Genealogical Proof Standards

mga-logo-transparentScience formulates a conclusion based upon evidence. If conflicting evidence is later found, the best evidence determines what the “truth” is.

Genealogy should work the same way. If you have no regard for the truth, then please don’t do genealogy. Take up fishing for a hobby–fisherman are allowed “whoppers!”

The following articles are excellent and are worth reading:

Evidence or Proof? – A general introduction to the concepts of “evidence” and “proof.”

Genealogical Proof Standard – The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) has adopted  a set of standards for professional genealogists to follow.

Evidence Revisited: DNA, POE, and GPS – The legal standard to convict a person as a criminal varies across jurisdictions: some courts use clear and convincing evidence while others use beyond a reasonable doubt. The BCG abandoned both legal concepts as incompatible with genealogy and developed a set of standards more inline with the best practice in current genealogy.

Realizing that most of us have limited time and money, the Mashburn Genealogical Archives does not expect our family researchers to become certified genealogists. However,  we do expect that all of us “foster public confidence in genealogy as a respected branch of history” (BCG, 2007) by implementing the standards as best as we can.

Lastly, and most importantly — it is very possible, especially in complex cases, for researchers to form different opinions based upon the same evidence. However, we can disagree without being disagreeable.