BCG adopts standards for DNA evidence

For immediate release 27 October 2018

News Release, Board for Certification of Genealogists

Board for Certification of Genealogists Adopts Standards for DNA Evidence

On 21 October 2018, the Board for the Certification of Genealogists (BCG) approved five modified and seven new standards relating to the use of DNA evidence in genealogical work. BCG also updated the Genealogist’s Code to address the protection of people who provide DNA samples.

The new measures are intended to assist the millions of family historians who now turn to genetic sources to establish kinships. The action followed a public comment period on proposed standards released by BCG earlier this year.

“BCG firmly believes the standards must evolve to incorporate this new type of evidence,” according to BCG President Richard G. Sayre. “Associates, applicants, and the public should know BCG respects DNA evidence. It respects the complexity of the evidence and the corresponding need for professional standards. BCG does not expect use of DNA to be demonstrated in every application for certification. However, all genealogists, including applicants, need to make sound decisions about when DNA can or should be used, and any work products that incorporate it should meet the new standards and ethical provisions.”

“Standards for Using DNA Evidence,” a new chapter to be incorporated in Genealogy Standards, introduces the issues this way:

“Meeting the Genealogical Proof Standard requires using all available and relevant types of evidence. DNA evidence both differs from and shares commonalities with documentary evidence. Like other types of evidence, DNA evidence is not always available, relevant, or usable for a specific problem, is not used alone, and involves planning, analyzing, drawing conclusions, and reporting. Unlike other types of evidence, DNA evidence usually comes from people now living.”

In brief[1], the new standards address seven areas:

Planning DNA tests. The first genetic standard describes the qualities of an effective plan for DNA testing including types of tests, testing companies, and analytical tools. It also calls for selecting the individuals based on their DNA’s potential to answer a research question.

Analyzing DNA test results. The second genetic standard covers factors that might impact a genetic relationship conclusion, including analysis of pedigrees, documentary research, chromosomal segments, and mutations, markers or regions; also, composition of selected comparative test takers and genetic groups.

Extent of DNA evidence. The third genetic standard describes the qualities needed for sufficiently extensive DNA data.

Sufficient verifiable data. The fourth genetic standard addresses the verifiability of data used to support conclusions.

Integrating DNA and documentary evidence. The fifth genetic standard calls for a combination of DNA and documentary evidence to support a conclusion about a genetic relationship. It also calls for analysis of all types of evidence.

Conclusions about genetic relationships. The sixth genetic standard defines the parameters of a genetic relationship and the need for accurate representation of genealogical conclusions.

Respect for privacy rights. The seventh genetic standard describes the parameters of informed consent.

The modifications made to several existing standards call for:

• Documentation of sources for each parent-child link.

• Where appropriate, distinction among adoptive, foster, genetic, step, and other kinds of familial relationships.

• Use of graphics as aids, for example: genealogical charts and diagrams to depict proved or hypothesized relationships; or lists and tables to facilitate correlation of data and demonstrate patterns or conflicts in evidence.

• Explanations of deficiencies when research is insufficient to reach a conclusion.

A new edition of Genealogy Standards is expected to be ready by next March. A new application guide and judging rubrics incorporating the new standards will be released at about the same time. In the interim, portfolios submitted for consideration for certification will be evaluated using the existing Genealogy Standards.


[1] The Board for Certification of Genealogists® (BCG) contractually granted the publisher of  Genealogy Standards the exclusive right to copy, publish and distribute the standards including amendments. However, BCG-certified associates have the contractual right to include reasonable portions of the standards in presentations, articles, blog posts, social media, and the like. In no case may BCG or its associates allow the standards to be published in their entirety because the publisher deems that competitive to its publication rights.

The words Certified Genealogist and the designation CG are registered certification marks and the designations Certified Genealogical Lecturer and CGL are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board-certified associates after periodic competency evaluations, and the board name is registered in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

“CG®” Officially Registered with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The follwing was just received from our friends at the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

IMAGE: BCG2017 Logo

News Release 16 October 2017 – Board for Certification of Genealogists®

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) obtained official registration of its “CG” mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and was assigned Registration #5280660. This registration offers several legal benefits such as
• the right to use the federal registration symbol ® for CG,
• a legal presumption of ownership of the mark and the exclusive right to use it nationwide,
• the right to bring a federal lawsuit against infringers and recover damages and attorney’s fees, and
• a means of stopping “cybersquatters” from registering a domain name using the mark.

“We are pleased to achieve this level of protection through the trademark registration,” said Michael S. Ramage, JD, CG, the Board’s General Counsel. “The Board for the Certification of Genealogists thanks all of the volunteers who have worked over the years to achieve the protection of the CG designation provided by the trademark registration, including Donn Devine, JD, CG; and Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL.”

BCG currently uses several marks in addition to the CG mark. Our name and certification mark—Board for Certification of Genealogists and Certified Genealogist—are also registered trademarks. Our credentials other than our registered certification marks—CGL and Certified Genealogical Lecturer—are service marks. If a mark is not registered with the USPTO, the trademark owner may not legally use the ® symbol in connection with the mark.

For questions or more information contact

BCG: New Officers 2017-2018

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received frmo our friends at the Board for Certification of Genealogists.
IMAGE: BCG2017 Logo
The trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) met in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 7 October 2017. Five candidates were elected to a three-year term: Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG; Stefani Evans, CG; Nancy A. Peters, CG; Allen R. Peterson, CG; and Karen Stanbary, CG.
The BCG Officers for 2017–2018 are Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, President; Stefani Evans, CG, Vice President; LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, Treasurer; Patricia Lee Hobbs, CG, Secretary; and Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, Member-at-Large.
BCG would like to acknowledge the service of Harold Henderson, CG and David McDonald, D.Min., CG. Harold Henderson served one three-year term as a trustee and served on a variety of committees. David McDonald served the maximum three terms (nine years in all), as President from 2010–2012, and as Secretary from 2015–2017. He also served on a variety of committees, some before he was elected as a trustee.
BCG would like to further acknowledge Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, for serving the last three years as President (2014–2017). Jeanne also served as Treasurer from 2010–2014. She was elected to her final three-year term as a trustee and will serve on the BCG executive committee as immediate past president for 2017–2018.
The BCG lectures at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City were well attended, both in person and as web broadcasts through Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Registrations ranged from around 300 to over 1000. Unfortunately, family circumstances prevented Jeanne Larzalere Bloom from presenting her lecture. BCG is working to reschedule her presentation for a future date.
BCG trustees honored Brenda Dougall Merriman with Emeritus status. Brenda has maintained her BCG certification for 38 years and has been a well-known advocate of genealogy standards in Canada. She authored About Genealogical Standards of Evidence: A Guide for Genealogists, published in 1997 and updated three times. She first earned her certification in 1979, served as a trustee from 1998 to 2004, and was one of the contributors to the BCG Genealogical Standards Manual published in 2000.

For questions or more information, please visit or contact Nicki Birch, cg, at

The words Certified Genealogist and the designation 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.

BCG: Website revision in progress

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at BCG – The Board for Certification of Genealogists. If you’ve been attempting to find the site, the stage 1 revision is not yet working at the time of this publication.BCG website revision

The website of the Board for Certification of Genealogists will be undergoing a major facelift and functionality upgrade in the next few days. 

In addition to a modern look and feel, the new site will offer some critical features not available in the existing site, such as the ability to display properly on mobile devices (tablets and cellphones).

While we’re very excited about the new design, we’re also acutely aware that a change as big as this one will not be without glitches, and probably a lot of them to start with. The rollout of features will be in stages, with much of the public content coming first and content available only to Board-certified associates coming afterwards. As each stage is rolled out, we know we’ll have things that don’t work quite as we expected or wanted them to.

We ask for your patience and your understanding as we work through these inevitable glitches. We’ll be working diligently to correct things and get them working the way they should.

And we will ask for your help. Once the new site launches (and the first stage will go live by midnight on Wednesday, October 4), and you begin investigate the new site, if you encounter a feature that really isn’t a feature but rather is a bug, please let us know. We’ve set up a special email account exclusively for these reports ( and ask you to use only that email for problem reports.

Thanks for your patience and your help as we move forward with 21st century tools!

Cari A. TaplinCG
BCG News Release Coordinator

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designation CG a proprietary service mark, of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by authorized associates following peer-reviewed competency evaluations. 
Certificate No. 1058, expires 24 February 2020.


Question: Preparing for Certification

“Wondering if there is a post on your blog for someone starting the process of certification. I tried a few searches but didnt come up with a starting point. Im starting to think about doing my certification but want to take slow and steady path.” – An Inquiring Follower.

It’s high time I blogged again about this topic, so here goes. There are two genealogical credentialing bodies in the United States.

BCG LogoThe Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG)

iCapGen LogoThe International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICapGen)

Both websites provide examples of what to expect during the credentialing process.

Look into the pre-certification support Jill Morelli, CG provides using Google Hangouts. ICapGen provides similar mentining opportunities. Her blog Genealogy Certification: My Personal Journal contains worthwhile commentary as well.

DearMYRTLE’s YouTube Channel hosts several videos relevant to your preparation that I’ll spotlight in future blog posts. To begin with let’s have you review our Writing for Certification video where our guest Carmen shares her insights.

DearMYRTLE's Profile PicMyrt’s Musings

It is imperative that you not publish anything you plan to submit with your portfolio. Be careful not to blog about your kinship determination until after your portfolio has been accepted.

It is also imperative that candidates not seek research advice, as their portfolios must be entirely their own work – research, analysis, correlation, overcoming conflicting information, written conclusions, citations, etc.

For Further Reading