Thursday, February 2, 2012

Support access to Virginia's Vital Records

As shared by the Fairfax Genealogical Society:

 The current policy of the Virginia Department of Health restricts access of the public to vital records.
The proposed VA Senate legislation, SB 660, would require that these records be turned over to the Library of Virginia and thus to the public. 
This legislation deserves our support. The letter below can serve as an excellent model to voice your support:
Dear Senators:
I urge you to support SB 660 to reform Virginia’s vital records system and join our neighbors in North Carolina and West Virginia in making public vital records more accessible to the public. Senator Blevins plans to offer a committee substitute which will make it clear that once vital records held by the Virginia Department of Health (“VDH”) are no longer
“closed” they must be turned over to the Library of Virginia (the Commonwealth’s archival agency) for access by researchers.
As an example of VDH’s position, the department said last year that it is still “studying” whether it should turn its 1853 – 1896 vital records over to the Library of Virginia. No other state agency refuses to turn over public records to the Library of Virginia for public access or tries to restrict copying of archival records. Virginia is a national leader in technology and online accessibility, but VDH has not yet received that message.
I am a long time resident of Virginia, a family history researcher, and a steadfast voter. I was born in Minnesota, but I am very proud of my ancestors’ roots in Virginia well before the Revolutionary War. Please support SB 660 to make these public records accessible for genealogical and historical research.

Please Support SB 660 Vital Records Reform
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