• How do family historians know they are producing or receiving trustworthy results? This official manual from the Board of Certification for Genealogists, essentially a users' guide for family historians, provides standards for genealogical researchers to assess their own and others' work. First published in 2014, Genealogy Standards begins with the simple fact that accuracy is fundamental to genealogical research. Without it, a family’s history would be fiction. That first edition of the manual presented the standards family historians use to obtain valid results, updated, clarified, consolidated, and expanded for the 21st century, and tied more directly to the Genealogical Proof Standard. Responding to this decade’s spate of advancements in the practice of genetic genealogy, the 2019 edition modified four existing standards and added seven new standards to guide the use of DNA evidence in genealogical analysis. It also updated the Genealogist’s Code to address the protection of individuals who provide DNA samples. The revised second edition increases the clarity of DNA and privacy standards. Those standards are especially useful in the twenty-first century when many genealogists use a complex new tool—DNA testing—and trace living people more often than they did in the past. Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogy Standards, second edition revised (Nashville, TN: Ancestry, 2021). Note: As an Amazon Associate, BCG earns a commission from purchases using the link on this page.
      Genealogy Standards Second Edition revised (2021) is available in paperback and/or Kindle e-book through Amazon The Amazon listing states that the version they sell is dated 2019. It is not. The item you will receive is the 2021 edition.  


    INTRODUCTION TO THE SECOND EDITION INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST EDITION CHAPTER 1—THE GENEALOGICAL PROOF STANDARD CHAPTER 2—STANDARDS FOR DOCUMENTING 1. Scope 2. Specificity 3. Purposes 4. Citation uses 5. Citation elements 6. Format 7. Shortcuts 8. Separation safeguards CHAPTER 3—STANDARDS FOR RESEARCHING PLANNING RESEARCH PLANNING RESEARCH 9. Planned research 10. Effective research questions 11. Sound basis 12. Broad context 13. Source-based content 14. Topical breadth 15. Efficient sequence 16. Flexibility 17. Extent 18. Terminating the plan COLLECTING DATA 19. Data-collection scope 20. Careful handling 21. Respect for source caretakers 22. Using others' work 23. Reading handwriting 24. Understanding meanings 25. Note-taking content 26. Distinction between content and comments 27. Note-taking objectivity 28. Images and printouts 29. Transcriptions 30. Abstracts 31. Quotations 32. Transcribing, abstracting, and quoting principles 33. Paraphrases and summaries 34. Agents 35. Source analysis 36. Information analysis REASONING FROM EVIDENCE 37. Sources, information, and evidence 38. Source preference 39. Information preference 40. Evidence mining 41. Evidence scope 42. Evidence discrimination 43. Evidence integrity 44. Evidence reliability 45. Assumptions 46. Evidence independence 47. Evidence correlation 48. Resolving evidence inconsistencies 49. Unresolved evidence inconsistencies 50. Assembling conclusions from evidence USING DNA EVIDENCE 51. Planning DNA tests 52. Analyzing DNA test results 53. Extent of DNA evidence 54. Sufficient verifiable data 55. Integrating DNA and documentary evidence 56. Conclusions about genetic relationships 57. Respect for privacy rights CHAPTER 4—STANDARDS FOR WRITING GENEALOGICAL PROOFS 58. Research scope 59. Proved conclusions 60. Selection of appropriate options 61. Logical organization ASSEMBLED RESEARCH RESULTS 62. Integrity and ownership 63. Honesty 64. Background information 65. Content 66. Proofs included 67. Overall format 68. Structure 69. Clear writing 70. Technically correct writing 71. Cross-referencing 72. Genealogical formats 73. Biographical information SPECIAL-USE GENEALOGICAL PRODUCTS 74. Reports 75. Lineage-society applications 76. Source guides 77. Methodology guides 78. Compiled abstracts 79. Reviews 80. Database programs CHAPTER 5—STANDARDS FOR GENEALOGICAL EDUCATORS LECTURERS AND INSTRUCTORS 81. Planned outcomes 82. Content titles 83. Enhancements 84. Bibliographies 85. Presentation style 86. Ownership 87. Course design 88. Student evaluation CHAPTER 6—STANDARDS FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL DEVELOPMENT 89. Development goals 90. Regular engagement Appendix A—THE GENEALOGIST'S CODE OF ETHICS TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC TO PROTECT THE CLIENT (PAYING OR PRO BONO) TO PROTECT THE PROFESSION TO PROTECT PEOPLE WHO PROVIDE DNA SAMPLES Appendix B—ABOUT THE BOARD FOR CERTIFICATION OF GENEALOGISTS PUBLICATIONS EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES CERTIFICATION PROGRAM ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE BCG’s ADDRESSES APPENDIX C—SOURCES AND RESOURCES SOURCE MATERIAL AND RELATED READINGS RESOURCES FOR EXAMPLES APPENDIX D—GLOSSARY EVIDENCE ANALYSIS: A RESEARCH PROCESS MAP
  • The BCG Application Guide, provided free of charge, describes the requirements for certification. Digital download only. View and Download the BCG Application Guide (PDF, Revised 2021, ©BCG)


    Certification is extended by the Board for Certification of Genealogists to applicants who successfully demonstrate their ability to meet research and ethical standards. Credentials are available for two certification categories: a core research category and an optional teaching category. Certification in the research category attests to the competence of an individual’s research, analysis, kinship determination, and reporting skills. All Board associates are certified in this category. The teaching credential is an option pursued by associates who lecture and wish validation of those specialized skills. Certified Genealogist, the board’s research credential, is a registered trademark. Certified Genealogical Lecturer, the board’s teaching credential, is a service mark. The category short forms (initials)—CG and CGL—are also service marks. Individuals who have earned one or both credentials include genealogists who engage in genealogy for a living as well as family historians who value certification for personal reasons. All Board-certified genealogists, including trustees, officers, and judges, are required to submit renewal applications at five-year intervals. This reevaluation ensures that their skills are current and that the work they produce for clients, family members, readers, or audiences maintains the quality expected of modern genealogists.

    Essential Materials

    Two Board publications are essential for individuals who seek certification. They are this guide and Genealogy Standards*. The Guide explains the application process and sets out the requirements applicants must fulfill to demonstrate their skills. Genealogy Standards describes the standards against which work is measured. First codified by BCG in 2000 and revised in 2014, the standards are widely accepted criteria for sound genealogical research.  
    * Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogy Standards, second edition (Nashville, Tennessee : Ancestry, 2019).


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