On 5 October 2020, trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists® revised Standard 57 (respect for privacy rights) and the Genealogist’s Code of Ethics to allow private sharing of DNA match details. The changes also broaden the means by which a test taker’s informed consent can be shown when their DNA data is made public. These changes are effective immediately and will be incorporated into a future update of Genealogy Standards, 2nd edition.

Though applicable to all genealogists, the changes respond to concerns about the use of genetic evidence in initial and renewal applications for credentialing. The trustees also approved answers to a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Standard 57, two other DNA-related standards, and other issues involving the use of DNA test results in genealogical work. For the newly revised Genealogist’s Code of Ethics, access https://bcgcertification.org/ethics-standards/code.

Following is the revised Standard 57 in its entirety:

Standard 57 (Revised). Respect for privacy rights. When publishing DNA test results, genealogists respect the privacy of living people. Genealogists refrain from publishing information derived from DNA test results that may cause harm. Genealogists publish personally identifying information about living test takers only with their informed consent. Assembled research results acknowledge living test-takers’ consents for publishing their data shown therein. [See the Genealogy Standards glossary for definition of DNA test results.]

A series of DNA Frequently Asked Questions are accessible on the BCG website at https://bcgcertification.org/learning/dna-resources/dna-frequently-asked-questions-faq.

An upcoming free BCG-sponsored webinar, “Using DNA Results to Confirm a Pedigree” presented by Angela Packer McGhie, CG®, demonstrates the use of DNA test results to confirm traditional research. Register before 20 October at BCG’s partner Legacy Family Tree Webinars website (http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=5287) or view the webinar free for one week following the broadcast on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.

The words Certified Genealogist and letters CG are registered certification marks, and the designations CGL and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.