DNA standards comment period ends tomorrow

Tomorrow, the 23rd of July 2018, is the deadline.

And it’s important that your voice be heard.

What deadline, you ask?

The deadline for comments on proposed DNA standards under consideration for adoption by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

The bottom line here is that DNA has become a mainstream tool in the genealogist’s toolbox, so much so that it must be considered as part and parcel of any effort to conduct reasonably exhaustive research — that first and key element of the gold standard for genealogical proofs: the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS, for short).

DNA and GPS

Synthesized by the Board for Certification of Genealogists between 1997 and 2000 from decades of work by the best minds in our field, the GPS clarifies, organizes, and compiles the field’s best practices to give us all a standard to which our work can aspire.

Its five elements — reasonably exhaustive research, source citation, analysis and correlation of evidence, resolution of conflicts in evidence items, and a soundly reasoned written conclusion — must all be present in order for a genealogical conclusion to meet the GPS.

When first published by BCG, of course, DNA was barely in its infancy. Even when the Board published the work Genealogy Standards in early 2014, more fully discussing what it means to meet the GPS in our work, the full scope of DNA’s impact on our field hadn’t yet been felt.

That’s no longer the case, and, now, BCG has made it clear that it intends to more fully incorporate genetic evidence into Genealogy Standards. A committee tasked with reviewing the issue proposed new and amended standards, and the Board invite public comment on the proposals.

The purpose of the public comment period is to ensure that all of us who are working to bring DNA into our research as much as we can have a full and complete opportunity to weigh in of these proposed standards. This means all of us, whether we’re starting out or well along the journey. Everyone in the field can speak out.

But the time for comment is running short: the deadline is tomorrow, the 23rd of July 2018.

This is a critical step forward for DNA as part of genealogy — getting everyone as much as possible in the same mindset on what it means to have reached a genealogical conclusion based in part on DNA evidence.

So… what can you do about this?

Take a look: a copy of the proposed DNA standards in PDF format can be downloaded here.

Think it through: what among the proposals makes sense? What doesn’t? What’s clear? What’s confusing? What needs more emphasis or less? In short, if we were judging our own work by these standards, would we be able to reach a considered judgment as to whether what we’d done was a good job or perhaps needed more work?

And weigh in: public comment can be submitted using the form here.

Only with the input of the community can BCG reach a good workable consensus and get these standards adopted.

And there’s just one more day to be heard.

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