SpringBoard is pleased to offer a review of this BCG Skillbuilding lecture, presented 4 May 2018.

F341, Judy G. Russell, JD, CG®, CGL℠, “A Matter of Standards: DNA and the GPS”

Reviewed by Darrell Jackson, PhD, CG®

The theme of the lecture was how DNA results must be tested by the Genealogical Proof Standard.

The greatest emphasis was placed on the application of the first standard and the third standard.

Judy RussellRegarding the first standard: Genealogists must consider whether to use DNA as a source for answering genealogical questions. DNA testing is among the “high quality sources” that have to be considered but, in some cases, it can’t or need not be used. Not every genealogical question can be answered by DNA testing, it often requires cooperation of others who may not be willing to help, and testing sufficiently broad in scope to answer a question may be prohibitively expensive.

Regarding the third standard: The obligation to use DNA in an appropriate case should not make genealogists lose sight of the fact that DNA alone cannot convincingly answer any genealogical question without at least one piece of non-DNA information. Striking examples of this were displayed.

Although pointing to Elizabeth Shown Mill’s Quicksheet on Citing Genetic Sources for History Research Evidence! Style and her “QuickLesson 21: Citing DNA Evidence: Five Rules,” posted at the EvidenceExplained.com website, the presentation would have been more helpful if specific examples had been given of how to cite DNA research to meet the second standard.

The lecture concluded with emphasis on the need to scrupulously observe ethical standards in the use of DNA results. The Genetic Genealogy Standards and the NGS Guidelines on Sharing Information with Others were cited as examples of such standards.

A recording of this lecture may be ordered from Playback Now www.playbackngs.com.

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.