Thursday, December 23, 2004

Federal Legislation to Close Birth Certificates

New Bill Will Close Records to Genealogists

HR10 has passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives and is now part of
S.2845. The amendments suggested by David Rencher in his letter to the
bill's sponsor, Congressman J. Dennis Hastert, were NOT incorporated
into this legislation. Thus, the terms of HR10 will now be considered
by the Senate, as part of S.2845.

If S.2845 becomes law, as now written, family historians will face some
real challenges in attempts to obtain birth records, even on long-
deceased individuals.

What we genealogists need to do is suggest to their lawmakers the addition
of Sec. 3061(b)(1)(A)(iii) that would read:
"who is alive on the date that access to their birth certificate is requested."

This addition would clarify that the legislation (soon to be law)to apply ONLY
to birth certificates of CURRENTLY LIVING PERSONS.

If you do not know your U.S. Senator's e-mail address, you can find it at:

This bill can be found online at:
Type in S.2845 (in the bill number window);
and then select item No. 3;
and go to Subtitle B--Identity Management Security; Chapter 2--Improved
Security for Birth Certificates.

The reported intent of the legislation is to deter identity theft (I.T.). I don't
think that is the real reason behind the proposal since I.T. is rampant without the
use of birth certificates. Those non-existent national identity numbers, i.e.,
Social Security Number, are the key to I.T. along with stolen credit cards and checks.
Perhaps the author of the bill has something on his birth certificate he doesn't want
revealed in the next jillion years?
We genealogists know nothing is sacred in our search of ancestors and documentation.
Our naughty ancestors can be our entry key into exclusive Blacksheep Clubs.


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