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The Value of Open Public Records

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The Value of Open Public Records

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Genealogical Council and the Boston Public Library

6-7:30 pm Monday November 9, 2015
Commonwealth Salon, Boston Public Library, Copley Square

The program is free, registration is not required. Attendees are encouraged to express their opinions and concerns in this open forum for discussion.

Sharon Sergeant, MGC Vice President, will moderate a multidisciplinary panel of experts and attendees to discuss how open public records benefit our society and citizens in practical applications today.

Massachusetts was an early adopter of open public records:
From the Body of Liberties, Approved by the Massachusetts Bay Colony General Court in 1639 and published in 1641.


We will discuss how open public records benefit our society and citizens, ensuring that all laws and regulations are followed to protect civil rights, inheritance and property rights, historical and medical research advancement, records preservation and access as well as the repatriation of remains for fallen soldiers. Open public records provides citizens, legislators, journalists, attorneys, scholars, archivists, librarians and individual citizens with information needed to honor and maintain our democracy.


Robert Ambrogi, is an attorney specializing in the intersection of law, media and technology. Internationally known for his editing, writing and blogging, he is the Executive Director, Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association and frequently testifies on open records and open meetings issues.

Melinde Lutz Byrne is an author, editor, genealogist, Boston University CPE Program Director, Cohen Center Fellow, a trained forensic facial reconstruction artist, a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists (FASG) and Certified Genealogist (CG) by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. She writes and testifies on local and national open records value.

Leah McGrath Goodman is an award winning author, historian, international investigative journalist, finance editor for Newsweek magazine. She testified about open records access issues at the 2015 U. S. Congressional hearings and has written about money, politics and culture for Fortune, The Financial Times, Barron's, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Marie Claire, Forbes and Institutional Investor.

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Sharon Sergeant is a forensic genealogist and created the Problem Solving Techniques and Technology module for Genealogical Research Program at Boston University's Center for Professional Education. Her project specialties include research for non-fiction, memoir and biography publications, international tracing and property settlements, provenance of artifact collections, large migration group patterns (US, Ireland, Canada, France, England, Scotland, Italy, Germany), occupational group trends (mariner, mail and stagecoach, railroad, printers and authors), records access advisory, multi-media technology, team building, educational programs and event planning. Sharon is the 2013-17 MGC Vice President, a member of MGC's Civil Records Committee, past Program Director and Secretary of MGC.


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