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From: Stephen Hayes
To: All
Date: 2003-11-06 21:37:08
Subject: Free research in the UK

* Forwarded (from: GEN_BRITAIN) by Stephen Hayes using timEd/2 1.10.y2k.
* Originally from John Chapman (8:8/2002) to All.
* Original dated: Mon Nov 03, 19:01

From: John Chapman <john{at}>

As a result of sloppy and ill thought out drafting of the Freedom of 
Information Act 2000 the UK Government have placed a duty on all 
publicly funded bodies in the UK to provide information to any one who 

This includes central government, health, local government, schools, 
libraries and of course Record Offices. The Act creates two rights:-

1 to be told whether or not the body you address has the specific 
information you require

2 to receive the information (subject to some confidentially and 
security limitations) - they may levy a reasonable charge for this.

What this means is that anyone, anywhere in the world may, from Jan 2005 
ask any record office or other agency whether or not they hold any 
information - say about Mr X (your descendant) You do not have to give a 
reason. The record office must reply within 20 days stating what 
information it holds on Mr X - and this can go back to William the 
Conqueror if you like. This could save people an enormous amount of 
research time as they cannot simply reply - see class xxyy, - they have 
to pinpoint the information.

Sounds daft? - yes it is; but it is merely another example of Blair's 
bungling incompetence as this all has to be funded by the ratepayers who 
own the record office - usually County Councils.

The great danger is that consultants are now going around telling 
councils to destroy their records as soon as possible as if they don't 
possess them they don't have to search them, so as well as bankrupting 
local councils they are intent on destroying our history as well.

If anyone would like to join an exclusive club to put a stop to this 
nonsense then please reply privately to me and I'll put you on a 
separate mailing list of information.
John Chapman
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