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The Value of Open Public Records
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MGC's NERGC Panel on Open Records: Citizens Can Make a Difference
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How many deaths before the SSDI gets updated again?
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Keeping Watch Over Massachusetts Public Records

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Recent blog posts
What follows is the text of the letter I sent to the subcommittee whose hearing two weeks ago did not permit genealogists to testify in person. This is my personal letter which I submitted as a result of my work and my life. It does not represent the Mass. Gen. Council's opinion and was not pre-approved in any way. Today was the last day to submit testimony online. Did you submit testimony? Have you contacted your own Congressman or Senator about this? Now is the time to do that! Please let us know in the comments what you've been doing to make your own opinions and your voice heard. Barbara Jean Mathews Certified Genealogist*Post Office Box 399Lexington, MA 02420 February 16, 2012 Testimony Submitted to theHearing on Accuracy and Uses of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File    Dear Mr. Johnson and Subcommittee Members,  I am offering this testimony as...
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  U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (TX) submitted a bill on 18 November 2011 called the “Keep IDs Safe Act.”[1] It was given the number H.R.3475.[2] As Rep. Johnson is the chairperson of the Social Security subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, this bill was immediately scheduled for a hearing before his subcommittee. That hearing took place last week. It was delayed by a few minutes so that at least one other member of the committee could be present before testimony was taken. The testimony was limited to only those people whom Rep. Johnson had pre-approved.   When researching bills here in Massachusetts, I keep a three-column Excel spreadsheet. Column 1 contains the part of the Massachusetts General Laws which describe vital records where each paragraph is in a different row/cell down the column. Column 2 contains the text of the bill where each Section of the bill is in...
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Open Government Plan
We are pleased to have a guest posting from Trish Hackett Nicola, CG, of Seattle, Washington. She posted this information on the Members Only list of the Association of Professional Genealogists and has given us permission to republish it. Trish writes: This is what the FTC says about identity theft. It doesn't mention the SSDI. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft//consumers/about-identity-theft.html "How do thieves steal an identity? Identity theft starts with the misuse of your personally identifying information such as your name and Social Security number, credit card numbers, or other financial account information. For identity thieves, this information is as good as gold. Skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods to get hold of your information, including: Dumpster Diving. They rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it. Skimming. They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card. Phishing....
©Trish Hackett Nicola; the OpenGov logo is in the public domain and was taken from the Social Security Administration's own webpage
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Deciphering the Acronyms The Massachusetts Genealogical Council (MGC) is an umbrella organization with both individual and organizational members interested in genealogical and historical research in Massachusetts, and who care about access to public records. MGC monitors legislation, both in Massachusetts and nationally, to ensure that our public records remain accessible. It's not as fun as doing genealogical research, but it is necessary work.  Image courtesy of theUnited States Social Security Administration SSDI stands for Social Security Death Index, the commercial term for the Social Security Administration (SSA) Death Master File (DMF). The DMF is a list of Social Security numbers of people now deceased and whose numbers may not be used by anyone ever again. The Death Master File was created by the SSA to address pension and other forms of benefit fraud, and when used properly, it does just that. It is considered a public document under the Freedom of Information Act, and is sold...
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Greetings! The Massachusetts Genealogical Council (MGC) is very excited to introduce our new blog, The MGC Sentinel. With this new vehicle of communication we hope to provide another source of information on issues concerning legislation that threatens access to public records. The MGC Sentinel will not be restricted to legislative issues –– we will also provide updates about our annual seminar and anything else we think might interest members of the genealogical community. It will be free and open to the public. We are in the planning stages for our July 21st seminar, "Ethnicity and Genealogy," so stay tuned for some exciting news! We're aiming to present the best MGC seminar ever. Big shoes to fill, but we can try! You will note that our new blog's logo has repetitions of the Boston State House in different colors and intensities. This is meant to reflect the different reactions that we all have...
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