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Genealogy Standards - Rules to Live By

Standards for Researching, Writing, Sharing & Publishing Your Family History

By , About.com Guide


Anyone who has delved into genealogy research online has probably found themselves wondering if there are any guidelines or standards applied to genealogy research and its publication by family historians. The proliferation of misinformation, sloppy work, errors in judgment, and downright mistakes leaves many of us shaking our heads in disbelief.

Much of the problem of this "sloppy genealogy" can be attributed to a lack of education, rather than callousness on the part of any guilty individual. Fortunately, the National Genealogical Society comes to the rescue with a set of standards for genealogy research. There are at present five short lists of guidelines to keep in mind while in pursuit of your roots.

Standards for Sound Genealogical Research
Covers the basics of seeking, using and documenting genealogical record sources, as well as common courtesies when communicating, sharing, or publishing genealogical findings.

Standards for Using Records Repositories and Libraries
Rules for proper conduct in libraries and archives, stressing respect for fragile records and courtesy toward research staff.

Standards for Use of Technology in Genealogical Research
A reminder that computer technology should be considered as a tool to facilitate genealogy, and not as a substitute for proper research and documentation.

Standards for Sharing Information With Others
Covers the responsibilities of family historians when sharing information or data with others, an essential part of family history research.

Guidelines for Publishing Web Pages on the Internet
Stresses that publishing information through Internet Web sites and Web pages shares many similarities with print publishing, and should follow the same rules and considerations. Excellent examples of what should and should not be included.

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