Don’t Cry About the SSDI

Last spring we did a two part series on the Social Security Death Index and it progenitor, the Death Master File. The posts are here and here. The series was prompted in part by reports of errors in the Death Master file, especially those which reported living persons as deceased. We learned that nearly 90% of the information in the …Continue reading →


The Book I’ve Been Waiting For

It was raining as it had almost everyday about the time the mail came.  There was the usual detritus of our not-yet-paperless society and a package that looked like it had been around the world a couple of times. “Hmm,” I thought, “this may be the book I’ve been waiting for.”  And indeed it was.  Seems I had given the …Continue reading →


My FOIA Request Update

A few weeks ago, I used the State Department’s online “FOIA Request Generator” to request the passport files of my grandmother, Jessie Beatrice Bowie (1909-1973). I received an email acknowledgment fairly promptly. Last week, I got the first actual response. Reasonably enough, the Government wants me to show that she either is dead or authorizes me to see her file. …Continue reading →


FOIA Spotlight: The U.S. Department of State

One of Several Posts about Open Government Laws and Genealogy Last week, as we noted, was Sunshine Week, focused on open government, and open records in particular. Although the commemoration has passed, we’ll continue in the next few posts to focus on open records. After all, every week should be Sunshine Week! Our FOIA Spotlight today is on the U.S. …Continue reading →


Let the Sunshine In!

One of Several Posts about Open Government Laws and GenealogyTim Agazio at Genealogy Reviews Online blogs today about his experiences with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). That reminded me that this week (March 16-22) is Sunshine Week. Sunshine Week is a project of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, with many other participants. It is “national initiative to open …Continue reading →


Getting Info from the Government: FOIA 101

Suppose your grandfather or great-grandfather worked for the federal government or for a government contractor, building Hoover Dam. Perhaps he kept a journal that stayed with the government for some reason when the project was completed. Or may be your relative was in the Far North as an early operator of the DEW Line. You might want to learn more …Continue reading →

September 2015
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