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Society Policies

Policy on Researcher Recommendations

As an all-volunteer organization, the society has neither the personnel nor the facilities to handle individual research requests. While the society does not recommend specific individuals, it encourages  everyone seeking assistance to do their own research before hiring an outside professional. 

Locally, both the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library and The Buffalo History Museum maintain lists of known researchers for hire.  Additionally, several professional genealogy trade associations including the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists offer member directories; please note each organization is responsible for establishing its own membership requirements and professional/ethical standards.

Social Media Policy Regarding Inquiries Involving The Living

In its mission and in its efforts, the Western New York Genealogical Society (WNYGS) is committed to (1) fostering a collaborative, professional environment both in person and online; (2) providing and supporting continuing education; and (3) encouraging best practices among our members and the larger genealogical community.

In an era of exploding genealogical research and evolving tools for genetic genealogy, it is important to think about ethics and privacy. We as genealogists and members of the Board of Directors have certain ethical responsibilities governing privacy and respectful consideration when dealing with the living, living descendants, and living relatives.

Human experience is varied, and each person’s reaction to biological parentage can be highly sensitive and deeply personal. Private information and private correspondence are part of the research process, but how, where, and with what permissions we choose to publicly share that information are important considerations.

Whether in the role of adoptee, biological parent, or biological relative, the research we undertake can have serious impacts. While we encourage members to inquire about research techniques and resources, we ask that researchers use caution and discretion and not post/publish specific situational details (known or speculated) with direct name associations to potentially living individuals.

It is our view that by promoting respect and sound, ethical decisions, we all benefit in the long run.

For more information on the ethics of genealogy, we encourage researchers to read Judy Russell's blog post on the topic.

Society Guidelines for the WNYGS Facebook Discussion Group 


Thank you for joining the Western New York Genealogical Society (WNYGS) Discussion Group and agreeing to uphold our guidelines.

This Facebook group’s mission is two-fold – (1) to further genealogical education and (2) to foster a professional and supportive environment. With this mission in mind, here are some important questions for all members to ask before posting content on our page:

As genealogists, professional standards and ethics should guide our every action - regardless of the format or medium. We would ask all group members to honor the concepts above. Through our posts, we can model best practices and share research techniques. Therefore:

  • Group members are encouraged to make inquiries, recommend resources, and discuss potential research strategies, case studies, and brick walls.

  • Attribution of sources is critical; whenever possible, individuals should include a direct link to the source, article, or post.

  • Members shall not solicit or post copies of images from subscription databases unless allowable under the established Terms of Agreement.


Also, please remember that this page is administered by volunteers who do not pre-read or clear the content. While the administrators reserve the right to remove content not within our guidelines, page members are solely responsible for what they post. If you observe content you feel is not within our guidelines, please alert the administrators. If you have questions about these guidelines and would like to discuss content before posting, please do not hesitate to contact us.


For more on the professional and ethical standards for genealogists, members are encouraged to review the guidelines of the National Genealogical Society and the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Thank you for making a page an inclusive, welcoming, and professional place for all who are interested in genealogy.

Policy on Recommendations
Policy on Living
Policy on Facebook
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