Public Comment on Sale of Seattle National Archives Building

— NEWS RELEASE —
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 29, 2020
 
AG Ferguson to host remote public comment meeting on National Archives facility and records
Feds did not solicit input in the Pacific Northwest before deciding to sell the building and move the region’s records
 
SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced he will host a remote public meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, so the public can share their comments on plans by the federal government to sell Seattle’s National Archives building and move the records thousands of miles away.
 
The federal government did not hold any meetings of its own in the Pacific Northwest, and did not consult with state, local, or tribal leaders in the region prior to announcing its decision to sell the Archives facility.
 
One member of the Public Buildings Reform Board (PBRB) recently said the sale would allow the Archives building to “become a part of the community, as opposed to what it is today.”
 
The office will record the public comments and forward them to the PBRB. Ferguson will also formally invite the PBRB members to attend the remote public hearing. The public meeting will be held via Zoom from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 19, 2021.
 
Zoom link: https://atg-wa.zoom.us/j/83852186385?pwd=amIvSHA4MHJJdzRVcDgzRSthQjdpQT09
Meeting ID: 838 5218 6385
Passcode: 426894
Phone: 253-215-8782, 838-521-863-85#
Find your local number: https://atg-wa.zoom.us/u/kBnoJrmI5
 
Individuals with questions about the meeting or looking to provide assistance with the case should use this form.
 
“The federal government continues its complete indifference for the communities, tribes and individuals impacted by its plan to sell the National Archives facility and export archival records out of the region,” Ferguson said. “The bare minimum American taxpayers should expect is the ability to provide public comment before bearing the brunt of important government actions that cannot be undone. Unfortunately, in this matter, the federal government utterly failed to meet that low bar, which is why my office is forced to do it for them. I’m inviting Washingtonians to tell the federal government what this building, and the millions of records it houses, means to them and their communities.”
 
On Thursday, Dec. 4, Ferguson announced that his office recently uncovered a dramatic change in the plan for the proposed sale of the National Archives building buried in a 74-page meeting minutes document from October. During the October meeting, the PBRB disclosed that it would move to immediately sell the Archives facility, along with a “portfolio” of other federal properties, in early 2021. It had planned on selling the properties individually over the next year.
 
Ferguson’s legal team is finalizing a lawsuit to stop the federal government from proceeding with an expedited sale of the National Archives facility in Seattle.
 
Additionally, Ferguson’s office already filed four lawsuits seeking access to public records about the PBRB’s decision. Judge Robert S. Lasnik of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington will preside over the four cases. On Dec. 10, Ferguson filed a motion for summary judgment in the records case against the PBRB.
 
Decision to sell the Seattle National Archives building
Last year, the PBRB identified a dozen federal properties around the U.S. as “High Value Assets” and recommended their sale in a manner that will “obtain the highest and best value for the taxpayer” and accomplish the goal of “facilitating and expediting the sale or disposal of unneeded Federal civilian real properties.” Among those properties — many of which involved abandoned or unused warehouses or buildings — was the National Archives building in Seattle, a building housing critical historical documents of the Pacific Northwest, including extensive tribal records. No local, state or tribal officials were consulted in its initial selection.
 
In January, OMB approved a recommendation from the PBRB to sell the building on Sand Point Way in Seattle. The board’s recommendation included removing the contents of the Seattle archives and relocating them to facilities in Kansas City, Mo., and Riverside, Calif.
 
The Seattle archives contain many records essential to memorializing Washington’s history, including tens of thousands of records related to the Chinese Exclusion Act, records of the internment of Japanese Americans, and tribal and treaty records of federally recognized tribes throughout the Northwest. Researchers, historians, genealogists and students routinely use these records.
 
Washington’s tribal leaders, historians and members have noted the federal government has excluded them from most discussions on selling the building and moving documents — many of which are the only tribal treaties or maps in existence — more than a thousand miles away. Notably, tribal officials were never consulted regarding the proposed sale notwithstanding agency tribal consultation policies requiring such consultation.
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  The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
 
Contacts:
Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; brionna.aho@atg.wa.gov

Which Paid Genealogical Site is Best?

Sunny Jane Morton presented a webinar October 21st for Legacy FamilyTree Webinars and it was 100% gold-plated wonderful. She talked about the “Genealogy Giants”  (MyHeritage, FindMyPast, FamilySearch, Ancestry) and the new features from each one. For one week, this webinar will be FREE at Legacy FamilyTree Webinars (21-28 Oct) and then it will go into their library which you must be a member to access….membership is $49 annually to access over 5,000 pages of handouts and hundreds of webinars. But at least, go learn from this one by Sunny! 

FGS-NGS Merger Party


The National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) are extremely pleased their merger will be finalized on 1 October 2020. We invite you to join us as we celebrate “the new NGS” on 1 October at 8:00 p.m. (EDT) at a virtual merger event, featuring host Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL. Grab some snacks, put on your party hat, get your noisemaker ready, and join us for an exciting evening of fun! Share the experience by posting a photo of yourself on social media using #NewNGS. To attend, simply click the link below and use passcode newngs. 

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/ngsmerger

Help us commemorate FGS and salute the new NGS by creating a digital card with Vivid-Pix. Submit by 5 October to see your card live on the NGS website.

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MyHeritage Theory of Family Relativity

I’m delighted to share that we’ve just refreshed the data for the Theory of Family Relativity™! 

This update has added millions of new and improved theories that explain how you and your DNA Matches might be related, and can enlighten you about family relationships that may have been complete mysteries until now. Please take a moment to share this exciting update with your audiences.

Since the last update, the number of theories on MyHeritage has grown by 64%, from 20,330,031 to 33,373,070! The number of MyHeritage users who now have at least one Theory of Family Relativity™ for their DNA Matches has increased by 28%. This time I even got a few theories of my own!

Theory_of_Family_Relativity

The Theory of Family Relativity™ harnesses the billions of family tree profiles and historical records on MyHeritage to suggest relationship paths between you and your DNA Matches, potentially saving you dozens of hours of research. 

As our users create new family tree profiles and as we add new collections of historical records, we’ll be able to deliver more insights and suggest new theories to help our users further their genealogical research.

Read more about the update to the Theory of Family Relativity™ on our blog.

Keep safe and healthy,

Daniel Horowitz Genealogy Expert

MyHeritage Ltd.,
P.O.Box 50, 3 Ariel Sharon Blvd.,
Or Yehuda 60250, Israel

FGS-NGS Merger Vote

A Toast to the Future! FGS Membership Approves Decision to Merge with NGS
The boards of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and the National Genealogical Society (NGS) are thrilled to announce that the FGS membership has voted to approve the merger with NGS. The final tally of eligible voters expressed unanimous support for the merger.
“We are so excited about the bright future of the combined organization that is the new NGS. During the process of preparing for this merger, we have seen a unified commitment and huge enthusiasm of the leaders for serving family history organizations,” said Faye Stallings, FGS President.
“We are so thrilled to be ready to welcome all of the FGS membership to the new NGS,” said Ben Spratling, NGS President. “This merger is all about building a strong, vibrant community of family history organizations that assist people as they discover their ancestors, connect with their relatives, and learn their family stories. This is an exciting time to be part of the genealogy community.”
While there are still several steps before the merger is effective on 1 October 2020, the vote was a big milestone on the way to creating the “new” NGS. The next big step is the NGS election, which will take place from noon (CDT) on Friday, 28 August 2020, and close at 5:45 p.m. (CDT) on Tuesday, 1 September 2020. 
The slate of candidates includes several candidates with connections to FGS. Cheri Hudson Passey, the FGS Secretary, is the candidate for the new NGS role of Vice President of Society & Organization Management. Current FGS Board member Ed Donakey is nominated as Secretary of NGS, and current FGS President Faye Jenkins Stallings is nominated as a director. Former FGS President David Rencher, who replaced Mike Hall on the NGS Board earlier this year, is also again nominated. Three other first-time nominees to the NGS Board are Colleen Robledo Greene of California; Marlis Humphrey of Florida; and Andre Kearns of Washington, DC.
Keep an eye on the NGS-FGS Merger Gathering Place for more exciting merger news!
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Update on the USCIS Fee Hike

Dear Fellow Fee Fighters:

We wanted to provide an update on the USCIS fee hike campaign and a helpful chart summarizing the new changes. Thanks for all your previous support, and we are looking forward to working with genealogists and records access advocates moving forward to demand the transfer of USCIS’ historical documents to the National Archives, where they belong.

USCIS announced their final fee rule this past Monday. Records Not Revenue is dismayed at the astronomical fee hikes that will be imposed by USCIS for obtaining copies of historical records via the USCIS Genealogy Program. Many of the records held by the USCIS Genealogy Program should already be available at the National Archives, and we call upon USCIS and NARA to create and make public a plan to transfer the historical records and their associated indices, as soon as possible.

As of October 2, 2020, researchers will pay a minimum of $160 to initiate a records request, and pay up to $415 total to obtain certain historical records. USCIS will also impose additional fees if the requests are made by mail. There may also be additional fees to repay Congress, in the event of a bailout.

You can view the final rule in its entirety on the Federal Register at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/08/03/2020-16389/us-citizenship-and-immigration-services-fee-schedule-and-changes-to-certain-other-immigration.

In the coming days, Records Not Revenue will update its website with additional information on fees, how all the different permutations of fees will impact researchers, and HOW YOU CAN HELP. Stay tuned.

–Records Not Revenue

https://www.recordsnotrevenue.com/

Vital Records Access

This is the latest update on the changes for ordering birth and death certificates in WA State, coming January 1, 2021 as a result of a new vital records law and rules going into effect.

  • For increased security of personal information, only individuals with specific relationships to the person on the record being requested can receive a certificate.
  • Identity and proof of relationship documentation will be required.
  • Certificate fee will increase to $25.00 per copy.

The Department of Health recently published a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) webpage to assist everyone in better understanding what the new requirements are for ordering birth and death certificates. The FAQ webpage contains information about who can, and how to, order birth and death certificates.

More information and resources will become available as January 1, 2021 approaches.  DOH is working on developing informational handouts to provide to customers that may have questions about how to order birth and death certificates after January 1, 2021.