Texas State Genealogical Society Alert: House Bill 3252 – Closing Texas Birth and Death Records

Texas State Genealogical SocietyI’ve been a member of the Texas State Genealogical Society(TSGS) since 2011 and what I’ve enjoyed most about my membership is being kept abreast of state legislation that will impact my research. So what is before the state right now? House Bill 3252 by Rep. John Zerwas that would close Texas birth records for 125 years and Texas death records for 50 years! So read TSGS’s alert below! What is the current status of HB 3252? According to the Texas Legislature Online History Website for HB 3252, it’s “pending” in committee at this time. But for how long? I don’t know, but I will definitely be following the different stages of this bill and you can too, if you like, at the link below:
TSGS LEGISLATION ALERT! – House Bill 3252 – Closing Birth and Death Records

We are writing to you as a member of the genealogical community of Texas to alert you to a bill being considered by the Texas Legislature. We should have sent this alert out to you sooner. We’ve been so consumed with developing a response and strategy that we’ve neglected to keep you informed. We promise to do a better job of sending you alerts in the future more quickly.

House Bill 3252 by Representative John Zerwas (Fort Bend County) would close Texas birth records for 125 years and Texas death records for 50 years. Under current Texas law, birth and death records now become public information 75 years after a birth and 25 years after a death. Proponents of the bill believe that closing birth and death records for 125 and 50 years will prevent identity theft and fraud.

TSGS is actively opposing this legislation. Last week, President Susan Kaufman, President-Elect John Wylie, Director Randy Whited, and Records Preservation and Access Chair Teri Flack testified before the House Public Health Committee strongly expressing our opinion that increasing these time limits will do nothing to prevent identity theft and that, particularly by closing death records for 50 years, family historians will be prevented from obtaining their family’s health history in a timely manner. We provided background information to enable the members to understand the impact of the bill. A copy of the bill, the written testimony we submitted to the committee, and our written response to questions and issues raised during the hearing may be found at http://www.txsgs.org/RPAC/RPAC.html. If you are so inclined, you can watch the hearing at http://www.txsgs.org/TSGS/hb3252/.

We know it will take the effort of our entire community to persuade legislators that this bill is unnecessary. We are asking you to write Rep. Zerwas and express your opinion. His email address is john.zerwas@house.state.tx.us.  It does not have to be a lengthy point-counterpoint communication. Feel free to use some of the arguments we included in our testimony; however, most legislators dismiss anything that sounds like a form letter. So, it would be counterproductive to simply forward this alert or a copy of our testimony. Rep. Zerwas has already listened to our official testimony. A simple, personally crafted message in your own words will be more effective.

We are also asking you to write to members of the House Public Health Committee, particularly if you live in the district of one of the members. Here’s a link to the committee so you can see who the members are and to find their email addresses:  House Public Health Committee members.  Be sure to let them know you are writing to them about HB 3252 because of their membership on that committee. Not sure if you live in a member’s district? You can go to Texas Legislature Online at http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/ and plug in your address information. It will tell you who your representative and senator are.

Please don’t dawdle. The bill may be voted out of the Public Health Committee as early as Friday. So, the sooner you write the more impact you will have.

Please forward this message to anyone who might be willing to climb aboard this urgent effort. You don’t need to limit it just to your fellow genealogists. Send it to anyone who might be willing to speak up for open government.

Thank you for your support of this effort. We’ll keep you posted on any action taken by the Legislature.

Sue Kaufman
Texas State Genealogical Society


Source Citation:

Kaufman, S. (2013, April 10). TSGS LEGISLATION ALERT! – House Bill 3252 – Closing Birth and Death Records [Genealogical Societies: TX-TEXSTATE Mailing List]. Retrieved April 12, 2013, from http://lists.rootsweb.ancestry.com/index/other/Genealogical_Societies/TX-TEXSTATE.html


Houston Genealogical Forum Calendar of Events

I am a member of the Houston Genealogical Forum and our 2012-2013 season will be starting up soon. I really like this year’s line-up of presenters and speakers and look forward to seeing as many of them as possible. I joined the Houston Genealogical Forum for the first time in 2011, but did not get to attend often because of other commitments and scheduling conflicts. But that won’t be the case for me this season!

The Houston Genealogical Forum is a non-profit Texas corporation founded in 1958. All meetings are held on the first Saturday of every month (unless otherwise noted) at the:

Bayland Park Community Center
6400 Bissonnet
Houston, Texas 77074

Meetings begins at 10 AM, doors open at 9 AM. Come early and enjoy the refreshments. Visitors are always welcome!


Saturday, September 8, 2012 General Meeting extended meeting time

An award winning authority on Virginia Colonial records, Barbara Vines Little, CG will get our season started off. Barbara’s topics include “Researching in Virginia’s Records and Repositories”, “Digging Deeper: What We Can Learn from Land Patents” and “Virginia Tax Records: A Gold Mine of Information”

Saturday, October 6, 2012 General Meeting extended meeting time

Author of Eastman’s Online Daily Genealogy Blog, Dick Eastman will be here to bring us up-to-date on various technologies that can assist us in our search. Topics include “Mocavo: The best? search engine that many have never heard of”, “Blogging for Genealogists: Using blogs for coordinating your efforts” and “Cloudy, with a Chance of Genealogy: A simple, down-to-earth explanation of what the cloud is and how genealogist can use it to simplify their computer usage”

Saturday, October 27, 2012 at Clayton Library 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Back by popular demand, we will be having a “Members Helping Members Day” at Clayton Library. This is an opportunity to receive hands on assistance of navigating the records at Clayton Library from our knowledgeable members.

Saturday, November 3, 2012 General Meeting Free Seminar 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

All Things German! Former German Collection manager of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and nationally recognized lecturer, Warren Bittner, CG will be joining us for this special free seminar. Warren will be here to guide you in making that jump across the Atlantic to assist you in your German research. His topics include: “German Maps and Territories: You Can’t Do Research Without Them” – learn about the historical boundary changes in Germany and how to find the records for various regions. “Marriage Laws and Customs” – learn how German marriage laws changed 1500-1900, tight marriage restrictions and marriage customs. “Beat the Children with a Fresh Birch Stick So the Animals Don’t Get Worms: Reading for Historical Content” – read to understand your ancestors in their own world on their own terms, how to find books about the cultural, political, social and occupational lives of your ancestor. “On-site Research in German Archives” – an amazing number of untapped records survive in Germany and how to find the records for various regions.

Saturday, December 1, 2012 General Meeting extended meeting time

The ultimate authority on Revolutionary War ancestry, Lloyd Bockstruck will present “Successfully Searching Revolutionary War Records”. This nationally recognized author and lecturer will give you all the tools to research both your male and female lines.

Saturday, January 5, 2013 General Meeting

Our own, Marje Harris, retired manager of The Clayton Library will present “Gone to Texas: How to Get From There to Here” on early migration routes from the southeast Atlantic coast to Texas.

Saturday, February 2, 2013 General Meeting

Taking off his HGF President’s hat for this meeting only, Robert de Berardinis will be our guest lecturer on the topic “A Complete Guide to Records of the French in North America: Acadia, Canada, Louisiana and the Caribbean 1509-1811”. Robert is a national expert of all things “French” and you are sure to learn a lot from his presentation.

Visit the Houston Genealogical Forum Online – http://www.hgftx.org/



I want to send some special (((THANK YOU))) vibes to Thomas MacEntee, the Founder of GeneaBloggers.com, and all the excellent genealogists from that online community who stopped by say hello, or who connected with me via Google Friend Connect this weekend!

This blog along with 18 other newly-discovered genealogy and family-history related blogs were featured at Geneablogger.com for May 21, 2011. Can you guess who topped the list? It was ClaimingKin.com! I am very excited about being a part of this community!

So to all the wonderful new friends I’ve made at Geneablogger.com this weekend (be sure to check out these great genealogists below) . . .

Diana Ritchie @ Random Relatives

Gini @ Ginisology.com

Greta Koehl @ Greta’s Genealogy Blog

Dr. Bill @ Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories

Elizabeth O’Neal @ Little Bytes of Life

Jasia @ Creative Gene

. . . THANK YOU so much for the well wishes and taking the time to connect with me online. I will be visiting your blog communities very soon!