Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy

“A new organization has formed to advance professionalism in forensic genealogy,” according to Leslie Brinkley Lawson. The Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy (CAFG) was chartered in Texas in May and launched its web presence this week,

CAFG is a business league with a professional membership. Its objectives are:

Advance public awareness and understanding of the profession.

Encourage broader use of the services of qualified forensic genealogists.

Promote and maintain high standards of professional and ethical conduct.

Encourage best practices in client services and business models.

Promote interchange of information among members through electronic forums, trade publications, meetings, and seminars.

Provide education and training for professional advancement of membership.

Assist fellow members in professional development through mentorship, full membership, credentialing, and awarding of fellowships.

Influence legislation that impacts the profession or the ability to access public records.

CAFG offers career ladder opportunities including a mentor program, full membership status for qualified, approved practitioners, plus the Fellowship award and optional credential component that are in development. Both the Advanced and Junior membership levels have minimum qualifications for education and experience. The mentor program also has minimum standards for enrollment. All members and mentor program enrollees agree to abide by the CAFG Standards of Practice and Conduct.

Seeds of this association were planted in 2007 when a small group of forensic genealogists collaborated in filling the gap that other genealogical groups did not meet in this relatively new field. At that time there were no accepted definitions for heir searcher and forensic genealogist nor was it widely known what the differences between the two were. In addition, there were few forensic genealogy educational opportunities, mentor programs, specialty credentials, or organizations dedicated to forensic genealogy.

In 2008, members of list-serves for professional genealogists engaged in lengthy discussions in an attempt to define the profession and its specialties. A core group formed from these discussions to explore the idea of a professional business league dedicated to forensic genealogy. In May 2011, these explorations and efforts culminated in the registration in the State of Texas of the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy.

Serving on the organizing Board of Directors are President Leslie Brinkley Lawson, Vice President Michael S. Ramage, J.D., CG (sm), Secretary – Treasurer Dee Dee King, CG (sm), Registered Agent Kelvin L. Meyers, and Mentor Program Representative Catherine Desmarais, CG (sm).

More information about the organization is available at


CG and Certified Genealogist are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.