Society By-Laws

Click here to view for the most recent version of the By-Laws of the Western New York Genealogical Society, Inc. (September 21, 2019)


Social Media Policy Regarding Research 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 post on the topic.

(December 2017)


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:

  • Do I adequately understand this record/resource and its source? Do I have the necessary information to properly cite the resource (both the original source and/or sharing party)?
  • Can I verify the resource’s authenticity? Does the image/resource have the necessary credentials and documentation to qualify as a “satisfactory substitute for the original”? []
  • Am I respecting the legal rights of the owner, “author, originator, compiler”, or any other authorized party? [] Do I fully understand and observe the Terms of Agreement by which an image or resource may be bound?
  • Have I received the necessary permissions to share this resource and/or information publicly?
  • Have I properly identified and attributed “all ideas, information, and data from others”? Have I done all that is necessary to avoid and prevent potential plagiarism?

    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.

    (July 2018)

    Last updated:October 1, 2019