JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Genealogists Declaration of Rights Launched by Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) #general

Jan Meisels Allen

The genealogical community has been fighting the problems with governments
worldwide- national and state/province/local-which impede access to vital
records with the misconception that genealogists may be the cause of
identity theft and the issue of privacy. The Records Preservation and
Access Committee (RPAC) launched a Genealogists Declaration of Rights at
the recent National Genealogical Society conference in Richmond Virginia.
Over 500 conference attendees signed the Genealogists Declaration of Rights
in books with sign-up pages by individual states. The intent is to attach
the Declaration with the appropriate state pages along with letters on
specific access records issues to demonstrate to elected officials and
regulators that their constituents care about records access. RPAC is a
committee on which IAJGS is a sponsoring member along with the Federation of
Genealogical Societies (FGS) and the National Genealogical Society. Other
genealogical organizations also participate: American Society of
Genealogists (ASG), Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), Board
for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), and the International Commission
for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAP-Gen).

All three sponsoring organizations' Board of Directors-FGS, NGS and IAJGS--
unanimously voted to endorse the Genealogists Declaration of Rights. To
read about this, including an RPAC press release and most importantly a link
to digitally sign the Genealogists Declaration of Rights go to the IAJGS
website: . The electronic version of the
Declaration is available at
[MODERATOR NOTE: or long-form URL -]

The Declaration will also be available at the IAJGS 34th International
Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Salt Lake City, UT 27 July-1 August and
at the FGS conference in San Antonio, TX 27-30 August. The "I Signed"
sticker depicted on the upper left on the website posting was given to all
those who signed and will also be available at the IAJGS and FGS conferences.

During the NGS Luncheon on May 10 copies of the over 500 signatures on the
Genealogists Declaration of Rights was presented to Patricia Potrzebowski,
Ph.D., the executive director of the National Association of Public Health
Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS), the group that developed the
Model Vital Records Act which the embargo dates for vital records: 125 years
for birth, 100 years for marriage and 75 years for death records and
requires indices to have similar embargo dates. Adoption of all or part of
the Model Vital Records Act is voluntary by each state.

RPAC debated about making this an international Declaration but with privacy
laws varying by country it was decided to go forth for US-only at this time.
The IAJGS Board of Directors is very aware that 1/3 of its members are
outside the United States and encourage genealogical societies outside the
United States to launch a similar declaration in their countries-in
cooperation with other genealogical organizations in their home country.
IAJGS is willing to assist with these outside US launches of similar

When you visit the IAJGS website to read about the launch of the Declaration
you will recognize some of the "famous" genealogists who signed the
Declaration at the NGS conference (L to R) Judy Russell - The Legal
Genealogist; Janet Alpert - Chairperson- RPAC; Dick Eastman - Eastman Online
Genealogy Newsletter; Jan Meisels Allen - Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records
Access Monitoring Committee and IAJGS representative to RPAC and Crista
Cowan -

Please share the information in this posting with others you know who are
concerned about records access-by email and in your newsletters and blogs.

In the US the National Public Radio (NPR) had a brief discussion on the
recent European Union Court decision to invalidate its Data Protection
Directive and the Right to be Forgotten. The Georgetown University Professor
Meg Ambrose who was being interviewed cited a recent California law which
permits minors to have embarrassing materials removed >from their Facebook
page. While that law addresses only minors Professor Ambrose believes the
conversation of the "right to be forgotten" will be a conversation held in
the United States even though the European Union Court decision does not
affect what happens in the United States. To listen to the 5 minute
interview on NPR go to:
Original url:

*The California law was signed September 2013 and is called w Senate Bill
568, "Privacy Rights for California Minors in a Digital World". S.B. 568
includes a provision known as the "Delete Button" or "Eraser" law, which
allows minors under 18 to request that companies delete specified information
that the requestor had previously posted online The law becomes effective
January 2015. To read Chapter 336 of the 2013 Laws of California see:
[MOD. NOTE: shortened URL - ]

Thank you to Jan Alpert, chairperson, Records Preservation and Access
Committee for alerting us to the NPR interview.

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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