A Genealogist's Code of Conduct

Despite the fact that a good genealogist must be a truly professional researcher, the public perceives genealogy as nothing but a hobby in which the proverbial "little old lady" collects ancestors like the boy down the street collects stamps. Unfortunately, this view is also held by many records custodians and librarians; and this perception is reinforced by the less-than-professional and sometimes criminal behavior of many researchers. Glenn Atwell, professional genealogist and member of the Western New York Genealogical Society, sums up the Golden Rule of Genealogy as follows: "Do as you would if you were to return there as the next genealogist." 1 Here are some of my own specific Do's and Don'ts.

The National Genealogical Society has published the following pages on Genealogical Standards. Every genealogist, whether beginner or expert, hobbyist or professional, should read these.


1Glenn R. P. Atwell, "Our Own Worst Enemy," in Western New York Genealogical Society Journal, vol. XIX, no. 1, June 1992, pp. 6-8




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