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Keeping Watch Over Massachusetts Public Records

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The Value of Open Public Records Sponsored by the Massachusetts Genealogical Council and the Boston Public Library 6-7:30 pm Monday November 9, 2015 Commonwealth Salon, Boston Public Library, Copley Square The program is free, registration is not required. Attendees are encouraged to express their opinions and concerns in this open forum for discussion. Sharon Sergeant, MGC Vice President, will moderate a multidisciplinary panel of experts and attendees to discuss how open public records benefit our society and citizens in practical applications today. Massachusetts was an early adopter of open public records:From the Body of Liberties, Approved by the Massachusetts Bay Colony General Court in 1639 and published in 1641. We will discuss how open public records benefit our society and citizens, ensuring that all laws and regulations are followed to protect civil rights, inheritance and property rights, historical and medical research advancement, records preservation and access as well as the repatriation...
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We are soliciting your input. Have you ever been denied records by any state simply because you are not a resident of that state? It recently came to our attention here at the Massachusetts Genealogical Council that some states have their own Freedom of Information Acts, but that these are designed to restrict records access. With this restriction in place, a hypothetical situation would be that a reporter for the New York Times or the Chicago Tribune or the Boston Globe would be unable to access the records. What is true for reporters is true also for genealogists and historians. Delaware law Chapter 100, Section 10003 (a), restricts access to any citizen of the State: All public records shall be open to inspection and copying by any citizen of the State during regular business hours by the custodian of the records for the appropriate public body. Virginia also restricts records access...
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