04 March 2019

DNA Standards - Part 1

Tomorrow is the big day when the 2019 version of Genealogy Standards starts shipping. This second edition of the book adds standards specifically for using DNA.

Read more and preorder your copy through the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) at https://bcgcertification.org/product/genealogy-standards-2d-edition/. As an Amazon Associate, BCG earns a small commission from purchases of this volume using this link: https://amzn.to/2XwKr5W.

BCG, Genealogy Standards, 2nd ed. (Nashville: Ancestry, 2019)

For "DNA Standards - Part 2" see https://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2019/03/dna-standards-part-2.html.

For "DNA Standards - Part 3" see https://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2019/03/dna-standards-part-3.html.

For "DNA Standards - Part 4" see https://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2019/03/dna-standards-part-4.html.

For "DNA Standards - Part 5" see https://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2019/03/dna-standards-part-5.html.


Only BCG provides official answers on what it expects to see in application portfolios. No one, not even members of the BCG Board of Trustees or associates helping at exhibit hall booths, speak officially for BCG. For specifics on what BCG expects to see in portfolios, please use BCG’s website, blog, newsletter, and other means of communication:



The following presents opinions and interpretations of the standards by Debbie Parker Wayne. This is one interpretation as to how the Genealogy Standards can be applied by all genealogical researchers using DNA. No genealogy or DNA police will come knocking on your door if you disagree with this interpretation and have your own preference on what to do.

When we first began discussing standards for DNA, my own goal was to provide guidance for the genealogists using DNA, not to force every genealogist to use DNA (even though I think all should when DNA can contribute to the evidence that answers a question). DNA findings can overturn any conclusions about family relationships. So can many of the other record types that we use every day.

I believe any good genealogical researcher can learn to use DNA. Nevertheless, it takes education and practice to become proficient at DNA analysis. Not all good genealogists have yet had time to obtain that education and practice analysis using their own families. However, ignoring DNA test results when researching kinship questions is akin to ignoring any other record type—census, deeds, probate, Bible records, and so on. Researchers should learn to use all applicable records or obtain assistance to analyze those records. Again, the DNA police are not going to force anyone to do so; however, I think most researchers want to be sure the parent-child links in a pedigree are correct and will eventually use DNA for confirmation.

Even if tests and tools change, the standards provide guidance and best practices we can all use as we incorporate DNA analysis into our research. The updated Genealogy Standards indicate the following things are necessary when using DNA to help answer a research question (paraphrased, reorganized, and simplified from what is in the book):

There are many genealogical questions that can be answered without DNA evidence. However, if DNA is used these things should be considered along with all the standards that are not specific to using DNA.

Each of these bullet items will be discussed further in separate posts. The last three bullets seem to be causing the most discussion between genealogists.

All statements made in this blog are the opinion of the post author. This blog is not sponsored by any entity other than Debbie Parker Wayne nor is it supported through free or reduced price access to items discussed unless so indicated in the blog post. Hot links to other sites are provided as a courtesy to the reader and are not an endorsement of the other entities except as clearly stated in the narrative.

1. mohamed_hassan, DNA helix, Pixabay (https://pixabay.com/en/silhouette-dna-biology-medicine-3691934); Pixabay license, image modified by Debbie Parker Wayne.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "DNA Standards - Part 1," Deb's Delvings, 4 March 2019 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2019, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved

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