JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen (US-Maine ) Maine Final Regulations on Access to Vital Records #general


Jan Meisels Allen
 

Eight years after the Maine Legislature enacted a new law on access to vital
records the Maine Center of Disease Control and Prevention adopted final
regulations which became effective on October 3, 2018. The final regulation
did not adopt the genealogical community's recommendations in over 95
percent of the areas, despite working with the staff on a stakeholders
committee for seven years.

To read the final regulations see:
https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/rules/maine-cdc-rules.shtml#RecentlyAdoptedRules
and click on Disclosure of and Access to Vital Statistics Data, Reports and
Records- Adopted Rule 10-146 CMR Ch.4 . Also >from the link
https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/rules/maine-cdc-rules.shtml#RecentlyAdoptedRules
see Disclosure of and Access to Vital Statistics Data, Reports and Records
click on Summary of Comments 10-146 CMR Ch.4 for the rationale by the state why
they did not accept the various suggestions by the genealogical community.

I would encourage you to read at a minimum the comments for item #9 from
the summary of comments and the link they provide:
https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/public-health-systems/data-research/vital-records/forms/index.shtml
[MOD. NOTE: shortened URL - https://goo.gl/FdhoiS ]

Scroll down to genealogist information which includes the Genealogist Code of
Ethics. The Code while discussed by stakeholders, was not included the proposed
rules and this is the first time we are seeing the final version. Genealogists
must sign the form and it must be notarized to obtain the records without
waiting for the embargo period - see below.
Note: accesses to indexes also require the same procedures as vital records,
including their prohibition of hands on access to original records.

The application for a genealogical research card
(https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/public-health-systems/data-research/vital-records/documents/pdf-files/ )
[MOD. NOTE: shortened URL - https://goo.gl/76fqxr It appears that one must
establish a log-in to access this page.]

allows genealogists to obtain non-certified copies of birth, marriage and death
records >from either State Vital Records Offices or >from any municipal office.
Under the law, genealogists do not have wait for the 75-50 and 25 year embargo
dates if they comply with the requirements on this form - signing the Code of
Ethics and obtaining a researcher card. Currently, the cost is $50 for one year.
One must provide proof of membership in a genealogical society by either a
current membership card or a letter on an established genealogical society
letterhead with date of membership validity.

The Researcher Request Form
(https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/public-health-systems/data-research/vital-records/documents/pdf-files/researchereqform.pdf )
[MOD. NOTE: shortened URL - https://goo.gl/JXnzgU ]
allows genealogists to obtain non-certified copies of birth, marriage and death
records >from the Maine CDC Vital Records Office.

There is also a procedure document for accessing vital records and genealogical
research: vraccess (PDF). This states that vital records are not public records
under the Freedom of Information Access Laws. It also says there shall be no
"hands on" access or perusal of vital records by the public or genealogists due
to record preservation and confidentiality of records. At the request of the
Maine Town Clerks Association There may be no genealogical research two (2)
weeks prior to any election (at the discretion of the municipality).

For more information see the IAJGS Records Access Alert, you must be
registered to access the archives. To register for the IAJGS Records Access
Alert go to: http://lists.iajgs.org/mailman/listinfo/records-access-alerts

You will receive an email response that you have to reply to or the
subscription will not be finalized. It is required to include your
organization affiliation (genealogy organization, etc.) To access the
previous postings see the IAJGS Records Access Alert archives at:
http://lists.iajgs.org/mailman/private/records-access-alerts. You must be
registered to access the archives.

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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