Open Records


Los Angeles County Record Request Requirements–Just Quirky? Or Unconstitutional?

I was alerted to this issue by a commenter on the Find-A-Grave California Discussion Forum. If you go in person to the main office of the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder in Norwalk, California, and ask to view their birth, death, or marriage records, you will be required to sign a form similar to the one below (the example is for …Continue reading →

"Open" State Vital Records: The Bad and the Ugly

One of Several Posts about Open Government Laws and Genealogy Previously, we spotlighted several states that are particularly “genealogy-friendly” concerning access to state vital records. Now we wade into the swamp of vital records-access horribles. At the edge of the swamp are states that have unreasonably long (100 years or more for birth records; more than fifty years for death …Continue reading →

Open State Vital Records: Some of the Best States

One of Several Posts about Open Government Laws and Genealogy I’ve made a brief survey of state vital records laws and here present some of the “best” states in terms of “openness.” These determinations are based on several factors: whether law provides that vital records are “open” or “public”; whether reasonable “confidential periods” are imposed; whether reasonable fees are required; …Continue reading →

APG Open Records Summary

One of Several Posts about Open Government Laws and Genealogy The Association of Professional Genealogists position paper on open records contains the following summary: No proof that open records significantly contribute to ID theft or terrorism. ID thieves rarely use public records, relying instead on stolen or fraudulent data. Public benefits of access to records far outweighs their threat. Open …Continue reading →

APG Pushes for Open Records

One of Several Posts about Open Government Laws and Genealogy Coincident with our series of posts about open government records, the Association of Professional Genealogists has released a position paper entitled “The Case for Open Records.” Appropriately, it was a project of APG’s Sunshine state [Florida] chapter. Last Friday, APG issued a press release about the position paper, which has …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 →

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