Connecticut-based Godfrey Memorial Library
has become one of the state-approved genealogical societies whose members can get copies of Connecticut birth records. Access to that state's certified birth records less than 100 years old
is limited to the person named in the certificate, legal guardians, spouses, grandparents, grandchildren, certain officials—and genealogy society members.
I suppose we should be thankful the records aren’t closed altogether. But I'm going to complain anyway, and here's why:
First, the law goes against the concept of public records. To get a record, you not only have to prove your identity and your relationship to the person, and pay a fee ($5 to request records from town offices; $15 to request them from the state), you also have to join a special club. Why should genealogists have any more right to a birth certificate than, say, engineers?
Second, the state is, in effect, abdicating its own responsibility to safeguard these records. Instead, it's putting genealogy societies in charge of them. Do you think local genealogy societies are screening members and denying applications of potential terrorists and identity thieves? If someone wants to use your Connecticut birth record for nefarious purposes, do you really think he’ll be scared off by the Godfrey Library's $35 annual fee?
What’s the point of closing the records if anyone can join a genealogical society and get any birth record?