The International Black Sheep Society of Genealogists (IBSSG) is an Association of Genealogists who have found "blacksheep ancestors" in their direct family lines, or under the "One Degree Rule" of the Society.

The One Degree Rule is: If a person lived in the family domicile of an ancestor, and the actions of that individual affected the family, as if they were a ancestor, or member of the immediate family, then that individuals acts can be used for membership qualification under this rule.

Three mailing lists for the International Black Sheep Society of Genealogists (IBSSG) exist,, focused primarily on Genealogy,, focused on any discussion topic, and our newest list,, a combined topic list. All lists require you join them before posting, non-member posts are held for approval, and since answers will likely be posted ON the lists, you should consider joining to see them.

Black Sheep Sunday - Genabloggers discussing Black Sheep Ancestors

The lists are for discussing Genealogy, and specifically the search for Black Sheep ancestors. EXPRESSLY TABOO subjects on Blacksheep lists are:

Current Politics, unless directly related to the Blacksheep ancestor being discussed

Religious issues, unless directly related to the Blacksheep ancestor being discussed

Politically "hot" subjects that are likely to cause arguments, and "flaming"

Participation in these lists are subject to the control of the List Manager or Tender Lambs Coordinator. If the list managers, decide a topic is closed to further discussion, it is closed.

NO Commercial posts (spam)

NO Chain letters

NO political or religious diatribes.

Qualification for the Society membership (and the right to use IBSSG after your signature in genealogy correspondence) is granted on the main list ( by posting the following:

Subject: Qualification request(Click to set up email form)

Body should mention the following:
Your relationship to the individual
Why you think he or she is a Blacksheep of the Family
Whether or not the acts were of a social or criminal nature, unless it is obvious.

IMPORTANT If the individual is living, or the acts are still having an immediate effect on your family, or disclosure may lead to danger to anyone, please do not submit the details publicly. Our Tender Lambs Corner is set up for the PRIVATE submission of this type of qualification, please write our Tender Lambs Coordinator (TLC) Sue Bates to submit directly to her confidentially.

Purpose and Goals

The purpose of the Society is to discuss family blacksheep in order to learn more about them and share information about your "Black Sheep" with other members of the IBSSG! Many times having a Black Sheep in the family leads to a family "wall of silence" and research into the family becomes very difficult. Our Goal is to help find alternate routes to information sources, and to "normalize" the view of the blacksheep as a person, who has a place in the FACTUAL history of the family, without regard to behaviors.

Remember, the acts may be embarrassing to others in your family, but within the Society, you are not alone! Many of us have similar situations, and can relate (actually many of us are related) to the problems in doing this research.

WELCOME to the Black Sheep Society, I sincerely hope you find the information you seek.

Jeff Scism, IBSSG, Flockmaster

© Copyright 1998-2007 IBSSG/Jeffery G. Scism Blacksheep Genealogy