Monday, June 02, 2008

Urge your Representative: sign "Preserving the American Historical Record" Bill

Note from DearMYRTLE: The following urgent action alert was posted in to the NGS UpFront Volume 8, Number 6, 1 June 2008.

Urge your Representative to sign on to the "Preserving the American Historical Record" bill, H.R. 6056.

What is PAHR?

The Preserving the American Historical Record Act proposes to increase gfederal support for state and local archival records held by government agencies, historical societies, libraries, and related organizations. This initiative would preserve and provide access to historical records
through formula-based grants to states for re-grants and statewide services. It would support initiatives such as:

* the creation of archival finding aids, name indexes, and images of key records online;

* preservation actions to protect historical records and preserve them for public use, including digitization projects, electronic records initiatives, and disaster preparedness and recovery;

* programs to provide education and training to archivists and others who care for historical records, ensuring that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to fulfill their important responsibilities.

The program, to be administered by the National Archives, will provide a total of $50 million per year nationwide. Each state would receive a portion of these funds for redistribution to government agencies and organizations within its borders.

The legislative news about PAHR: Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Congressman Chris Cannon (R-UT) have just sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to the members of the House of Representatives, inviting them to sign on as original sponsors for the "Preserving the American Historical Record" bill.

What should you do?
* fax, email, or call your Representative and urge him/her to respond to the Hinchey-Cannon
Dear Colleague Letter and sign on as an original sponsor for the PAHR bill, H.R. 6056.

* Tell your representative in a few sentences why PAHR is important to you as a family historian!

If you need help or more information:

We have posted information on the web at

You'll find:

* a PAHR fact sheet,
* a copy of the bill,
* draft letters and resolutions

Please take a few minutes this week to make a call or send a fax/email/letter to your Representatives in Congress. It's time to tell Congress that our family and community heritage matters a great deal to this country and its people. Americans need and deserve the resources to
ensure access to our heritage. We can do this-with your help!

Follow these easy steps to send an email to your U.S. Representative today:

1. Go to, scroll down to the "Resources" heading, then click on "Your Representative."

2. This takes you to the Humanities Advocacy Network at .

3. Enter your zip code in the box under "Elected Officials" and click "Go" to locate your Congressional representatives.

4. Select the name of the Representative you wish to contact by clicking on his/her name.

5. On the Representative's page, click on the blue bar that says "Send Message" (located under his/her photo).

6. Select "Compose Your Own Letter" and then click "Next Step."

7. Create your own appeal to your member of Congress. Be sure to:

* Ask them to support the Preserving the American Historical Record bill, H.R. 6056, being introduced by Congressmen Hinchey (D-NY) and Cannon (R-UT). To do so, they can contact Anne Georges in Rep. Hinchey's office at 202-225-6335 or Matt Iandoli in Rep. Cannon's office at 202-225-7751.

* Tell your Representative how you will benefit from better preservation of and access to historical records in your community, your state, and the nation.

* Click "Send Message" at the bottom of the screen to transmit it to your Representative.

If the PAHR bill is enacted, you might see:
* Researchers using online digital collections of historic photographs, documents, and maps;

* Family historians searching name indexes online for military service, land ownership, naturalization, and other vital statistics;

* Teachers and students using an online educational site of archival records with lessons that support the teaching of Maryland is history and a host of other academic subjects, from kindergarten through graduate school;

* Historical repositories and local governments with disaster plans to ensure that records are protected in the event of both natural and human-caused disasters;

* Preservation of fragile historical records to ensure they survive and can be used by researchers;

* Identification and preservation of records from under-documented communities such as Native Americans, African-Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and many other ethnic and racial groups in this country;

* Exhibits and public programs to share the excitement of historical records with community members, teachers, and students.

For further information, contact the PAHR Task Force at

"Originally published in UpFront with NGS, The Online Newsletter of the National Genealogical Society."

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