As a member of both the National Genealogical Society, and the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Standards for Sound Genealogical Research are as follows-
Association of Professional Genealogists
- Promote a coherent, truthful approach to genealogy, family history, and local history.
- Present research results and opinions in a clear, well-organized manner, fully and accurately cite references, and refrain from withholding, suppressing, or knowingly misquoting or misinterpreting sources or data.
- Promote the trust and security of genealogical consumers.
- Advertise services and credentials honestly, avoiding the use of misleading or exaggerated representation, explain without concealment or misrepresentation all fees, charges, and payment structures, abide by agreements regarding project scope, number of hours, and deadlines and reporting schedules, keep adequate, accessible records of financial and project-specific contacts with the consumer, and refrain from knowingly violating or encouraging others to violate laws and regulations concerning copyright, right to privacy, business finances, or other pertinent subjects.
- Support initiatives that preserve public records and access to them.
- Be courteous to research facility personnel and treat records with care and respect, support efforts to locate, collect, and preserve the records by compiling, cataloging, reproducing, and indexing documents, refrain from mutilating, rearranging, or removing from their proper custodians printed, original, microfilmed or electronic records.
- Promote the welfare of the genealogical community.
- Give proper credit to those who supply information and provide assistance, refrain from (or avoid) knowingly soliciting established clients of another researcher, encourage applicable education, accreditation, and certification, and refrain from public behavior, oral remarks or written communications that defame the profession, individual genealogists, or the Association of Professional Genealogists.
The National Genealogical Society
Remembering always that they are engaged in a quest for truth, family history researchers consistently—
- Record the source for each item of information they collect.
- Test every hypothesis or theory against credible evidence, and reject those that are not supported by the evidence.
- seek original records, or reproduced images of them when there is reasonable assurance they have not been altered, as the basis for their research conclusions.
- Use compilations, communications and published works, whether paper or electronic, primarily for their value as guides to locating the original records, or as contributions to the critical analysis of the evidence discussed in them.
- State something as a fact only when it is supported by convincing evidence, and identify the evidence when communicating the fact to others.
- Limit with words like ‘probable’ or ‘possible’ any statement that is based on less than convincing evidence, and state the reasons for concluding that it is probable or possible.
- Avoid misleading other researchers by either intentionally or carelessly distributing or publishing inaccurate information.
- State carefully and honestly the results of their own research, and acknowledge all use of other researchers’ work.
- Recognize the collegial nature of genealogical research by making their work available to others through publication, or by placing copies in appropriate libraries or repositories, and by welcoming critical comment.
- Consider with open minds new evidence or the comments of others on their work and the conclusions they have reached.