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Current Issues in Genealogy by the APG Advocacy Committee

Purpose of the Committee

The APG Advocacy Committee provides information on issues related to access and preservation of records and data used in genealogical research. APG members live in many countries and research in international records. For this reason we are concerned about preserving records and access worldwide. For each issue the committee summarizes the issue, provides a recommendation (with a proposed deadline, when appropriate), and then provides additional information including history of the issue.

If you already know how to contact your lawmakers or other officials and what you want to say to them, this brief explanation of an issue may be all you need. If you need more background on the issue, need to locate a lawmaker or official, or want tips on how to lobby, these links will help.

Issues Being Tracked as of April 2012

Social Security Death Index (SSDI) / Death Master File (DMF)

The U.S. Congress is considering closing public access to the Social Security Death Index (also known as the Social Security Administration Death Master File). This is a critical resource for those working to identify potential DNA donors to allow confirmation of identity for deceased American military servicemen and women, next of kin for unclaimed deceased persons or cemetery relocations, heirs in probate and estate settlement cases and for trust and insurance accounts, and others. The SSDI is also extremely useful to those who are just starting their family history research for a health history or general interest purposes.

For more information on this issue see "Past actions and additional information on SSDI issue."

Recommended action:
It is important that each lawmaker on the committees listed below hear from multiple genealogists. Lawmakers pay more attention to constituents so it is important for you to get involved if you are in the district, but all concerned genealogists should let the committees know how you feel. This sample letter in PDF format or RTF format can be customized and sent to the committee members to voice your concerns. Please FAX it if possible when contacting the individual lawmakers; this is the quickest way to be heard.

Members of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security and the Subcommittee on Oversight that will decide this issue are: If you don't know who your U.S. Representative is, enter your five-digit zip code in the "Find You Representatives" drop-down box, then click "Go" on this page on the website. Contact information for the representatives named above can be found there also.

Past actions and additional information on SSDI issue:
On February 7, 2012, RPAC started a "We the People" petition on the website. If we had been able to get 25,000 signatures within one month this would have required the administration to act on the petition. We didn't get enough signatures, but the fight isn't over. Please follow the recommended action above. The links below provide more information.

Links for More Information

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