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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My Non-Certified Opinion

That kindly clerk who helped you document great-uncle Louie's fourth divorce may well be a member of NAPHSIS—an organization bent on making vital records less accessible to genealogists.

Genealogists have asked that access policies distinguish certified from non-certified birth records, but the Executive Director of NAPHSIS dismisses this suggestion.

The logic behind this recommendation is that a certified copy of a birth record is needed to obtain an identification document, and genealogists do not need certified copies of vital records. The problem with this approach is that the information from a non-certified copy can be used to obtain a certified copy. [Link via EOGN]
Translation: NAPHSIS members will hand out certified copies of birth records to anyone with $15 and a pulse.

The Director is arguing that a certified copy of a birth record is not needed to obtain a certified copy of a birth record. Obviously not, but some sort of documentation should be required that can't be produced in ten minutes at Kinko's with information available from fifty different sources—none of whom pay dues to NAPHSIS. Abolishing non-certified copies is like closing the barn door after the horse has slipped out the back with your wallet and ATM code.

But then, what do I know—I'm just a genealogist.

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