Genealogy Community Under Attack--Heaing on SSDI and Genealogy Community Response

X-No-archive: yes
I previously posted on this forum about the US House Ways and Means
Committee Subcommittee on Social Security hearing where the genealogical
community was not invited to testify. The hearing held on February 2nd
video was posted to the Subcommittee's website on February 7:
I suggest you watch the entire video as the questions and answer session is
very telling where everyone is on this issue. The most telling is the Social
Security Administrator answering questions on the genealogical community
starting at 28:00 minutes if you don't want to listen to the entire hearing.

The written statements of the five invited witnesses may be read at

The "Legal Genealogist" posted a summary of the hearing which may be read
at: scroll down to February 3

As a result of what happened at the hearing it is obvious that the
genealogical community is under attack and we are responding with:
"Stop Identity Theft NOW"- identity theft is the real culprit-not genealogists.
In addition, IAJGS, FGS, NGS and RPAC will be submitting statements for
the record before the February 16 deadline for the record closure. Please
see for information on what the genealogical community
is doing and how you can participate and check it frequently for updates!

The House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Social Security is
proposing to completely shut down use of the SSDI by genealogists as well as
other industries such as banking and insurance that rely upon its information.
Such an attempt is short-sighted and runs counter to the original purpose of the SSDI: to actually combat fraud.

Because of the negativity given the genealogical community at the hearing
the genealogical community, through the Records Preservation and Access
Committee (RPAC) [a joint committee whose voting members are the Federation
of Genealogical Societies, IAJGS and the National Genealogy Society with
participating members: APG, BCG, ASG, and ProQuest.] is
responding with "Stop Identity Theft NOW". The issue is that
the SSDI used appropriately is a mechanism to stop identity theft!

To learn who about the House Ways and Means Committee and the Social
Security Subcommittee go to:
To learn about who is a Member of the House or Senate go to the IAJGS
website: and scroll down to US Congress

The House Ways and Means Committee Social Security Subcommittee held a
hearing on the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), the commercial name of
the Death Master File (DMF) on February 2nd. The genealogical community was
told they were not invited to testify, unfortunately the Committee members
and those invited to testify made the genealogy community the scapegoat for
identity theft, by focusing on the public access to the SSDI on genealogical
websites. One of the witnesses was a grieving father whose deceased child's
social security number was stolen and used fraudulently for tax refunds by
the identity thieves. He was very concerned that his deceased daughter's
Social Security number could be seen on the internet by anyone. The Social
Security Administrator spoke on behalf of the Administration and during the
question and answer period stated, genealogists do not need the SSDI, they
can get their information in other ways, and can wait as they do for the
release of US census for "75 years".

The subcommittee members indicated that this is a bi-partisan issue and both
the Democrats and Republicans will be working together to address this in
upcoming legislation.

Please share this information with your genealogical associates and

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

MODERATOR NOTE:Some computers may not be capable of playing the video of the hearing.
Read JewishGen?s 2011 Update. Visit
Help your friends discover their past - print out the flier located at and distribute it in your local synagogue, JCC, restaurant or wherever people may benefit from it.
Support JewishGen with a contribution to the JewishGen General Fund!
Sign up for the JGFFAlert!
Join our mailing list at if you
would like the convenience of receiving all soc.genealogy.jewish posts in
your mailbox, instead of having to search for them in the newsgroup, whose
content may not be consistently carried in its entirety by all providers.


Relevant Pages

  • (US) White Paper on Open Access to Public Records: A Genealogical Persepective
    ... The genealogical community, represented by the FGS/NGS Records Preservation and Access Committee which includes the (Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), Association of Professional Genealogists, Board for Certification of Genealogists, Federation of Genealogical Societies, International ... IAJGS's Public Records Access Monitoring Committee ... The IAJGS serves on the RPAC addressing the issues of access to records. ... The genealogical community is in complete support of lawmakers protecting sensitive information from misuse by those perpetrating crimes of identity theft or other illicit activities. ...
  • [US] [CT] SB 414 Changes Immediate Access to Genealogists Access To Records Fails Get Out of Commit
    ... heard by the Public Health Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly ... The Committee did not take action on the bill and, therefore, it ... Current Connecticut statute states that genealogists who are members of CT ... 34th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy ...
  • Re: Committee on Genealogy & Heraldry
    ... any Committee member with an interest in any given petition to recuse ... To me, the active participation of trained, competent genealogists is a ... Of course my personal views only The work of the new committee ... As for questioning and unquestioning, see my account of the most notable post-Mac Carthy Mór case of contested chiefship and the continuing involvement of Office of the Chief Herald personnel: It can be seen that although I have presented a full report, my criticisms are to be disregarded because a professional now appointed to the Committee of Genealogy and Heraldry has found in favour of the Mac Sweeney Doe claimant, even though there is continuing refusal to release the full text of her report. ...