Monday, January 28, 2008

Bringing the Dead Out of Hiding

Tim Gruber and his group People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access—"PaHR-Access" to their friends—are trying to expand access to Pennsylvania's death records.

Gruber says he is working with legislators to have a bill introduced that would address the No. 1 problem, from a researcher’s standpoint: That there is no type of index available to the public in which to search. As a “closed records state,” Pennsylvania’s law says that only certain people can even request a copy of the certificate.

One of the main ways that the Division of Vital Records enforces this provision is to require quite a bit of information on the application for a death certificate — including such items as the date of death … which, of course, is frequently what a genealogist is trying to find out from the death certificate! [Link]
PaHR-Access wants genealogists and others to write or call state officials, but what it really, desperately needs is a new name. Something like "Pennsylvanians for Open Records Now," which would make its new acronym... Wait, no, that won't work.


Sign me up for P.O.R.N.! Oh.

How about: Open Pennsylvania Records to Access History.

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