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© 2002-07 AFHS
4 Jun 2007



Ethics & Etiquette


Charlie HansenGensoft - March 2001
by Charlie Hansen, Computer SIG Leader and GenSoft Past Chair

This talk is based largely on the presentation that George Lake gave to the Albera Family Histories Society in January 20001 and used with his permission.

It will begin with a true story about the unauthorized use of Barbara A. Brown's copyrighted article "I Want" from the August 1998 issue of the IIGS Newsletter2

What is Ethics? - Charlie Hansen

A discussion of the definition of "ethics", from George Lake's work, concluding "that to be an ethical genealogist is to be responsible - that is to choose for oneself between right and wrong".

Data Sources and Accuracy

The issue of data accuracy will be addressed. "Never believe that because it is printed in a book it must be correct." - "Anything you publish will propagate."

Are your sources accurate? Are they sources or just finding aids?

"Your data can be misappropriated. How you can protect it."


A discussion of some privacy issues.


Practical comments and tips about etiquette and manners. How you can be an ethical genealogist.

Some URLs for more information

These all are currently valid. Use any information about copyright and legal issues with caution. It may not be accurate or current.

1     This material was also published in the quarterly journal of the Alberta Family Histories Society, Chinook; Volume 20, no 2; Winter 1999 - 2000.

2     IIGS Newsletter, April 1999 at: Barbara A. Brown - " Want"- available at:

Professional codes of ethics are available on the following web sites: