Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Virginia Researchers Need Our Help

I am sharing this message at the request of Barbara Vines Little, as Virginia researchers need help from the entire research community. Please consider emailing the committee members listed below.

Dear Genealogical/Historical Researcher,

The Virginia genealogical community needs your help in contacting members of the Virginia General Assembly to urge passage of a bill to restore access to 19th century county and city Order books.

A bill passed by last year’s General Assembly, seeking to close concealed carry gun permits from public access, inadvertently closed a wide range of city and county order books (in some cases going back to the 1700’s) from public access.  The attached page from the October 2013 Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter explains the problem.

The solution is in 2014 VA HB 100 offered by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, which will limit the closed period to only five years.  The bill has been assigned to the House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee and may come up before a subcommittee this Thursday.  If it passes the House, it will then need to be passed by the Senate before going to the Governor.

Please email the members of the House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee (whose email addresses are below), with the following suggested message (revise as you deem appropriate).  If the bill passes the House, I will send you Senate contact information later.

Thank you for your support of access to Virginia’s records!

Peter E. Broadbent, Jr.
Former President, Virginia Genealogical Society

Email addresses of delegates to contact:

Sample letter --

Dear Delegate:

I urge you to support HB 100 of Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, now before the House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee.  This bill will cure an unintended consequence of prior legislation which has denied researchers access to Virginia historical public records going back to the 1700’s.

The Library of Virginia has had to withdraw 222 reels of microfilm from research access.  Local clerks have been compelled to deny researchers access to county order books and indices from the 1800’s. 

Please cure this barrier to genealogical and historical research in Virginia by passing HB100.

[your name and address]

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