Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Hampshire Record Restrictions

US map, New Hampshire highlightedChristmas intruding on Thanksgiving? Retailers aren’t even in the same category as the U.S. presidential race. I’m ready for a break and thinking about record availability is just the break I need.

Fred Moss, a member of RPAC provided much needed clarification following my last article about the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC). RPAC invites us to provide them updates if their table needs to be updated. Send updates to access@fgs.org. Moss also clarified the recommended restrictions (birth records for 100 years, deaths for 25 years, and providing open access to marriage and divorce records). In the words of the executive white paper titled “Open Access to Public Records: a Genealogical Perspective,”

We have made some recommendations representing the minimum public access to vital records that we view as essential. By doing so, our intent is to exhort those jurisdictions whose access provisions are more restrictive to move, at least, to that level. We support open records and it is definitely not our intent to suggest that the more “open” jurisdictions need to adopt more restrictive measures.

Thank you, Fred. Much appreciated.

Now, its on to New Hampshire. As of 7 January 2012 the white paper lists New Hampshire’s record availability as follows

Record Type Year begins Access (Closed, Open, Restricted) Years Restricted Copy for Genealogical Purposes Statute Notes
Birth 1901 Restricted   …People with a tangible interest. 5-C:102 & 105 5-C:9  
Marriage 1901? Restricted Pre-1948   5-C:102  
Divorce 1808? [sic] Restricted Pre-1948      
Death 1901? Restricted Pre-1948      
Adoption     Open   5-C:33 Open to adult adoptee.

I’m unclear on restrictions “pre-1948.” Are pre-1948 records restricted? That seems odd.

In any case, if you are a New Hampshire resident, contact your election year state legislators and let them know what you think about the state’s restrictions. Keep in mind the state’s legitimate need to prevent identity fraud. Then fight fear with facts.

We now return to your regularly scheduled presidential election, already in progress…

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