Board for Certification of Genealogists Revises Standard 57 #announcements #dna #guidelines

Jan Meisels Allen


On October 5, 2020, the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) revised Genealogy Standard 57 and the Genealogist’s Code of Ethics to allow private sharing of DNA match details. The changes also eliminate the need for test takers to provide written consent for use of their DNA data, although they must be informed about the pros and cons.


The changes became effective immediately and will be incorporated into a future update of Genealogy Standards 2nd edition. The changes respond to concerns about the use of genetic evidence in initial and renewal applications for credentialing.


Additional changes include approved answers to a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Standard 57, two other DNA-related standards and other issues involving the use of DNA test results in genealogical work.


Revised Standard 57 now reads:

Standard 57 (Revised). Respect for privacy rights. When publishing DNA test results, genealogists respect the privacy of living people. Genealogists refrain from publishing information derived from DNA test results that may cause harm. Genealogists publish personally identifying information about living test takers only with their informed consent. Assembled research results acknowledge living test-takers’ consents for publishing their data shown therein. [See the Genealogy Standards glossary for definition of DNA test results.]


To access the revised Genealogist’s Code of Ethics go to:


Thank you to Pat Richley Erickson, also known as DearMyrtle, for informing about the changes.  Her blog post may be accessed at:


Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


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