The Board for Certification of Genealogists is a nonprofit organization founded in 1964 as a professional credentialing body for genealogists. The founders included four fellows of the American Society of Genealogists (ASG), three leaders of the National Genealogical Society (NGS), and three members of allied professions.
Since 1964, BCG has set the standards for competence and ethics in genealogical research through certification, lectures, and publications. These attainable, uniform standards of competence in research, evidence analysis, writing, and kinship determination became generally accepted for the field. First published in book form in 2000, they were clarified and updated in 2014.
BCG originally offered two certifications: Certified Genealogist (CG) and Certified Genealogical Records Specialist (CGRS). Later additions were Certified Genealogical Lecturer (CGL), Certified Genealogical Instructor (CGI), Certified American Lineage Specialist (CALS), and Certified American Indian Lineage Specialist (CAILS).
All four research credentials—CG, CGRS, CALS, and CAILS—were merged into the CG credential in 2005. This change simplified the system and acknowledged that the essential skills—research, citation, analysis and correlation, conflict resolution, and writing—apply to all specialties. The education credentials were merged into the CGL credential.
After the startup period, BCG trustees have always been elected for staggered three-year terms to provide continuity. Incumbent trustees elected successors until 2000; now all associates in good standing elect trustees. Today there are fifteen trustees, each serving a three-year term, with a nine-year limit. Five trustees are elected each year.
The first issue of OnBoard, BCG’s educational newsletter, was published in January 1995. The newsletter is published each January, May, and September. It carries news, associate profiles, and feature articles on certification, genealogical standards, skillbuilding, and sources.
In 2000 BCG established the BCG Education Fund. An independent charitable trust, the Ed Fund provides an annual day-long educational session, “Putting Skills to Work”; sponsors the semi-annual Helen F. M. Leary Distinguished Lecture Series; and administers the annual Donald Mosher Memorial Award in colonial Virginia scholarship.
Beginning in 2002, BCG began offering skillbuilding lectures at national genealogy conferences. A full track is presented annually at the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference.
BCG’s online milestones include a web site (2001), a presence on Facebook (2009), the Springboard blog (2012), and a series of webinars (2014). For the first webinar, Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, presented “Fine Wine in a New Bottle: Guidelines for Effective Research and Family History.”
BCG offers Emeritus status to certified persons who have retired after a long and distinguished career with BCG, to be determined on a case-by-case basis by vote of the trustees.
BCG offers Retired status to associates who were certified for more than twenty years and who have since retired from the active practice of professional genealogy for monetary gain. A list of these associates is available here.
Since 1964, more than 115 men and women have served as trustees and officers of BCG, and six have served as its executive director.
Celebrating 50 Years
The BCG began its 50th anniversary celebration in 2013 with the following presentations.
David McDonald, D. Min., CG
FGS Conference, BCG luncheon, 22 August 2013, Fort Wayne, Indiana, “No Diamonds, No Cherries: Celebrating a Jubilee.”
Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL
ASG-BCG Banquet, 12 October 2013, Salt Lake City, Utah, “‘We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby’—Standards for the 21st Century.”