Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Book Review: BCG Genealogical Standards Manual

This book is produced by the Board for Certification of Genealogists and aimed at the professional (or professional-in-training) genealogist. The first 27 pages of this book give Standards that should be followed by the genealogist. Some examples:

  • "Materials (published unpublished, microfilmed, photographic, and original) are handled with careful regard for their preservation and availability for future researchers."
  • "Indirect evidence is assembled with care and caution to ensure that all relevant evidence is included and all irrelevant evidence is excluded."
  • "Sources are fully cited."
  • "Lecturers do not reuse another speaker's overall presentation or any part thereof (research, handouts, visual aids, case-study examples, or distinctively worded titles) without written permission and source acknowledgement in both the oral presentation and the written materials that accompany it."

The appendixes make up the bulk of the book and present examples of Client Reports, Proof Summaries, Compiled Lineages, and other writings.

This book is essential for the professional genealogist. As a hobby genealogist with thoughts towards a career in genealogy, I found this to be an interesting read that I will probably go back to somewhat often. I was, however, very annoyed that the examples used distracting made up names and places, like Ila Bee Karefull of Mytown, This State; Joe Somebody Else of Histown, His State; and Ima Kean Researcher of Anytown, Research State. The authors could just have easily used fictitious examples like Joe Smith of Springfield, Illinois, which would have made the appendixes much more readable.

I imagine those only superficially interested in genealogy wouldn't find much of interest here, but they would probably not bother with building a genealogy book collection or reading this review either. I wouldn't call this an essential, as a lot of the info is common sense and/or can be found on the web (I've made one link in the list of contents below), but it's still a nice addition to your bookshelf.


Title: The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual (buy this at
ISBN: 0916489922
Published: 2000 by Ancestry Publishing
Pages: 125
Cost: $19.95

When Standards Apply
The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual
Research Standards
The Genealogical Proof Standard
Data-Collection Standards
Evidence-Evaluation Standards
Compilation Standards
Teaching Standards
Standards for Lecturers
Standards for Instructors
Standards for Educational Writers
Genealogical Development Standards
Continuing-Education Standards
Appendix A: The Genealogist's Code
Appendix B: The Board for Certification of Genealogists
Appendix C: Example Reports (letter, formal, and memorandum formats)
Appendix D: Example Proof Summaries (cover-sheet list & source-cited text)
Appendix E: Example Compiled Lineages (ascending & descending)
Appendix F: Example Compiled Pedigrees (Sosa-Strandonitz & Multi-Surname systems)
Appendix G: Example Compiled Genealogies (NGSQ & Register systems)


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