Jeff L. Thigpen Register of Deeds

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Online Vital Records Search taken Off Internet.

I have decided to make our online vital records search unavailable to the general public as we reassess our public access policies for vitals. Birth, Death, and Marriage abstracts were made available by internet by the previous Register of Deeds. While I understand that law abiding citizens get a significant benefit from this service, there are emerging issues with this practice.

I have had a series of discussions with concerned citizens, fellow Registers, NC Vital Records, Sheriff's office, among others. These discussions over a period of time have led me to this decision. Identity Theft, Fraud, and increased criminal activity regarding personal information on public records are a primary concern. In addition, public records laws related to vital records public availability need to be reexamined based on increased technology in the 21st century.

I apologize for any inconvenience. These records are still searchable from within our Greensboro and High Point offices.


  • This is very unfortunate. Although I definitely understand the issue of identity fraud, removing the records from the “public” domain is not the answer. Any criminal can still walk into the Deeds office and request any vital record, or simply conduct the search himself for whatever he’s looking for. This is an inconvenience for those of us that rely on the records to effectively and efficiently perform our daily jobs. With the price of gas soaring, being able to sit down at a computer from my office and gather the information was wonderful. The time saved in travel and waiting on a computer at the Deeds office was then passed on to our clients. I hope after removing the database from online, he’s added additional computers and staff in the office to assist with the influx of us law abiding citizens that are trying to work.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:30 AM  

  • You make legitimate points. I apologize for your inconvenience. After we more fully examine our options, I would rather have a policy that does not hurt law abiding citizens nor those performing their daily work.

    Again, my apologies.

    By Blogger Jeff L. Thigpen, at 1:53 PM  

  • Thank you Jeff for removing this very personal information. I understand the need for some peole to have easy access to these records, but it shouldn't be at the expense of my personal privacy. It's certainly still possible, but the likelihood that someone will steal my identity through these records is now greatly reduced.

    I think it would be appropriate to remove the real estate records as well. I'm sure everyone realizes that there is such a tiny fraction of a single percent of the citizens of Guilford County who have any really legitimate reason to have such access. With that being the case, why aren't those (with the legitimate need to access because of their profession) the ones to pay for such a service?

    All the records are still available in the office just as they've always been...let those who need online access pay for the privilege, rather than the 99% plus of the citizens who'll never use the service.

    Thanks for a good first step Jeff !!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:28 AM  

  • Bad guys will get what they want no matter what you do.

    Yours is the same old nonsense. More and more law that deters nobody ill-intentioned, and puts ever more burden on legitimate people.

    Robbing your fellow citizens of *easy* access to data they have a right to, is a "solution" that is worse than nothing.

    How many times must government bureaucrats be reminded that they are not employed to think for others, but rather to serve others?

    If you want to deal with identity fraud, become a police officer. Most of them don't want to really do anything about identity fraud anyway.

    Do you know American history?

    If yes, did you forget what Franklin said about trading liberty for the illusion of security and ending up with and deserving neither?

    Perhaps you care more about approval than freedom...which is often lost by millimeters, because of well-meaning, short sighted government.

    Either way, I hope you come to your governmental senses...and if you don't, that enough local people realize the dangers inherent in what you are doing such that they file suit.

    Heaven protect us from the "well-meaning".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:13 AM  

  • These are public records and you are right they should be accessed as easily as possible for law-abiding folks. With over 10 million images--I guess I am Mr. Deeds- King Bureaucrat. This issue is a bag with a thousand holes in it as well. Yes too, criminals will be criminals. Wow, I am agreeing with you. In addition, I am well meaning and I'd like heaven to protect me too from my good intentions at times.

    Anyway, I hope to come to a policy that provides additional safety measures and keeps provides the necessary information the public deserves!

    Thanks for your comment.

    By Blogger Jeff L. Thigpen, at 2:04 PM  

  • It will be nice to see if your replacement can pull us back out of the "Dark Ages" and actually perform the job they were hired to do. Good luck on your next job! You might try something that does not require thinking.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:35 PM  

  • Thanks for the comment. Your reports of my demise may or may not be exaggerated. Afterall, I was voted out of the office of County Commissioner. Luckily, I was elected to serve as Register of Deeds and have no intention of going back to the Dark Ages. Nonetheless, thanks for wishing me luck.

    Again, thanks for your insights.

    By Blogger Jeff L. Thigpen, at 9:23 AM  

  • It would seem that 12:13 AM Anonymous places him or herself in that segment of our populace that includes our ever so burdened “legitimate people”.

    It would seem too from the 12:13 and 9:35 postings that our ill-informed writer believes that elected officials have no constitutional burden to protect the personal information of the citizens they serve……particularly if doing so inconveniences this writer in his or her late-night quest to pry into someone else’s personal business.

    If I understand the reasoning applied by the writer correctly, he or she would suggest that because bad guys will be bad guys, we “legitimate people” should demand that our elected officials do noting to deter the bad guys.

    Isn’t that a little akin to saying that if a thief is going to break into your house, he’s going to do so regardless of the safeguards put into place? I wonder if 12:13 thinks it’s a reasonable approach to lock the doors before leaving home for the day or going to bed at night? I mean why bother……they’re going to break in anyway!

    Why do I suspect that 12:13 and 9:35’s ramblings may have more to do with politics than with the writer’s easy access to public records through the internet?

    The “Dark Ages”??? Hardly………My profession requires that I have access to many public records, but I thank you Jeff for taking this more cautious and reasoned approach. I too have personal records safeguarded by the county, and inconvenient as it may be to me professionally, please, if you are to err, err on the side of protecting those you serve.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:15 AM  

  • Wow, there are some pretty harsh people out there in cyberspace, huh? Apparently, harsh and cowardly - so much so, that he or she cannot sign their postings.

    I'll say nice work, Jeff Thigpen - and to you coward(s) who cannot sign your name; what do you have to hide?

    By Blogger Vincent, at 11:09 AM  

  • To - VINCENT..11:09AM & Anon. 11:15
    I find it interesting that you criticized Anon.12:13(with whom I agree 200% to the point that I did not have to really comment) & Anon. 9:35, particularly on the fact they didn't put their names since you are all for the RIGHT TO PRIVACY. By the way..when I tried to access your profile for chose not reveal yourself. Is Vincent your real name? Why don't you practice what you preach?? 11:15 -If you suspect 'politics' what is your motive???? Or maybe you are suspicious of everyone.
    These are public records.,.what right does one person have to make them unaccessible to the public?? People in this country need to wake up as more and more of our rights are being chipped away. Government is suppose to serve us NOT the other way around. If you all read 'The Real Lincoln' you will find some interesting facts.
    11:15 - as far as your parable on the thief/your house..what's that got to do with access to pubic records?? You are free to safeguard your house as a private citizen. The public is suppose to be free to access public records.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:31 AM  

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