Posted by: Janette Silverman | March 29, 2012

IAJGS Legislative Alert March 29, 2012

Jan Meisels Allen, the IAJGS VP  and Chairperson of Public Records Access Monitoring Committee alerts us to the following:


An updated IAJGS Legislative Alert has been posted to the IAJGS website:  and click on left hand green button "Legislation" then on latest alert.

The alert contains information on the IAJGS statement for the record for the US Senate Finance Committee Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and 
Economic Growth regarding our position on maintaining public access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).  On page one go to the first topic under 
the "red box " entitled: Genealogical Community Under Attack: Potential Loss of Access to Social Security Death Index (SSDI). There is also information 
regarding the membership of the Subcommittee.

The genealogical community leadership as represented by the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) of which IAJGS is one of the voting 
members--along with FGS and NGS, decided that it was time to be pragmatic and start negotiating. We know from the House Subcommittee hearing on 
February 2nd that they and the Administration wanted no public access or as Social Security Administrator Astrue said in his House testimony 
genealogists could wait 75 years...while Senator Nelson's bill had a two year wait (the year of death and the following year when people submit their 
tax returns).  This is a much more reasonable approach even though we strongly believe there should be immediate public access-and genealogists 
are not the cause of identity theft.  It is obvious that the identity theft issue makes good politics in an election year, and we-the genealogical 
leadership--FGS, IAJGS and NGS decided after much consultation between ourselves and talking with others that we would support the 2 year 
compromise with the caveat that certain genealogists would be eligible for certification for immediate access- such as forensic genealogists, heir 
researchers etc.  The RPAC statement on this position is posted at

Other updates in this Legislative Alert dated March 28 include updates on legislation that have been signed into law for Maine (LD 1627) regarding 
marriage applications,  and Virginia (SB660) reducing the wait period for marriage, divorce and death records and more, and amended legislation still 
in committee, Kentucky SB 54 regarding access to records and establishing a waiting period of 70 years for marriage records.  For these updates scroll 
down to the state alphabetically in the report.

As we learn more about the SSDI issue, and as other legislative actions are taken on access to vital records the legislative alert will be updated and 

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