New Maine Vital Records Regulations Now in Effect

The new regulations governing access to Maine vital records went into effect on Monday:

Individuals who may access vital records less than 100 years old include:


  • The person named on the record;
  • The person's spouse or registered domestic partner;
  • The parent(s) named on the record;
  • Descendants of the person named on the record;
  • Registrant's legal custodian, guardian, or conservator or respective authorized representative (includes attorney, physician, or funeral director); and
  • Genealogists who have a Maine CDC issued researcher identification card.

And how does one obtain a "Maine CDC issued researcher identification card"? That isn't clear from the website, but the FAQs will tell you what hoops you'll need to jump through to order certified records less than a century old.

Views: 524

Comment by Kathy Williamson on July 14, 2010 at 1:05am
Heyyyyyyyyyy Chris! How are you?! I stumbled on this blog post because I'm doing a story on this tonight and was trying to figure out the i.d. card thing. Here is some stuff I found

So it looks like they are given out by the Vital Records Registrar, $50 to apply, and they want to know "the type of vital record and dates of events to which access is requested." I couldn't find anything that said whether anyone can have it who applies, or is there a background check, or what is the deal.
Comment by Chris Dunham on July 14, 2010 at 1:48am
Hey, Kathy! Has it really been 20+ years?

Thanks for the info. I sincerely doubt that these new regs will do anything to prevent identity theft (and Maine already ranks near the bottom in identity theft complaints), but at least our legislators can go home feeling they've done something productive. On the bright side, those $50 fees might fill a few potholes.
Comment by Kathy Williamson on July 14, 2010 at 5:03am
Noooooooooo, I don't think it's possible that it's been that long. You must be mistaken. Anyway, don't get me started on laws that are just made to help people feel good, pretending they did something. So I wonder if they would still restrict you if you just want to look at the record and not take away a certified copy.
Comment by Chris Dunham on July 14, 2010 at 12:28pm
The way I read it, you'd need a $50 i.d. card just to inspect records. I have no problem with restricting access to certified copies of my birth certificate, but keeping Depression-era vital records from public view is just ridiculous. If someone's going to steal my identity, it's far more likely to be an acquaintance or family member than a stranger viewing my great-great-grandfather's death record at the state archives.

And, yes, it has been that long. But don't worry, the picture in my profile is not me, it's my great-grandfather. I haven't aged quite that much.
Comment by Kathy Williamson on July 14, 2010 at 2:47pm
Exactly what I was thinking. It wouldn't have stopped the guy who stole my damn debit card number. Anyway, I think there might be serious F.O.A. issues here. I did a follow-up with the City Clerk in Lewiston and she confirmed that you can't even have the information. I've been doing a lot of family history lately, just trying to clear up mysteries. I was in Lewiston City Hall a week ago snooping around, trying to find a cause of death for my grandmother's uncle, at her request, and the clerk didn't mention this new rule coming into effect. Didn't find his death cert., which means he must have died in another town, and now it looks like I'm too late to figure it out.

Also, did they sneak this by you? I'm not sure what process they used for the rulemaking.
Comment by Chris Dunham on July 14, 2010 at 3:12pm
I think the first HHS committee hearing came as a surprise, given that "No one spoke in opposition to the bill." Genealogists subsequently weighed in, and the bill was amended to allow them limited access.

Do you have a date of death for your grandmother's uncle? I might be able to dig up an obituary that would give you his place of death. And if I ever scrape up the $50 and pass the polygraph or whatever, I could maybe pull his death record at the state archives.
Comment by Kathy Williamson on July 14, 2010 at 3:47pm
LOL your creds are stellar and I bet we could take up a collection. I'll put you on the prayer list at Johnny's church.

His name was Archela or Athanas Chouinard. (Archela on his headstone, Athanas in the 1910 census) He was born in Canada in April of 1892. He died on March 14, 1911. He lived in Lewiston at the time. I didn't find anything in the Lewiston Sun or Journal, and I looked at the French newspaper on microfilm and didn't see anything. I can go back and look again, because that paper is really hard to read.
Comment by Chris Dunham on July 14, 2010 at 4:28pm
Yeah, I don't see anything in the Lewiston papers either. It was a great day for genealogy when they started putting all the obits on page 2.

His 100 years will be up next March, so you could always wait until then and order his death record from the state archives. If he died in Maine, it should be there. And if I ever become a "registered genealogist," I promise to put this on my to-do list.
Comment by Kathy Williamson on July 14, 2010 at 4:37pm
Oh, good idea, I have known about this for years, I guess I can wait til march if I have to. I also noticed in the Sun and Journal, they didn't talk much about French people unless it was someone really famous, and from Augusta. Not Canada or Lewiston.
Comment by Chris Dunham on July 14, 2010 at 4:49pm
True, I noticed that they had a column buried deep in the paper titled "Among Our Franco-Americans in Lewiston and Auburn." This despite the fact that about a quarter of the cities' combined population in 1910 was born in Canada.

I guess it's really not that surprising that the death of an 18-year-old immigrant in 1911 wouldn't merit a write up in the paper. Unless, of course, he was a murder victim or died in some horrific factory accident.


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