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 Association of Professional Genealogists Code of Ethics

(Click here for pdf version) strictly believes in and adheres to the following code of ethics.

As a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists I agree that professionalism in genealogy requires ethical conduct in all relationships with the present or potential genealogical community. I therefore agree to:

  1. Promote a coherent, truthful approach to genealogy, family history and local history.
  2. Present research results and opinions in a clear, well-organized manner; fully and accurately cite references; and refrain from withholding, suppressing, or knowingly misquoting or misinterpreting sources or data.
  3. Promote the trust and security of genealogical consumers.
  4. Advertise services and credentials honestly, avoiding the use of misleading or exaggerated representations; explain without concealment or misrepresentation all fees, charges, and payment structures; abide by agreements regarding project scope, number of hours, and deadlines and reporting schedules; keep adequate, accessible records of financial and project-specific contacts with the consumer; and refrain from knowingly violating or encouraging others to violate laws and regulations concerning copyright, right to privacy, business finances, or other pertinent subjects.
  5. Support initiatives that preserve public records and access to them.
  6. Be courteous to research facility personnel and treat records with care and respect; support efforts to locate, collect, and preserve the records by compiling, cataloging, reproducing, and indexing documents; refrain from mutilating, rearranging, or removing from their proper custodians printed, original, microfilmed, or electronic records.
  7. Promote the welfare of the genealogical community.
  8. Give proper credit to those who supply information and provide assistance; refrain from (or avoid) knowingly soliciting established clients of another researcher; encourage applicable education, accreditation, and certification; and refrain from public behavior, oral remarks or written communications that defame the profession, individual genealogists, or the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Why the Code?

The Association of Professional Genealogists has a responsibility to serve both its diverse membership and the genealogical client community.

The significance of ethics to APG and its members is reflected in the manner in which complaints are processed and resolved.

When a violation of this Code is alleged, it will be reviewed and investigated if the Professional Review Committee determines it meets all the criteria for such action.

The complaint and disciplinary procedures accomplish five things:

  • Maintain high professional standards
  • Increase consumer confidence
  • Provide a fair process for handling complaints against members
  • Identify members who will benefit from additional training
  • Identify those committing serious violations of the Code of Ethics

Who can file a complaint?

  • Clients who believe a member has not performed as expected or has failed to complete a genealogical service (research report, seminar, etc.). A client is any individual with whom a current member in good standing has an agreement in writing, i.e., letters, emails, or formal contracts.
  • Individuals who are not clients, but who have evidence that the member, in day-to-day genealogical business practices, brings discredit to the profession of genealogy.
  • Any APG member who has evidence that another member is participating in unethical or criminal activity that reflects poorly upon APG as an organization.
  • The Professional Review Committee (PRC) or the APG Executive Committee if either becomes aware that the activity of any member reflects poorly upon APG as an organization.

What we won't review

  • Allegations concerning verbal agreements between a member and another party.
  • Allegations against a member for non-genealogical business agreements such as non-payment of rents or other general business not directly related to genealogical client agreements.
  • Allegations of a personal nature not related to genealogical activity.
  • Allegations of activity that occurred more than 12 months prior to the allegation.
  • Allegations against an individual based solely on his/her position in a corporation unless the complainant can show that the alleged problem is directly attributable to the action of the member.

If you believe an APG member has violated this code

After the investigation