[APG Public List] A Reminder for Caution

Ray Beere Johnson II raybeere at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 30 14:30:22 MDT 2010

     Earlier in this decade, I received a contact from a potential client which seemed slightly unusual. The records this person was interested in were from the 1960s and 1970s, and the explanation of their interest was vague. I don't recall all the details, but do remember at least suspecting some of these records might be for dead infants.
     I sent the person a brochure - along with a nicely worded letter explaining that, to do this type of research, I would want to have some assurance of the reason and legitimacy of the research first. I never did get an answer back. Even if I had, I doubt I would have accepted the work. Something just felt a bit odd, even though I had no clear proof of any wrongdoing.
     Today, I was reading a news account of the Russian "spy" arrested in Cambridge, Mass. which mentioned that he seems to have used the identity of a Canadian man's dead brother. It reminded me of this incident, and although it was probably completely unconnected, highlighted the type of complications I _could_ have brought down on my own head if I'd been less cautious.
     I always preferred research that reached further back into history, anyway, but whatever your tastes, there are times it is really best to be careful. I have no idea how "Donald Heathfield" actually obtained his "birth" record, but the point is that when dealing with recent records, there are situations no sane person wants to get involved in. Sure, spies would probably get the records they wanted anyway - but I'd rather let them do that themselves. I'd have no desire to help them, and no desire to get sucked down in the undertow, either.
     Something to keep in mind when you get a research request that doesn't quite feel right.
                          Ray Beere Johnson II


More information about the APGPublicList mailing list