Hints & Tips Five: Standards and Good Practice in Genealogy

The Society has established the following principles to be essential in the conduct of acceptable genealogical research:

Principles of Genealogical Research


Accuracy and honesty of all personal research and of work published, promoted or distributed to others.


Provision of clear evidence from primary sources to support all conclusions and statements of fact.


Use of original sources and records (or surrogate images of originals) to gather key information.


Citation and recording of sources used so that others may also evaluate the evidence.


Logical and reasoned development of family links with each step proved from valid evidence before further deductions are made.


Investigation and analysis of all possible solutions and of contradictory evidence with each alternative hypothesis examined and tested.


Qualification of less certain conclusions as probable or possible so that others are not misled


Acceptance of the possibility that a solution may not be found and acknowledgement of circumstances in which this occurs


Awareness of gaps in the availability of and information from sources at all levels.


Receptiveness to new information and to informed comment which may challenge earlier conclusions.


Acknowledgement and attribution of research done by others and use of such work as a secondary source only.


Evidence only becomes proof through a reasoned and logical analysis and argument capable of convincing others that the conclusion is valid.

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