24 September 2009

ELG Supports PaHR-Access

"PaHR-Access (People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access) is strictly a grassroots organization started in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania in August of 2007. It was first known as People for Better Access to Pennsylvania Historical Records (PBAPHR). The name change took place in early November 2007 to allow for a more pronounceable acronym (i.e. par-access)."

The mission of PaHR-Access is to promote legislation that will make directly accessible vital records of our deceased Pennsylvania ancestors. These records are some of the best sources to expand our pedigrees as they will often list parents names. Having a copy of the record will also help us build stories about our ancestors. Even those who have no genealogical interest may benefit from statistical knowledge and/or history as well as potentially learning their ancestral medical histories. Some such records may be obtained after long processes, mail-in forms, identification and fees currently, but anyone who has done this will understand the need to have direct public access.

Though not officially affiliated ELG has grown alongside PaHR-Access for the past two years. With permission of the administrator, Tim Gruber, the founder of ELG created a social network group on Facebook to help make others aware of this cause. For some time we were running ads on the Internet to help inform individuals of the need for action. In local churches we posted fliers and were able to obtain a majority at one congregation to send letters encouraging PA House Representatives to stand with us on this issue. The majority of my contact with state governmental officials on this topic has shown their opinion is in the affirmative.

It is a slow hard process as with most changes in legislation, but with continued effort we will prevail. Anyone who has ancestors in Pennsylvania will benefit from the passing of the recommended legislation directly. Though I have few Pennsylvania ancestors I take a personal interest in this for my clients as well as the entire community.

It is encouraging that several genealogical and/or historical organizations have been endorsing the movement.

Please do whatever you can to contribute your time. You can go to the website by clicking the title on this post or get ideas here.

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