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Keeping Watch Over Massachusetts Public Records

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Today at NERGC 2013: Saturday, April 20th

Posted by on in Legislation NE not Massachusetts
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After two days of sponsored activities, Saturday gives MGC officers and directors a chance to spend time in the exhibit hall booth and to attend lectures. The exhibit hall is open 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. MGC is in booth 101. As you walk in the main entrance, we are in the first aisle of booths. The booth is filled with take-aways. Don't miss information about our upcoming Annual Meeting and Seminar on July 20th in Worcester. The seminar features the dynamic speaker Judy Russell, CG, CGL.

Friday needs a bit of recapping. Laura Prescott did a fantastic job as our luncheon speaker yesterday. She delighted us with stories of records access from Massachusetts and from throughout the U.S. She gave us many ideas for approaching the "gatekeepers" of repositories and government offices. She closed by rallying us to work for access and preservation.

MGC also hosted a Special Interest Group last night. The SIG was a delightful chance to meet genealogists from Massachusetts and other New England states who cared about records access. We had a mini workshop. On one computer, I worked with genealogists concerned about access in New Hampshire and Rhode Island. We located legislative portals, bill text and status materials, and general laws regarding vital statistics. At the other computer, Polly Kimmitt used her wicked mad reseach skills to break through a research brickwall for another attendee. Mary Ellen Grogan and Sharon Sergeant strategized and debriefed us all.

We had gathered early on the 12th floor of the conference hotel, with a beautiful view of Manchester and the river. We watched the news from Watertown unfold on the suite's television screen as we waited for our official 7:30 start time. All day we had been keeping in touch with our family members back home, many subject to the Shelter-at-Home order issued by Gov. Deval Patrick. By the end of the SIG, we were all able to breathe a sigh of relief. As I drove home I talked with my daughter who lives in Waltham and had been at sheltering at home. We had a lot to talk about as we both started to relax and feel safer. We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of the thousands of Massachusetts police offiers and National Guard who ran to help the injured on Monday and who worked long and grueling days this past week in order to bring the perpetrators to justice.

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Tagged in: Judy Russell
Barbara serves as the Federal Records Director. She is a Board-certified genealogist who works for the Massachusetts Society of the Colonial Dames of America as a Verifying Genealogist and for the Welles Family Association as a Genealogist. Her volunteer service includes a stint as President of MGC. She holds a master’s degree in the management of non-profits from the Florence Heller School at Brandeis University. You can read her own blog, The Demanding Genealogist, at


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