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Frequently Asked Questions


1. Are Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy members qualified to serve as Expert Witnesses?

Many of our members have served as Expert Witnesses. Each case is different. Depending on your case or circumstance, CAFG professionals may be qualified to meet your needs.

2. Do CAFG members identify and locate missing or unknown heirs, beneficiaries, next-of-kin, etc.?

Each member establishes their own business practices and services offering. Some jurisdictions regulate who and how one may locate living people.

3. Why don’t CAFG members work on a contingency fee basis?

CAFG supports the concept that reasonable hourly fees are an alternative to contingencies. Members serve their clients as disinterested, unbiased third-parties who are not stakeholders in the outcome of the legal issues. Basing any portion of remuneration on the outcome of the legal proceedings removes the elements of unbiased and disinterested third-party. The legal or ethical rules of many states prohibit the hiring of expert witnesses on a contingent fee basis.

4. Do Forensic Genealogists just research and gather documents to prove kinship?

No, qualified professionals not only research and obtain the necessary documentation, they also provide skilled analysis of the quality of the records and the evidence that they present. Proper analysis, interpretation, and reporting are the keys to presenting the truth in each case.

5. Why do we need a Forensic Genealogist? Don’t families know who the heirs are?

Forensic Genealogists conduct exhaustive searches among many resources to identify all marriages, births, deaths, and other familial events. Family members may not know everything about their relative’s past, may have forgotten crucial events, or may have a vested interest in remembering some heirs and forgetting others. Unbiased professionals look for evidence that supports the truth.

6. What code of ethics or conduct do your members follow?
CAFG members pledge to abide by the Standards of Practice and Conduct.