Best Practice Guidelines

The New Zealand Society of Genealogists wants to encourage members to produce high quality, accurate and scholarly research into the histories of their families. To assist members to pursue and achieve this outcome, the NZSG provides the following guidelines for best practice adapted from the standards and principles of UK's Society of Genealogists and USA's National Genealogy Society:

  • Key information will be obtained by using original sources and records (or unaltered reproduced images), supporting any conclusions and statements of fact with evidence from primary sources.
  • Members will undertake their own thorough investigation and analysis of evidence leading to logical and reasoned family connections. Where a number of alternatives are possible, each will be tested until a conclusion is reached capable of convincing others that it is valid.  Less conclusive solutions will be qualified as possible or probable, those not supported will be rejected.
  • Research undertaken by someone else will not be accepted without the member verifying the conclusions for themselves. 
  • Something will only be stated as fact when it can be supported by firm evidence, the source of which will be stated when facts are shared with others.
  • Sources will be clearly and accurately recorded and cited for all information gathered to enable others to readily evaluate evidence for those conclusions reached. Where research is utilised that has been undertaken by someone else, they should be acknowledged and their work attributed as a secondary source.
  • Members should use a consistent source citation system. Any documents submitted to the NZSG for publication must include consistently cited sources.
  • Members will ensure they abide by the NZSG’s Code of Ethics.
  • Copyright obligations will be complied with. Particular care should be taken when using images and maps, with permissions being obtained for their use where applicable.
  • Comment and review of work will be received with an open mind as will the consideration of new evidence.

Further Resources

Following the methodology outlined in the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) will help you achieve many of these Best Practice Guidelines. There is an introductory presentation and notes on the GPS available in our Getting It Right series on Effective Research.



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