At least three judges evaluate each application for initial certification using rubrics to assess whether the submitted materials meet genealogical standards. At least two judges evaluate each application for renewal, using renewal rubrics.

All judges are certified by BCG and have well-earned reputations in the field. They are chosen from a rotating pool and as a group bring a broad range of genealogical expertise to evaluations. All are familiar with genealogical standards and the requirements for certification. They serve anonymously, and each judge works independently of the others.

When the first three judges of an initial application or the first two judges of a renewal portfolio disagree about whether an application is sufficient for certification, the submission is sent to an arbitration judge for a final decision. Arbiters make their own asssessment of the work while also considering the evaluations of the previous judges.

The evaluation process usually takes about five to six months. The time depends on the availability of judges. Once evaluation is complete, the applicant receives rubric ratings as well as written comments prepared by each judge. For more information about the evaluation process, see Alison Hare, “A Look at BCG’s Evaluation System,” OnBoard 23 (May 2017): 9–10, 15.

Successful Applications

Applicants whose portfolios are found sufficient for certification receive the following benefits:

• A listing in BCG’s online roster of associates.
• The right to use the credential for which they applied for a period of five years.
• The right to use BCG’s logo.
• The right to participate in BCG’s elections.
• A subscription to OnBoard and access to a complete set of back issues.
• An invitation to join a private email list for BCG associates.

Successful applicants are required to pay an annual maintenance fee. To retain use of their credential, they must submit a renewal application every five years.

Unsuccessful Applications

Applicants who submit unsuccessful portfolios may reapply using new work samples and following the same procedure as before but should first address weak skills identified by their judges. As unsuccessful portfolios typically contain numerous problems, significant time and effort will likely be required to remedy them.


Applicants who can show judging errors produced the wrong outcome may appeal, but the onus is on them to establish by clear and convincing evidence that the grounds for the decision were incorrect. The BCG Application Guide contains a detailed description of the appeal process.