Sunday, January 29, 2012

International Holocaust Memorial Day

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

In memory of the Holocaust, the United Nations (UN) remembers on January 27 each year, this day which is called International Holocaust Remembrance Day. An article, "Heroic Act of Resistance at Auschwitz-Birkenau" was published in commemoration http://ifounditinthearchives.tumblr.com/
The article has a link http://tinyurl.com/87dok66
original url:
http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/78917641?access_key=key-p6qpxwab1cyf9b2k63i of a rarely viewed Army Intelligence report. The report was declassified in 2010 and the Associated Press found it at the US National Archives as part of their ongoing effort to mine the eight million secret records that have been declassified under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998.

Thank you to Randy Herschaft of the Associated Press for bringing this to our attention.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

(USA) Genealogists Not Invited To Testify on SSDI at House Ways and Means Subcommittee Hearing

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

IAJGS as one of the 3 voting members of the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) http://www.fgs.org/rpac/index.phphas has been coordinating with the other managing members, FGS and NGS and the RPAC chairman, David Rencher, chief genealogist of FamilySearch (see website for a listing of all the genealogical organizations that are participating on RPAC) in addressing the genealogical community's deep concerns over the recent actions to limit or prevent access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) [the commercial version of the Death Master File, produced by the Social Security Administration]. Four bills have been introduced in Congress (HR 3475, S1534, HR 3482, HR 3215) that if enacted would limit access or totally deny access to the SSDI due to concerns that access to the SSDI has lead to identity theft by identity thieves, obtaining Social Security Numbers of deceased children and applying for tax refunds for these non related children.

For the past several months, IAJGS and others from RPAC, have been in discussions with the House Ways and Means Committee Social Security Subcommittee staff on the genealogical community's needs for access to SSDI including the Social Security Numbers [SSN], including providing them with suggested legislative language addressing the concerns of using deceased
children's SSN's while still permitting legitimate users --including genealogists--access to the SSDI . Several very prominent genealogists were lined up to testify on the hope that the genealogical community would be an invited testifier--even with only one representative. We were advised the upcoming hearing would not be specific to any of the current bills in
Congress but rather to address the issues and what legislation should include.

IAJGS was the coordinator and the lead spokesperson with the Subcommittee staff. As such IAJGS was advised by the Ways and Means Committee Social Security Subcommittee staff on January 26 that due to their very limited time and the issues growing more complex, they decided not to go with a genealogist witness. They commented that we may submit testimony for the record. The decision as to whom may be a presenter at a hearing is made by the Subcommittee chairperson, in coordination with the ranking subcommittee member and with subcommittee staff. The decision is not appealable. The hearing information is available on the House Ways and Means Committee website--February 2 at 9:00 AM.
http://tinyurl.com/7mp5op8

original url:
http://waysandmeans.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=276835

Please read the hearing advisory at: http://tinyurl.com/7xojjc3

original url:
http://waysandmeans.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=276834

For information on submitting a statement see:
http://tinyurl.com/6lu7dw7

original url:
http://waysandmeans.house.gov/committeesubmissions/

Statements may be submitted through February 16- two weeks following the hearing. How and where are located in the link immediately above.

You will be able to watch the hearing live from the convenience of where ever your computer is-- go to: http://tinyurl.com/6uq9pd7 full url:
http://waysandmeans.house.gov/Calendar/?EventTypeID=149&CatagoryID=4772
and either click on the hearing or scroll down to the bottom right of the screen where it says committee videos (http://waysandmeans.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2) and we should see it live. I have been told it will also be archived so one can watch it any time.

To learn who is on the Subcommittee: Go to the Committee website: http://waysandmeans.house.gov/About/Members.htm
The people who serve on the full Ways and Means Committee are listed first and scroll down to the Subcommittee on Social Security-- Each of the members own websites may be accessed by clicking on their names under the full committee.

This subcommittee hearing is to hear what should be in legislation. The IAJGS and RPAC have provided staff with legislative language and concepts, held several conference calls and had numerous e-mails and phone calls with the staff...they received our input-- if they do anything with it we will only know when the new bill is proposed. Therefore, when/if a new bill is introduced it will be heard in both the House and Senate- and an opportunity exists for more input at those times.

For those who are interested in ideas on this issue go to the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) website http://www.fgs.org/rpac/index.php where there is a talking points paper.

Needless to say IAJGS and RPAC are very disappointed that the genealogical community was not invited to be a presenter at the February 2 hearing. IAJGS is planning to submit a statement. As more information is made available it will be posted to this forum.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Sunday, January 22, 2012

(USA) National Archives Attempting To Restore the 1973 Fire-Damaged Military Records

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

In 1973 a devastating fire burned millions of US military records located in the St. Louis, Missouri facility--we all thought the records were lost forever. A recent article in the St. Louis Beacon, http://tinyurl.com/7ya32sy
original url:
http://www.stlbeacon.org/arts-life/neighborhoods/out-and-about/114919-profile-of-national-archives-at-st-louis
relates the story of the restoration efforts being undertaken by the National Archives, in St. Louis. We will not see all of the millions of documents restored in our lifetimes, but they have already treated 15,000-20,000 records out of the 6.5 million burned.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Virginia Vital Records Access Bills Reported Out of Committee

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen
On January 19, the Senate Education and Health Committee unanimously reported out (approved) SB 309 on marriage, divorce records http://tinyurl.com/79jfq8x original URL:
(http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?121+ful+SB309+pdf) and SB 310 on death records http://tinyurl.com/7f5wu6l original URL (http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?121+ful+SB310+pdf ) by Senator Blevins reducing the "closed" periods for marriage and death records from the current 50 years to 25 years. The companion legislation HB 272 http://tinyurl.com/7p2n88b original
URL:(http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?121+ful+HB272+pdf) also passed out of committee.

The other chamber will start to consider bills in mid-February.

Further information will be posted when available.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Announcement: JGS of Greater Miami

JGS of Greater Miami will be meeting Sunday, January 29, 2012, 10:00am Greater Miami Jewish Federation, 4200 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL
Free Secure Parking on site. Press #001on the box and the gate will open.
Have ID. Special complimentary refreshments.

If you're in the Miami area, don't miss this exciting and unique presentation with the fabulous Steve Morse, (http://stevemorse.org) creator of the "One Step" genealogy search engine as we celebrate our 23rd Anniversary. Steve has been presenting his 1940 census lectures nationwide, but we are the only JGS to have this special bonus that Steve agreed to do for our members. Five lucky members will be selected (more if time permits) after his presentation and Steve Morse will run your search for you.

This time we must charge $5.00 admission for non-members. Any guest who joins the fee will be waived and that person will be eligible for the drawing. Remember, for the extra bonus only members and those joining at the door, will be eligible for a chance to have Steve Morse do their search for the 1940 ED.  Don't miss this exciting and unique opportunity.

Contact Frances Waxman, VP/Membership (fjw6@comcast.net) if you plan to attend so we can provide for sufficient refreshments, or call her cell at 786-210-7966.

Guests and their friends are always welcome. $5 admission this time only. As always no admission fee for members. Come and enjoy the morning of genealogy with your fellow researchers. This should be  a very informative session. We look forward to seeing you there to share this and for us to share with you.

Joan Parker,
Immediate Past President
JGS of Greater Miami, Inc.

New Project: Jewish Cemetery of Miskolc, Hungary

Project Description
The objective is to secure sufficient funding to photograph 18th and 19th century headstones and photograph 20th century cemetery books for the Jewish cemetery in Miskolc, Hungary. The 18th and 19th century written records were lost in the Holocaust and such information is currently only available by visiting and searching the overgrown part of the cemetery. A list of names of 20th century deaths were recently made available at the Miskolc synagogue. Another list of 20th century burials is available at the Miskolc cemetery. We estimate that there are approximately 16,000 18th and 19th century headstones, which will be documented by taking 10,000-12,000 photographs in addition to 600 photographs of pages of the 20th century cemetery records.


Miskolc is the third largest city in Hungary. In the 1940s it was reported to have a Jewish population of about 14,000. The city's total population was at that time about 100,000. The cemetery was started about 1792 and its size is reported to be 6 1/2 hectares or 65,000 m2. A picture of the cemetery's surface and geographic location in Miskolc can be accessed at http://binged.it/qZXHa8.


The project involves removing vegetation from the overgrown part of the cemetery, cleaning headstones, and highlighting inscriptions as necessary using a medium that will not contribute to deterioration of the stones. Workers will then photograph each stone and map its location. Volunteers will be recruited from among JewishGen researchers to transcribe the inscriptions and burial locations using the JOWBR template to be integrated into the JOWBR database at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/cemetery/.


These records will be indexed and transcribed by JewishGen volunteers.


Estimated Cost
The total cost is estimated at $11,000-$13,000 based on a unit cost of $1.00 for each photographic image.


The projects has been divided into three phases to allow work to proceed while funding is being raised through donations to the Hungarian SIG The project will require funding from Jewish Gen accounts such as H-SIG account and JewishGen-erosity.


The project will be organized in phases as follows:
  1. Photograph the approximately 600 pages of two cemetery books. Estimated cost $600.00
  2. Clean as necessary and photograph approximately 600 gravestones from the town of Hejocsaba that have been transferred to the Miskolc cemetery. Estimated cost $600.00
  3. Clean as necessary and photograph the remaining 18th and 19th century gravestones in phases of approximately 1,000 graves at a time as sufficient funds are raised. Estimated cost $11,000-$12,000
  4. Peter Szlukovinyi, acting rabbi of the Miskolc synagogue, has approved and is participating in the project. He provided his written authorization allowing JewishGen to photograph available burial records and headstones and to create and publish an index to the burials

To contribute to this project, please click here.

New JewishGen Course: Create Family History Pages

Posted by Phyllis Kramer


Do you have a lot of genealogical family material to share and want to organize it into a set of images, but don't know how? Marlis Humphrey will explain and demonstrate how to create image rich family history pages for your family.


Students will learn how to layout, design, and edit a quality family history page set for two ancestors,that can be broadened at a later time. You will learn to include documents like census, naturalization and photographs of your family, heirlooms and memorabilia.


Students will discover sources of digital resources (templates, fonts, etc.) for formatting, and will walk through a project using Photoshop Elements 10 for editing; students will learn how to format the pages for printing using Shutterfly.


Class will feature multimedia including a series of short screencasts with voice narration, powerpoint instructions and text notes for reference. We will use the FORUM for questions and answers and we will encourage students to post their digital pages (.jpg files) for review and comment.


*Please* read the full course description and the software requirements at www.jewishgen.org/education; there are no set times for this course as our students are from around the world; enroll via our secure online enrollment system.


Please address all questions to JewishGen-Education@lyris.jewishgen.org


Phyllis Kramer
VP, Education

Announcement: JGS of Colorado

"What's Jewish about Jewish Genealogy: Naming Patterns; Calendar; Gravestones; Lifecycle, etc." with Ellen Kowitt

Sunday, January 22nd from 1:00 to 3:00 pm in Denver at the Congregation
Hebrew Education Alliance, 3600 South Ivanhoe Street,  Denver
No cost for JGSCO members
$30 for non-members (includes one year membership in the JGSCO)


A great session topic to jump into and start or re-start your research! What are the uniquely Jewish clues that will guide you in researching Jewish family history? Come to this session for a primer on customs, traditions and resources including gravestones that are used to successfully navigate Jewish genealogy.


This lecture and workshop is the third in a series (note that each session is independent of the others; come to as many or as few as you'd like) as a part of the seven-session Jewish Family Tree Initiative: Workshop and
Mentoring Series. Led by members of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado, the program was developed to help you get started doing Jewish family history research.


Each session includes an instructional lecture and a hands-on workshop to assist with the creation of family trees and historical research utilizing genealogical resources and techniques. Mentoring assistance outside of class will be available. The sessions are open to everyone. There is an $30 one-time fee for non-members for a book and materials which includes one year of membership in the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado. Attendance is not required at all seven sessions to participate; jump in any time to get started!


Terry Lasky
JGS of Colorado
Denver, Colorado

New Kehilalinks Page for Nasielsk, Poland

Posted by Eli Rabinowitz


The Nasielsk, Poland Kehilalinks Page is now active, and can be viwed at: http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/nasielskOur aim is to re-establish a "virtual" Jewish life in this town, a meeting place for descendants of the Jews of Nasielsk.


Eli Rabinowitz
Perth, Australia
eli@elirab.com

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Free Webinar From Southern California Genealogical Society

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The Southern California Genealogical Society offers free webinars to anyone worldwide. The next free webinar is: "The Two Sides of Interviewing" with Jean Wilcox Hibben. This presentation looks interviewing it from a couple of different angles: from the fields of speech communication and folklore; more specifically, oral history gathering techniques. Also included is a discussion of the "other side" of interviewing: responding as the interviewee. Some suggestions for before, during, and after the interview, for those on both sides, are covered.

When: Wednesday Jan 18: Time: 60 minute class, 30 minute Q&A
6:00 PM - Pacific
7:00 PM - Mountain
8:00 PM - Central
9:00 PM - Eastern
Space is limited, so reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/491227857

The complete list of webinars can be found at on the SCGS website
(http://www.scgsgenealogy.com/JamboreeExtensionSeries2012.htm
).

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Who Do You Think You Are Returns for Third Season

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

It was just announced that the third season of Who Do You Think You Are will explore the family histories of: Martin Sheen, Marisa Tomei, Blair Underwood, Reba McEntire, Rob Lowe, Helen Hunt, Rita Wilson, Edie Falco, Rashida Jones, former NFL running back Jerome Bettis, Jason Sudeikis and Paula Deen. see: http://tinyurl.com/7t8rcgl
original url:
http://www.nbc.com/news/2012/01/06/nbc-announces-the-celebrities-tracing-their-family-trees-on-season-three-of-who-do-you-think-you-are/

The series starts again Friday, February 3 8 PM/7PM-check your local NBC station for details.
http://www.nbc.com/who-do-you-think-you-are/

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Friday, January 6, 2012

Finding Your Roots-a 10-part series on PBS--March 25, 2012

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Recently announced is a new genealogy series with historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr. "Finding Your Roots". It will air on March 25 on PBS--it is not yet listed on PBS website.

Each episode will feature two "famous" people in the one-hour episode, including Barbara Walters, Martha Stewart, Kevin Bacon and others.
See
http://www.clicker.com/tv/finding-your-roots-with-henry-louis-gates-jr/.

Thank you to Dick Eastman and the Eastman Online Genealogy newsletter for alerting us to this new series.
http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2012/01/finding-your-roots-a-10-part-series-on-pbs.html

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Survivor Donates Prized 'Sidur' To Yad Vashem

Click here to read more from the Jerusalem Post

Teaching the Truth about Destroyed Jewish Communities in Poland

Click here to read more from the Forward.

Jews of Cork

Click here to read more from the Jewish Chronicle.

Scrolls raise questions as to Afghan Jewish history

Click here to read more from the Jerusalem Post.

Yemenite History in Black and White

Click here to read more from the Jerusalem Post.

Jewish Immigrants to America as Seen through Letters

Click here to read more from JewishMag.Com

Monday, January 2, 2012

JGS of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County January 8, 2012 Meeting-Ethics, Sensitivites and Property Rights


Lt: Sandra Malek center: Rabbi Jeff Marx Rt: Hal Bookbinder

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV) will be meeting on Sunday, January 8, 2012 1:30-3:30 pm at Temple Adat Elohim, 2420 E Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Note: JGSCV has returned to meeting on Sunday afternoons

The Topic: Ethics, Sensitivities, Sensibilities and Property Rights

How do ethics relate to family history? The list ranges from ensuring the integrity of our research, acknowledging the intellectual property of others, not publishing false or misleading information, respecting the privacy of others and being aware of sensitive issues that may cause others distress. However, the lines are not always clearly drawn. For example, we live in the 21st century, and have become accustomed to a media environment where out-of-wedlock pregnancies and family scandals are commonplace, and not particularly noteworthy. With our current sensibilities, it is often difficult to appreciate the shame and stigma that surrounded family secrets
that we unearth, and may, among older relatives, still be keenly felt. How do we tell our families' stories while maintaining an appropriate level of sensitivity? What is our responsibility to the "truth"?

Have you had the challenge of how to address with your family history such issues as: adoption, conversion, baby born early in marriage, baby born outside of marriage, don't know family is Jewish or denial of being Jewish, intermarriage, previous marriage, sexual preference, family information used without citation of sources or permission, family information changed by someone else and is incorrect, consequences of encouraging people to take DNA testing, people copyrighting other people's information and photographs? Come prepared to ask questions on how to address your ethical issues.

Panelists:

Hal Bookbinder, Founding member of JGSCV, past president of IAJGS and JGSLA,
president of IAJGS during the adoption of the IAJGS Ethics Statement. Hal received the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award for his various contributions to Jewish genealogy. Hal was recently elected to the JewishGen Board of Governors.


Sandra Malek, president of JGSLA and attorney for over 30 years concentrating on employment law, securities litigation and small business issues. Sandy has been active in genealogy for nearly a decade, has grown her tree to nearly 5000 individuals, and met lots of new-found cousins!

Rabbi Jeffrey Marx, spiritual leader of Santa Monica Temple, has been involved in Jewish genealogy for four decades, creating a family tree of 18,0000 individuals, some going back to the late 1600s. He has been a presenter at Jewish genealogy conferences over the years, and leads
workshops on a variety of genealogy topics.

The panel will be moderated by JGSCV Board member and Publicity Committee Chairperson, Marion Werle.

Our Schmoozing corner, which starts 15 minutes before the meeting begins will be facilitated by Werner Frank, a founding member of JGSCV. This permits attendees to ask questions on brick walls and get directions on how to do their research.

Our traveling library will have categories A and D books. The books are available starting 30 minutes before the program to shortly after the program. To see which books are coming to the meeting, please see our website www.jgscv.org under traveling library.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County is dedicated to sharing genealogical information, techniques and research tools with anyone interested in Jewish genealogy and family history.
(www.jgscv.org).

There is no charge to attend the meeting and all are welcome to attend.

For more information including directions to the meeting, see our website www.jgscv.org

Jan Meisels Allen
President, JGSCV

Updated IAJGS Legislative Alert Posted to IAJGS Website

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

As its year end, and there have been some recent legislative activities both
(USA) state and federal an updated IAJGS Legislative Alert has been posted to the IAJGS website: www.iajgs.org and click on left hand button "legislation" and hover mouse over and click on latest alert.

The updated alert includes information on Congressional action regarding Social Security Death Index (SSDI), SSA-5, the states of California, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington State and the City of New York.

For those of you outside the United States, if you would alert us to legislation or restrictions on access to vital records and access in your countries we can include them in educational future alerts and postings on both JewishGen Discussion group the IAJGS Leadership Forum.

Thank you to the members of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee for their hard work through out the year:
Teven Laxer, Paul Silverstone, Joel Spector, Stephaine Weiner, Catherine
Youngren.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Rootsweb Review Ceases Operation

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The current issue of Rootsweb Review is the last issue. This does not mean that Rootsweb itself has ceased operation. The Rootsweb mailing lists, message boards and search engines and their Facebook group of Rootsweb Genealogists are still viable. To read more go to:
http://ftp.rootsweb.ancestry.com/pub/review/2011/1214.html

Thank you to Megan Smolenyak and her Genealogy Round Up for alerting us to this latest change at Rootsweb.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Rootsweb No Longer Provides Free Access to SSDI

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Rootsweb posted a notice that they are no longer providing the Social Security Death Index on their website.
http://searches.rootsweb.ancestry.com/ssdi.html This is done due the sensitive issues around the database that I have been posting about. Rootsweb is a free website whereas
Ancestry.com is a subscription website.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

NY Public Library Blog Posts On Genealogy- Obituaries and Census

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Philip Sutton, of the Milstein Division of US History, Local History and Genealogy of the NY Public Library, advised on a listserve for librarians serving the genealogical community, about two blog posts from the NY Public Library which you may find of interest:

1. The Great Obituary Hunt: A Genealogy Research Guide,
http://tinyurl.com/d6n3hu4
original url:
http://www.nypl.org/blog/2011/11/09/great-obituary-hunt-genealogy-research-guide

and

2.Everyone Counts: Using the Census in Genealogy
http://tinyurl.com/7mostbn
original url:
http://www.nypl.org/blog/2011/12/08/everyone-counts-using-census-genealogy-research

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Holocaust Archive (ITS) to Open In Great Britain

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The Weiner Library (www.wienerlibrary.co.uk) in Britain, the world's oldest Holocaust memorial institution will provide free access to digital records from the holocaust containing 50 million digital records covering 17.5 million people from the International Tracing Service (ITS)
www.its-arolsen.org/. The Weiner Library already hosts the UK's largest collection of personal papers and testimonies of refugees and Holocaust survivors. The archive is accessible at the Museum.

To read more go to: http://tinyurl.com/7hymozv
original url:
http://www.jpost.com/ArtsAndCulture/Arts/Article.aspx?id=249702

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Greece Reinstates Citizenship For Jews Who Fled WWII

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The Greek government has reinstated Greek citizenship to Jews, born in or before 1945, who fled during World War 11. The amendment to the recently passed new foreign resident law applies to about 350 Greek Jews with a provision for their descendants who are not automatically eligible for citizenship but can apply. Nazi occupation of Greece was responsible
for the demise of an estimated 90 percent of the country's 70,000 Jews.

http://tinyurl.com/7r5npd4
original url:
http://www.worldjewishcongress.org/en/news/10642/citizenship_reinstated_for_jews_who_left_greece_during_or_after_world_war_ii

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

California Birth and Death Certificates Price Increase Effective January 1, 2012

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Earlier this year I reported on California AB 1053 that was signed into law by Governor Brown on October 2, 2011. This new law, Chapter 402 of the laws of 2011, among other things, raises by $2.00 the cost of birth and death records. This increase takes place at the California Department of Heath (CADH) and also at the county level. The fees at various county
clerk and recorder's offices vary and do not necessarily have the same fee structure as the CADH. The $2.00 fee increase is effective January 1, 2012. The legislation also provides for two additional $2.00 increases to take place January 1, 2013 and January 1, 2014.

to read the law go to: http://tinyurl.com/7pblbys
original url
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_1051-1100/ab_1053_bill_20111002_chaptered.pdf

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Ancestry.com and SSDI

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

I recently posted that Rootsweb ceased providing free access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) due to the sensitivity of the information--which has been discussed in other posts. In the notice about Rootsweb, it also said to go to Ancestry.com for access-- Ancestry.com is a subscription site. http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=3693

The Ancestry.com site for the social security death index, contains a recent notice addition advising the reader if they do not see the Social Security number on the record index, it is because Ancestry.com does not provide the number for anyone who has passed away within the past ten years.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

(USA) Senate Bill 1534 Identify Theft and Tax Fraud Prevention Act

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

I recently posted about US Senator Sherrod Brown and the "Dear Colleague" letter in which he was requesting other Senators to join him in writing to genealogy websites to remove from their websites the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) also known as the Death Master File (DMF) that had legally purchased and posted. According to the Lake City Journal,
http://tinyurl.com/77fq3ca original url:
http://www.lakecityjournal.com/main.asp?SectionID=14&SubSectionID=74&ArticleID=8150
the "Dear Colleague letter was sent to genealogy websites by Senators Nelson
(D-FL), Brown (D-OH), Durbin (D-IL) and Stabenow (D-MI).

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced SB 1534, the Identity Theft and
Tax Fraud Prevention Act See: http://tinyurl.com/75de8o9
original url:
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112s1534is/pdf/BILLS-112s1534is.pdf .
This bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
Senator Nelson serves on the Senate Finance Committee.

In addition to addressing tax fraud and establishing penalties, and user id numbers for those who apply about tax fraud, Section 9 (page 6) restricts access to the Death Master File. For the calendar year of the person's death and the calendar year following, disclosure of information on a deceased person listed in the DMF is prohibited unless they are certified. Certification would be done through the Secretary of Commerce and only to those who have a legitimate fraud prevention interest. The Social Security Administration would not be compelled to disclose any person in the DMF that is not certified.

Companion legislation in the House of Representatives are:
HR 3482 by Rep Kathy Castor ( D- FL)
http://tinyurl.com/83p4b4p original url:
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr3482ih/pdf/BILLS-112hr3482ih.pdf
This bill has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and the
Finance Committee.
and HR 3215 by Rep Kathy Castor (D-FL) and Richard Nugent (R-FL)
http://tinyurl.com/7fgsd5s original url
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr3215ih/pdf/BILLS-112hr3215ih.pdf
This bill was referred to House Ways and Means Committee.
I don't know why Rep. Castor introduced the bill twice.

Genealogy websites that post the SSDI (the commercial name of the DMF) obtain the information from the Social Security Administration. The reading of this bill as currently written would prevent the websites from obtaining and posting the SSDI during the time frame when certification is required (the calendar year the death of the person occurred and the following
calendar year).

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

(USA) Pennsylvania Governor Corbett Signs SB 361

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

On December 15 Pennsylvania Governor Corbett signed SB 361 into law-it is Act 110 of the Laws of 2011. The chaptered bill is not yet posted to the PA Legislative website, however, the version that went to the Governor and he approved may be found at:
http://tinyurl.com/5sbcotq
original url
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=PDF&sessYr=2011&sessInd=0&billBody=S&billTyp=B&billNbr=0361&pn=1598

The law becomes effective 60 days after the governor's signature. Birth records will be available 105 years from the date of birth and 50 years from the date of death. We can only presume that the state agencies will work expeditiously in getting the records from the Department of Health to the State Archives. Pennsylvania had one of the most restrictive laws for accessing birth and death records. This legislation took several attempts to get passed and the coalition in Pennsylvania, People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access (PaHR-Access) have worked diligently for a number of years to achieve this
http://users.rcn.com/timarg/PaHR-Access.htm

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

(USA) Massachusetts HB 603

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Earlier this year a bill was introduced in Massachusetts that would severely restrict who would be able to access birth records. Massachusetts is an open records state and has been since 1641. A similar bill did not pass during the previous legislative session. Once again legislators erroneously believe that identity theft is caused by open access to vital records. To read the bill go to: http://www.malegislature.gov/Bills/187/House/H00603

The bill is in committee, a hearing was held in late October and the Massachusetts Genealogical Council testified to keep Massachusetts an open records state. There is no further information at this time. As relevant information becomes available it will be posted to this forum.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee