Professional Code

A Qualified Genealogist is someone who has undertaken and successfully completed an approved programme of education following systematic study in Genealogy and Family History, incorporating high standards of academic rigour and professional practice.

The Qualified Genealogist will have achieved an acceptable level of competence and professional discipline by meeting the criteria for assessment through measurable outcomes on that programme. It will be one which is periodically reviewed and validated using an independently accredited and established educational framework.[1]

The Professional Code is an element of the Register to which Qualified Genealogists are required to adhere. The Code encompasses the following three core statements of values, which underpin acceptable Genealogical Practice. Suggested practical examples of each value are provided, although these should not be seen as an exhaustive list.

In the unlikely event that a complaint is received against a member of the Register, our Resolution Procedure will be initiated, which will be overseen by a director.

Below is the Professional Code. A pdf version is available here.

As a Qualified Genealogist you are committed to striving for excellence and will:

Continue to develop and maintain your professional knowledge and competence, and remain committed to advancing your genealogical education and awareness of current genealogical issues.

You will reflect on and record what you have learnt and use this new knowledge to inform and, where appropriate, change your future practice.

Examples include:

  • Acquire a new skill or undertake training related to previously unexplored areas of genealogy or update a current skill through further training or practice;
  • Join and participate in an appropriately focused genealogical group such as a local family history society, genealogical association or a social media group/forum;
  • Subscribe to a relevant genealogical/family history journal or equivalent publication/media.

With the above and any other equally relevant examples, there is an emphasis and onus on you actively to use the information and knowledge gained, to further inform your practice. You are encouraged to disseminate and share this knowledge and information with the wider genealogical community.

Carry out and deliver work to a competent standard to the best of your ability and capacity, through the use of close dialogue, robust research methods, clear written analyses and explanations of results and conclusions reached.

You will ensure overall customer satisfaction by providing appropriate guidance and advice as well as by seeking customer feedback to further improve practice.

Examples include:

  • Ensure all genealogical information is gathered using the correct and most appropriate sources and cite all sources used;
  • Utilise a customer contract where appropriate, which specifies the details of the research process including timings, delivery deadlines and any anticipated areas of difficulty or uncertainty. Renegotiate the contract if needs be and correct any mistakes quickly.
  • Structure reports so that they are easy to read, understand and follow, and fulfil the agreed outcomes of the research.

Behave with integrity and uphold the reputation of the profession and the Register.

You will act with fairness in a respectful, honest and trustworthy manner and will engage in open and effective communication. Additionally, this means practising within the law and adhering to any legal requirements or necessary registrations within your particular area of work.

Examples include:

  • Maintain and safeguard confidential, sensitive and personal material and data and ensure safe practice by registering with the relevant data protection agency, government body, insurance or financial institution. Make public the detail of any such registrations and adherence to this and any other professional code;
  • Obtain the relevant consent for research or work which may include living individuals or for any research outside of the original agreement;
  • Refrain from fraud, deception, disclosure, misrepresentation, dissemination of confidential information or engaging in situations which may constitute a conflict of interests whilst undertaking your work;
  • Be clear as to your course of action regarding situations or discoveries which may cause distress – act sensitively and appropriately in a professional manner.

[1] The standard for registration as a Qualified Genealogist is set at English QCE level 7 (of 8) or Scottish SCQF level 11 (of 12) and equates to 120 ECTS credits as defined through the European Bologna Process.

For more information relating to these levels see the here.