Impact of Budget Cuts on Genealogists

As we face drastic budget cuts to many government agencies, it is interesting to reflect on what these cuts may mean to genealogists of the future. Consider the impact of one 1909 reduction in the budget of  the Chicago Bureau of Vital Statistics as described in Public health administration in Chicago, Ill: A study of the organization and administration of the city Health department by James Clifford Perry,  (Washington  Government Printing Office, 1915), p.121.

“The bureau had a satisfactory organization for registering births from 1898 to 1909. In the latter year this work was discontinued on account of insufficient funds….

In the interim, from 1909 to 1911 there was no registration of births, but in the latter year the county clerk assumed this work and there has been a progressive increase in the number of births registered, so that now approximately 65 per cent are recorded……A law making registration of births compulsory is desirable.”

The Illinois Vital Records Act (410 ILCS 535/) was amended in 1916 to require birth registrations. It also detailed the requirements for issuance of delayed birth certificates for those born prior to January 1, 1916.

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