African American Genealogical Proof Standards

A growing number of African Americans are becoming eligible through their expert research, documenting their family lineages, and are joining Heredity Societies. To be eligible to join a Heredity Society, or just for documenting clear lines of your family research, there is a term of usage: Genealogical Proof Standard

In conducting African American genealogical research, there are obvious barriers before us, however, the purpose of the Genealogical Proof Standard is to show what the minimums are that a genealogist must do for his or her work to be credible.

According to the Board for Certification of Genealogists, there are five elements to the Genealogical Proof Standard:

  1. Reasonably exhaustive research has been conducted.
  2. Each statement of fact has a complete and accurate source citation.
  3. The evidence is reliable and has been skillfully correlated and interpreted.
  4. Any contradictory evidence has been resolved.
  5. The conclusion has been soundly reasoned and coherently written.

Any proof statement is subject to re-evaluation when new evidence arises.

For more information about the Genealogical Proof Standard, please visit the Board for Certification of Genealogists website or obtain the following publication: Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogical Standards, 50th Anniversary Edition (Nashville & New York: Ancestry Imprint, Turner Publishing, 2014), 1-3, and Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2013).