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Archiver > APG > 2009-02 > 1234119536

From: Kathy <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Copyright Mavens - 1700s & 1800s documents
Date: Sun, 08 Feb 2009 13:59:10 -0500

> I've seen this before also with a descendant of a Protestant minister
> who inherited his private register and hoarded it for many years
> trying to make money on it. There wasn't really a copyright
> issue--just an issue of possession and refusal to release the data.

In the absence of any direct evidence as to someone's motives, I'm not
sure why it's necessary or productive to ascribe the basest ones to him.
Perhaps he was concerned about preservation, or about privacy.

> I've heard of several situations with records owned by the Catholic
> Church. I believe the thinking behind the "copyright" is that vital
> records created under the umbrella of the Catholic Church, as a
> private entity, can be protected because they are the records of just
> that-a private religious group. They're not the records of a public
> government and so aren't treated as records for the public to which
> everyone has a right to view.

Records of churches of ALL denominations are private, not public, as are
records of funeral homes, businesses, etc. Private entities are under no
obligation to open their records to genealogists or other curiosity
seekers, nor are they obliged to explain their reasons for keeping their
records closed.

Kathleen Lenerz, Ph.D.

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