Friday, October 16, 2020

BCG Revises Genealogy Standard 57 to Allow Private Sharing of DNA Match Details

NOTE: The following was received from our friends at the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Please address all inquiries to .

Board for Certification of Genealogists®, 
PO Box 14291, Washington, DC 20044

BCG Revises Genealogy Standard 57 to Allow Private Sharing of DNA Match Details

On 5 October 2020, trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists revised Standard 57 (respect for privacy rights) 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. These changes are effective immediately and will be incorporated into a future update of Genealogy Standards, 2nd edition. Though applicable to all genealogists, the changes respond to concerns about the use of genetic evidence in initial and renewal applications for credentialing. The trustees also 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. For the newly revised Genealogist’s Code of Ethics, access

Following is the revised Standard 57 in its entirety:
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.]

A series of DNA Frequently Asked Questions are accessible on the BCG website at

An upcoming BCG-sponsored webinar, “Using DNA Results to Confirm a Pedigree” presented by Angela Packer McGhie, CG, demonstrates the use of DNA test results to confirm traditional research. Register free before 20 October at BCG’s partner Legacy Family Tree Webinars website ( or view the webinar free for one week following the broadcast on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.

The words Certified Genealogist and its acronym, CG, are a registered certification mark, and the designations Certified Genealogical Lecturer and its acronym, CGL, are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

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