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Genealogy Code of Ethics

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Genealogy Code of Ethics

Posted: 1056441493000
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Edited: 1154994125000
Genealogy Code of Ethics

In 1964, the founding trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists developed and promulgated the first ethics code in the field. This code has stood the test of time, for it addresses the relationship that should prevail between genealogical practitioners and those who benefit from their work. The Genealogist's Code was updated in 1994 to reflect changes in copyright law and the impact of electronic media on research and reporting techniques, but its basic principles remain the same.

All genealogists certified by the Board sign a statement at the end of the code that says, "I {name} do hereby acknowledge that I concur with the code of ethics set forth by the Board for Certification of Genealogists and that I shall follow its standards in all phases of my work as a genealogist." Regardless of whether or not we are certified; however, all of us, as reputable genealogists, abide by its provisions.

The code addresses the three major areas of genealogical enterprise in the following words (excerpts from only two areas that pertain to "hobbyist" genealogists are displayed here):


I will not publish or publicize as fact anything I know to be false, doubtful, or unproved; 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 documents I have personally used.
I will quote documents 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 act, speak, and write in a manner consistent with the best interests and standards of both the profession and the scholarship of genealogy.
I will assist legitimate efforts to expose genealogical charlatans; but I will not otherwise knowingly injure, or attempt to injure, the reputation, prospects, or practice of another genealogist.
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 This includes works that are copyrighted, in the public domain, or unpublished.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, letters, 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.

Source: The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual (pages 19-31)
Post Office Box 14291
Washington, D.C. 20044

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