Code of Ethics
for .pdf version)
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:
- Promote a coherent, truthful approach to genealogy, family
history and local history.
- 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.
- Promote the trust and security of genealogical consumers.
- 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
- Support initiatives that preserve public records and access
- 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.
- Promote the welfare of the genealogical community.
- 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
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
- Maintain high professional standards
- Increase consumer confidence
- Provide a fair process for handling complaints against
- Identify members who will benefit from additional training
- Identify those committing serious violations of the Code
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
- 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
- Contact the office of the Executive Director (ED) by
submitting the online Complaint
Form or by printing a copy
of the form and
sending it via postal mail. Include
copies of written agreements, records of payment, emails
or other correspondence, and any other items that will
help the Professional Review Committee (PRC) understand
your complaint against the member. These items may be
scanned and sent via email or printed and sent via postal
- The ED will convey the materials to the PRC and it will
determine whether the matter meets the criteria required
for a review.
- The ED will advise the complainant whether or not the
PRC accepts the issue for formal review. At this point the
member will be advised of your complaint and will be asked
to respond through the ED to the PRC.
After the investigation
- Comes down in favor of the complainant and sets out the
disciplinary action and/or how the member can rectify the
- Comes down in favor of the member and sets out why the
complaint will not be upheld.
- Reaches no conclusion due to lack of concrete evidence
or other extenuating circumstances.
Other "Codes of Ethics"
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