The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies has a great interest in monitoring legislation that might limit access to genealogical source materials.
We have therefore established a Public Records Access Monitoring Committee to share information about new legislation and any threat it may pose to genealogical researchers having access to the records they need to be successful in searching out their Jewish ancestry.
The Committee Members
- Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson, JGS Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV), California, USA
- Teven Laxer, JGS Sacramento, California, USA
- David Ockene, JGS Inc., New York, USA
- Kenneth H. Ryesky, Esq., Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA), Israel
Contact the the PRAMC by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Paul Silverstone, JGS Inc., New York, USA
- Joel L. Spector, JGS of Greater Philadelphia (JGSGP), Pennsylvania, USA
- Amy Wachs, JGS Cleveland, Ohio, USA
- Catherine Youngren, Jewish Genealogical Institute of British Columbia, Canada
- Marlis Humphrey, President of IAJGS, Florida, USA
Documents and Information about Records Access
- PRAMC Charter
- Annual Report, 2015 (PDF)
- Genealogy under Fire: Government Actions to Impede Access to Records YOU Need – Public Records Access Session at the 34th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy. (Handout, PowerPoint)
- Public Records Access Alerts Mailing List: Open to all interested parties. IAJGS membership not required. (Register)
- Interview: Got Records-Threats to Genealogy Records Access, Jan Meisels Allen was interviewed during 2012 RootsTech conference.
- Video: Tool kit for state liaisons, presented by Jan Meisels Allen during 2011 NGS conference.
- Article: Restriction of Access to Records Is Increasing Threat to Genealogical Research, by Jan Meisels Allen. (Part 1, Part 2)
This article first appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of AVOTAYNU.
- Microfilm Unit Records Onsite Review
- Recent Archival Accessions Brochure
- Archival Records Brochure May 2013 (PDF)
- Links to Legislative Websites
- Public Records Access Session at the 33rd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy. (Handout, PowerPoint)
The IAJGS along with the rest of the genealogical community are concerned that legislators and regulators believe that access to vital records is a cause for identity theft, however, there is no proof that access to records is the cause of identity theft. We believe access to public records must remain open.
The IAJGS has joined with other genealogical organizations including the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), National Genealogical Society (NGS), and The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) in endorsing the position paper and calling on legislators to keep records open.
A group of professional genealogists within APG formed the Keeping Genealogical Records Open Workgroup (KGROW) in 2007 and prepared the position paper. “The Case for Open Public Records”. The KGROW committee recommends in their paper that “lawmakers respond to the ID theft problem, not try to prevent a nonexistent problem.” Further, they encourage “private companies and government improve their protection of personal data.” The Case for Open Public Records position paper is available at: http://apgen.org/publications/press/APG-KGROW.pdf.