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).