The following is an announcement from the Massachusetts Genealogical Council (MGC):
ALERT: MGC urges all genealogists who care about access to vital records to act now!
Legislative bills (H-3642, H-3643, and H-3644, petitioned by Plymouth Rep. Thomas J. O’Brien, et al.), currently pending in the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee, are being pushed for passage within two weeks. They will close public records that have been open for nearly 400 years as well as the indexes to them.
We all must contact our Massachusetts state Representatives and Senators to oppose these three (O’Brien) bills for the following reasons:
The bills call for restricting access to all birth records since 1915 and all marriage and death records since 1955. These records are currently open public records and are the entry point for genealogical and medical history research. Restricting public access to the indexes of these records is unprecedented. It will deny use by all non-governmental individuals: researchers in genealogy, medical history, probate heirs, banks, journalists, and historians.
Contact should be made immediately. We stopped these bills in 2003 – but now support for them in the legislature is formidable.
If YOU don’t speak now, these bills will change the face of genealogy in Massachusetts and beyond. MOST EFFECTIVE: a signed letter with your reasons for opposing these closures, using your own words. To view a sample letter for your legislators, click here http://home.comcast.net/~massgencouncil/ConstituentLetter.htm
ALSO: telephone calls, face to face meetings, and e-mails.
SHARE THIS ANNOUNCEMENT: urge your sympathetic relatives, friends, neighbors, and the professionals listed above to do the same.
Contact information for your representatives and senators is available at: http://www.mass.gov/legis/, your town clerk, the state house at (617) 722-2000, the postal address is: Representative (or Senator) _______, State House, Room _______, Boston, MA 02133.
Researchers who are not Massachusetts residents, but do rely on genealogical resources in Massachusetts are urged to contact the sponsors of these bills and remind them of both the tourist dollard generated by out of state researchers, and the 2006 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference logo FGS NEHGS - Birthplace of American Genealogy - Boston 2006 http://www.fgs.org/2006conf/FGS-2006.htm