Texas Heir Finder Bill SB 1243 Jurisprudence Committee James W. Petty, AG, CG Testimony 03/25/09
Email from copyrighted material, © 2009, HEIRLINES®
From: Mary E. Petty – Heirlines, Inc
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 8:55 AM
Subject: SB 1243 March 25, 2009 Committee Meeting Testimony by James W. and Mary E. Petty – Heirlines Professional Genealogy (sans 3 attachments referred to email)

Dear Texas State Legislature Jurisprudence Committee members,

Thank you for this opportunity to share with you our immediate concerns about SB1243. In as much as we, James W. Petty, AG, CG and Mary E. Petty, owners and operators of HEIRLINES FAMILY HISTORY & GENEALOGY, Inc., cannot be in attendance today at this March 25, 2009 committee meeting, we appreciate being able to present written testimony. For a description of who we are, please see the attached bios and company info. Also find attached a copy of the letter we sent out last week to interested vendors regarding the now closed Navy Genealogy Research Services Contract Bid Solicitation Number: N0018909QZ027 that required family tree research conducted by credentialed Professional Genealogists (AG or CG) for this Navy government project to discover and locate the legal Primary Next of Kin (PNOK) for 39,000 deceased Navy personnel.

We clearly see the need to limit professional genealogy research services to qualified practitioners and applaud the State of Texas for recognizing this through SB 1243. This however, does have a direct impact on our business, HEIRLINES® and our profession, Professional Genealogy Research Services and fellow practitioners, Professional Genealogists. The bill has significant ramifications as it as an attempt to regulate professional genealogists who provide professional genealogy research services including heir finding and to define the terms and parameters of the profession of Professional Genealogy Research Services by regulating the practicing firms – the good and the bad because of the bad. And SB 1243 goes beyond its Texas borders. It will affect us in Utah (and all qualified practitioners located everywhere) in the interstate commerce activities that we have engaged in for some 40 years: contracting with clients from Texas and other States via in person onsite, the US Mails, the telephone, and the Internet (as www.heirlines.com) for all aspects of our profession for work that involves genealogy research services for the living and dead in Texas and other States.

We are engaged in professional genealogy research services because of our love and passion for research. And we get paid for it. It is not a hobby or a get rich scheme. The US Government codes our work as NAICS Code:561611 Investigation Services and calls it Genealogy Research Services. We are professionally designated professional genealogists, not self-appointed. We have worked directly with heirs, potential heirs, clients, attorneys, courts, governments, interested third parties, and etc. We have worked for hire, for a set fee, for a % of the estate, by the hour, by the project and etc. We are not now, nor have we ever been in 40 years, private investigators or involved in the security business. We are not licensed in any state or country as private investigators or as a security occupation. We have legally conducted genealogy research all over the USA, in Canada, and other parts of the world using everything that legally is available to us to accomplish our client’s authorized goals. We have been hired to do this work because James W. Petty, AG, CG, B.A. (History), B.S. (Genealogy) is a professionally-designated qualified professional genealogist who has earned and has held the professional credentials to do the work, including formal education/degree, training, and work experience in professional genealogy research services, is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), has had held 7 professional genealogy certifications and accreditations including AG, CG, CGRS and CALS , has a current Sandy City, Utah business license and our company, Heirlines Family History & Genealogy, Inc. is an S-Corp in Utah in Good Standing. We have had thousands of clients over 40 years because of these professional qualifications, our work production and best practices, and Heirlines company standards of customer service and commitment to professionalism as professionally-designated practitioners.

We fully understand the need to protect the consumer who has an interest (known or unknown) in an estate or legal relationship that entitles them to benefits (may be monetary or property or other considerations – Ask us about the Sundance Kid case we are working on right now or the Navy Genealogy Research Services Bid Solicitation # Solicitation Number: N0018909QZ027 which closed March 16, 2009.). We are self-regulated and professionally-policed by the standards, ethics, credentialing bodies, and memberships of our profession.

It was clear to us from our reading of the bill SB 1243 that our profession of “climbing the family tree professionally” is not understood and it must be prior to legislating standards and regulations that have the potential to internationally and nationally affect and/or regulate the practice of the profession and the practitioners. Terms, Definitions, and “applicable to whom” must be determined and agreed upon first.
We believe there is a constitutional right to interstate commerce, especially for the professionally qualified. Please let us know how we can work together to accomplish our mutual goal to have the best that can be in family tree work for the consumer, the practitioner, the profession and the family tree legacy of accuracy and ethics in the public domain.

Sincerely yours,

James W. Petty, AG®, CG (SM), B.A. (History), B.S. (Genealogy)
Mary E. Petty, B.A. (History), B.A. (Genealogy)
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Ancestors are the People of History. Do you know who yours are? Let the Professionals at HEIRLINES FAMILY HISTORY & GENEALOGY find your ancestry!
1-800-570-4049 ▪ www.heirlines.com ▪ PO Box 893 ▪ Salt Lake City, UT 84110

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