Thursday, February 01, 2007

House Passes Records Preservation Bill to Help Genealogists

Last week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 390, the "Preservation of Records of Servitude, Emancipation, and Post-Civil War Reconstruction Act." The bipartisan vote was 414 to 1. The bill directs the National Archives to establish a national searchable database of "historic records of servitude, emancipation, and post-Civil War reconstruction, including the Southern Claims Commission Records, Records of the Freedmen's Bank, Slave Impressments Records, Slave Payroll Records, Slave Manifest, and others, contained within the agencies and departments of the Federal Government." The bill states that its specific purpose is to "assist African Americans and others in conducting genealogical and historical research."

It's pretty rare that the Congress passes a bill specifically intended to aid genealogists.

The bill also provides grant money to States, colleges, universities, and genealogical associations to preserve records and establish local searchable electronic databases of "servitude, emancipation, and post-Civil War reconstruction."

The bill must be taken up by the Senate, where passage is expected soon.

1 comment:

Demetrius said...

That's good news. I hope this will catch the attention of some of the state legislators who are proposing doing just the opposite - locking down archival records out of some vague fear of identity theft.