are interesting enough to keep the story going and the historical facts flow easily around them.  The footnotes are exceptional and will help anyone with a research interest in Philadelphia Quakers or the city of Philadelphia during the Revolution.

George Magoon and the Downeast Game War by Edward Ives

This book, both well-researched and fun, gives readers a well-rounded picture of George Magoon and other poachers who lived in Downeast Maine when game laws were first introduced.

Edward Ives’ book begins with a brief history of Wesley and Crawford, two settlements in the remote part of Maine where the George Magoon stories take place. This was a land of tough living, deep woods, and a life scratched out of nothing.

The author then examines the evolution of game laws. After the Civil War, the idea of the ‘Gentleman Hunter’ became popular in the United States. Game laws were introduced in part because those in charge believed that rich city folk were better stewards of natural resources than their poor country brethren whom they accused of slaughter for profit, a far less worthy pursuit than hunting for sport. Prior to their introduction in the state of Maine, large amounts of game were mowed down and put up for sale in the Boston Market – where they were presumably purchased by the rich city folk, but that’s a different topic.

With a solid backstory behind us, Ives then moves on to a factual account of George Magoon’s life. George Magoon was born and raised in Downeast Maine and lived along the Airline Road. He had the largest family in town and an ailing wife. He was a subsistence farmer who always owed money to someone and poaching was a way to supplement his income and feed his family. Despite his slight criminality, his neighbors seemed to respect him, electing him to road commission and other similar positions.

From newspaper articles and court records, we know that George Magoon was sentenced to four months in prison for moose poaching because he couldn’t afford to pay the fine. A month into his sentence, he walked out of the prison yard and went home. A month after this straightforward escape, two wardens came to his home to arrest him and make him serve the rest of his sentence. Magoon took off running and one of the wardens shot him in the shoulder.

Despite his injury, he kept running and made it into the woods. No attempt was made to capture him after this, the remaining part of his prison sentence unserved and forgotten.

A year later, Magoon sued the two wardens for $5,000 each, a huge sum of money in the 1880s. While he did not win that amount of money, he did collect damages from each of the wardens.

Once we know what ‘really’ happened, we move on to the many folktales Ives collected from Magoon’s family members and other locals in the 1960s. Now we can really appreciate the factual groundwork Ives has laid out for us ahead of time as we compare and contrast the different versions of stories about George Magoon. Out of 20+ iterations of the tale, that fantastic ending to the prison escape story, the lawsuit, was only in two. Was that because it happened a year after the main event or because it is too outrageous a coda to be believed?

In addition to George Magoon, the author includes stories about two other folk heroes who battled against the wardens, Wilbur Day and Calvin Graves. Like in the George Magoon section, the author first establishes a factual account of the men’s lives and actions before moving on to the stories about them, comparing what is true with what has been added and showing how opinions have changed over the years.

The stories about George Magoon are about a good man who stood up to the Law telling him to stop doing something he’d always done. They are comedic compared to the more menacing and downright criminal stories about Wilbur Day or the cold-blooded murderer Calvin Graves. By presenting facts alongside each set of folktales, Ives helps us to see how much truth is in a legend and how much legend is in a man.