Massachusetts: legislation to close access to birth, marriage, death, and other vital records

Stephen Katz

The Governor of Massachusetts has proposed legislation that will prevent access to birth, marriage, death, and other previously-public records by anyone but the person requesting the record, or his/her parent or attorney. In Massachusetts, these records have been available to everyone (after a lapse of time in some cases) since 1641, in colonial and state repositories (archives and registries) as well as town and city halls. They have been a principal and critical source of genealogical information. Steve Eastman has recently posted an alert about the proposed legislation in his blog ( The Massachusetts Genealogical Council has issued a "Call to Action" to oppose the legislation; further information, including ways to register opposition to the legislation, is available at

Stephen KATZ
(KATZ (Novograd-Volynskiy, Ukraine), KAPLAN (Stakliskes, Lithuania), VITKIN (Kaunas, Lithuania), TEPPER (Rovno and Novograd-Volinskiy, Ukraine)

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