Genealogical Proof Standard

Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.

A standard is a rule or a principal used as a basis for judgement or evaluation. Standards are often set a guideline for performance or acceptability. The Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS), established by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), is a standard established for "proving" genealogical conclusions, especially when the evidence is not clear-cut or there are conflicts of information. The standard consists of five elements and seventy-four standards. According to the BCG, "each conclusion about an ancestor must have sufficient credibility to be accepted as "proved." Acceptable conclusions, therefore, meet the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS)."

Applying the Genealogical Proof Standard can help researchers conduct credible research that can stand on its own and hold up to the scrutiny of others. Information that meets the standard does not ensure complete accuracy, but does afford a well-reasoned conclusion based on the best available information available.

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