Imagine a world where access to genealogically important records is cut off. That is becoming a reality in some states across the country and the legislation is spreading. Thankfully, a very vocal group of genealogists is rallying support and advocating on behalf of family historians to prevent laws from cutting off access to valuable records.
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the Public Records Access Monitoring Committee of International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS), shared some of the hurdles genealogists are encountering.
Tune in below to learn more about RPAC‘s efforts and how you can help,
Genealogists’ Declaration of Rights
WHEREAS, Americans have pursued the research of their family heritage since the beginning of our country; and
WHEREAS, millions of Americans derive enjoyment from genealogical exploration, consistent with the pursuit of happiness recognized by the founders of our country in our Declaration of Independence; and
WHEREAS, Americans derive substantial emotional benefit from genealogical exploration into their heritage; and
WHEREAS, many Americans derive financial benefit from the practice of professional genealogy and have performed such throughout this nation’s history; and
WHEREAS, genealogists make meaningful contributions to the fields of forensic genealogy, identification of kinships, determining the facts in legal cases such as probate court, cases involving tribal and other relationships; and
WHEREAS, thousands of historical and genealogical societies, libraries, museums, and other institutions and associations have been established throughout our land to assist all Americans in the pursuit of their family heritage; and
WHEREAS, genealogy adds substantially to the ethnic, cultural, and racial richness of which our country is composed; and
WHEREAS, the American people have recognized that the right to open government and unfettered access to the records of our government are rights which find expression in the constitutions and legislation of our federal and state governments and which enrich the lives of all Americans; and
WHEREAS, genealogists have been at the forefront of efforts to protect and preserve the precious records and documents of our genealogical and historical heritage; and
WHEREAS, genealogists, no less than other Americans, are vitally concerned for personal privacy and safety from untoward acts that diminish our freedom; and
WHEREAS, most records, including vital records, have, for all of our nation’s history, been substantially open to access,
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT KNOWN
That we, the undersigned genealogists, in pursuance of our individual and collective rights as
Americans, do hereby
That genealogists possess the right to the pursuit of genealogical exploration through unfettered access to the records of our government; and
WE CALL upon our governmental representatives to recognize our rights by;
PRESERVING the freedom of the American people to access the public records of our government in a timely and orderly manner through appropriate legislation; and
REFRAINING from legislation which would prevent or render extraordinarily difficult access to the public records, principally birth, marriage, and death records collected by our state and federal governmental agencies; and
PROMOTING those principles that enhance, not diminish, our freedom of access to records; and
CELEBRATING with genealogists the valuable benefits of exploring, researching, and compiling the histories of our families, and as a result, the history of our exceptional nation.
To sign the Genealogists’ Declaration of Rights, visit http://bit.ly/gen-declaration.