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Code of Ethics and Conduct


Each individual certified by BCG signs the following pledge:

As a practicing genealogist, mindful of responsibilities to the public, to the genealogical consumer, and to scholarship, I hereby pledge

  • To strive for the highest level of truth and accuracy in all phases of my work;
  • To act honorably toward other genealogists and toward the field as a whole;
  • To adhere to the Board for Certification of Genealogists' Standards of Conduct;

    (and, if engaged in research for others)

  • To act in my client's best interests; and
  • To protect my client's privacy.

To protect the public

  • I will not publish or publicize as fact anything I know to be false, doubtful, or unproven; nor will I be a party, directly or indirectly, to such action by others.
  • I will identify my sources for all information and cite only those I have personally used.
  • I will quote sources precisely, avoiding any alterations that I do not clearly identify as editorial interpretations.
  • I will present the purpose, practice, scope, and possibilities of genealogical research within a realistic framework.
  • I will delineate my abilities, publications, and/or fees in a true and realistic fashion.

To protect the consumer (client or colleague)

  • I will keep confidential any personal or genealogical information given to me, unless I receive written consent to the contrary.
  • I will reveal to the consumer any personal or financial interests that might compromise my professional obligations.
  • I will undertake paid research commissions only after a clear agreement as to scope and fee.
  • I will, to the best of my abilities, address my research to the issue raised by the consumer and report to that question.
  • I will seek from the consumer all prior information and documentation related to the research and will not knowingly repeat the work as billable hours without explanation as to good cause.
  • I will furnish only facts I can substantiate with adequate documentation; and I will not withhold any data necessary for the consumer's purpose.
  • If the research question involves analysis of data in order to establish a genealogical relationship or identity, I will report that the conclusions are based on the weight of the available evidence and that absolute proof of genealogical relationships is usually not possible.
  • If I cannot resolve a research problem within the limitations of time or budget established by contract, I will explain the reasons why.
  • If other feasible avenues are available, I will suggest them; but I will not misrepresent the possibilities of additional research.
  • I will return any advance payment that exceeds the hours and expenses incurred.
  • I will not publish or circulate research or reports to which a client or colleague has a proprietary right, without that person's written consent; I will observe these rights, whether my report was made directly to the consumer or to an employer or agent.

To protect the profession

  • I will act, speak, and write in a manner I believe to be in the best interests of the profession and scholarship of genealogy.
  • I will participate in exposing genealogical fraud; but I will not otherwise knowingly injure or attempt to injure the reputation, prospects, or practice of another genealogist.
  • I will not attempt to supplant another genealogist already employed by a client or agency. I will substitute for another researcher only with specific, written consent of and instructions provided by the client or agency.
  • I will not represent as my own the work of another. This includes works that are copyrighted, in the public domain, or unpublished. This pledge includes reports, lecture materials, audio/visual tapes, compiled records, and authored essays.
  • I will not reproduce for public dissemination, in an oral or written fashion, the work of another genealogist, writer, or lecturer without that person's written consent. In citing another's work, I will give proper credit.


© Copyright 2007-2013 Board for Certification of Genealogists ®. All Rights Reserved.