Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Don't Say You Weren't Warned

I am seriously freaking out about George G. Morgan's new article, "Get the Records While You Still Can!" (via Random Genealogy). He lists ten ways our access to public records has been limited since 9/11—and notes that these are just "a few examples."

As someone with a large genealogy project on the back burner, I take these threats to public access very seriously. Here in Maine, BMDs are readily available on microfilm through 1955, and marriage and death indexes are up on the Web. Anyone suffering from a bout of siege mentality should do as I've done: download the databases, burn them onto CD-ROMs, and hide them under your pillow. Then turn and fight the nitwits who seek to confiscate our public records.

D. C. Russell

I have posted messages related to this in several places. Generally, the responses seem to indicate that most genealogists, including manyor most professionals, believe that either there is no problem, or that genealogists can't do anything about it.

My generally ignored suggestions have been that we ought to go on the offensive by:

1. Publicizing the records of anti-genealogist officials, and giving their genealogist constituents the ammunition eeded to make them address our concerns during the coming election season.

2. Promoting standards for access to historical records.

3. Pushing for a model law aimed at opening records after some number of years, notwithstanding other laws (something like the federal archival standard).

I would also argue that elected officials promting these restrictive laws are unpatriotic, anti-American, and actually giving adi and comfort to our Islamofacist terrorist enemies.

Those enemies hate and want to destroy our culture and open society.

Why are so many of our elected officials helping them by destroying our tradition of open government, and making it impossible to pass on much of our cultural heritage?

I don't know, but I wish people who are concerned about what is happening would start asking some of these officials hard questions rather than saying "pretty please don't screw me anymore."

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