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The Value of Open Public Records
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MGC's NERGC Panel on Open Records: Citizens Can Make a Difference
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How many deaths before the SSDI gets updated again?
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  Please join us at our Panel on Open Records, to be held at 1:45 PM on Saturday, April 18th, in session S-324, at the New England Regional Genealogical Conference in Providence, Rhode Island. Citizens can make an impact on our laws and regulations at several points in the legislative process: By working to submit bills that meet our needs and interests. By commenting on those bills as they go through the process of hearings and readings (votes). By continuing to be involved as legislation is implemented through regulation. Our panelists have insight on how citizens stay involved in government activities involving their interests. Please welcome Judy, Helen, and Teresa, all fresh from the trenches of advocating for access. The Legal Genealogist, Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, is a genealogist with a law degree. She writes, teaches and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics, ranging from using...
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At the National Genealogical Society's Conference in Richmond, Virginia last week, the Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC) announced the Genealogists' Declaration of Rights: a statement advocating open access to federal, state, and local public records. The Declaration affirms America’s long history of open public records, which has been threatened the last few years over concerns about identity theft and privacy. RPAC has worked with state and federal legislators as well as local public officials for more than twenty years in support of legislation and regulations that achieve a balance between access and privacy. The Declaration of Rights has been approved by the board of directors of the three sponsoring organizations: The National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS). To read the full press release click here: Press Release RPAC Declaration of Rights Ver4 (3). Now is the time to speak...
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  Members of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council board braved the elements in December to present the first of two talks introducing genealogy to State House staffers. By all accounts it was a great success and we are happy to announce the second talk in the series. Please join us! Learning about Family History Tuesday, March 18, 12:00pm – 1:30pm State Library, Massachusetts State House, Room 442 Bring your lunch and listen to Sharon Sergeant, Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt,CG, and Mary Ellen Grogan talk about the resources and techniques used to discover the story of your family. This is a follow-up to the talk on genealogy given on December 11. We will be discussing different aspects of research, but you will be able to follow the talk even if you weren’t able to attend in December. Sharon will be talking about various records and how one set of records will lead to...
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Every year, the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) holds a large national genealogical conference. The highlight of the conference for MGC this year was being awarded a Presidential Citation from D. Joshua Taylor, President of FGS, in recognition of our outstanding work in ensuring records access for genealogists! When our FGS delegate was called to the front of the huge hall to accept the award in front of all of her peers she was quite tickled and very proud. More than 1,500 genealogists gathered this year in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to learn, share, network and stock up on reading material! FGS members include genealogical societies, libraries, family societies, archives and companies, and all share the goal of studying the history of families. Regular ol' genealogists attended the conference in abundance and were not disappointed. MGC had a presence in the Exhibit Hall in the area known as Society Showcase, a small, village-like...
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  Jan Meisels Allen discusses PRAMC activities.Photograph by Barbara Mathews.   Early in August Boston had the honor of hosting the annual convention of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. The Park Plaza was abuzz for a full week of presentations, an exhibit hall, and cultural events. Many MGC officers and members attended. I was there on Monday for a presentation of IAJGS's Public Records Access and Monitoring Committee (PRAMC) given in conjuction with the Records Access and Preservation Committee here in the U.S.. Jan Meisels Allan, Kenneth Ryesky, and Janet Alpert presented the well-attended Monday session. There was a lot of material to cover. PRAMC looks at records access issues internationally. The European Union is considering a General Data Protection Plan. Among the types of data considered for protection are the materials that genealogists commonly access. People would be required to opt-in to having their information accessed in the...
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