Archive for October, 2003
Thoughts on Professional Genealogists, Post-Nominal Titles and certifications for professionals only
For the integrity of our profession, Professional Genealogy Research Services, and the protection of the consumer, I believe only professionally qualified practitioners should be called “Professional Genealogist”. All professional genealogy titles should be earned and honorary post-nominal should not be listed as qualifiers, even if they are from a genealogy or family history society because they denote service rendered, not a “distinguisher” of professional commercial work ability. The professional should be allowed to list their earned qualifiers including professional genealogy college degrees and professional genealogy certifications such as CG and AG. In order to not confuse the public, no other credential or designation should be used in precedence of the professional post-nominal when the practitioner is providing professional services either for hire or for free.
I believe professionals who have paid the price through education, study, time, effort and experience to earn these professional credentials have the right to use them to distinguish themselves from those self-appointed practitioners who have not gone the professional career route.
The professional genealogy industry is short- changing itself by its lack of exclusive alignment with credentialed professional genealogists. Currently, there are 3 semi-professional organizations in professional genealogy, none exclusive for the professional practitioner. The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Board for the Certification of Genealogists (BCG), and the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen). APG is a membership organization with minimal ethical codes of behavior and standards of performance with no internal professional determiners – all members just self designate and pay their dues. ICAPGen and BCG are accrediting and certifying bodies respectively and have no members. They allow anyone to apply for accreditation and certification and have developed their own unique ways to determine whether the applicant is worthy of earning the credential. They are a step in the right direction. I encourage the practicing professionals affiliated with these organizations to move to strict professionals-only associations based on the traditional professional career path that includes professional genealogy formal college degree education, training, experience, credentials, continuing education, ethical codes of behavior, standards of performance, business licensing in the community where they practice, and membership in a professional membership organization nationally and locally where available.
I believe the stature of professional organizations would be enhanced by aligning themselves with professional genealogists who have earned the professional designation. This is fair to the client (accurate disclosure), enhances the stature of the organization and of course helps set the qualified professionally designated apart from the crowd of the self designated. And it sets the standard, the goal if you will, to encourage others to so become so legitimately qualified. It raises the bar in the profession.
If you are interested in this level of professional genealogy research services, contact me at Heirlines.com to help with this important professional and consumer issue.
James W. Petty, AG, CGRS
BS (Genealogy), BA (History)
HEIRLINES Family History & Genealogy
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Salt Lake City, UT 84110
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Questions to help Consumers distinguish between the Professionally Designated Practitioner and the Self Appointed
Currently, professional genealogy is an occupation that is not licensed by the government nor self-regulated by a practitioner-based professional organization. This means it is a buyer-beware market where the discerning consumer must due his own discovery to determine whether or not to hire a genealogist – who is right for the job. The buying public must learn to distinguish between who has earned the professional designation as “Professional Genealogist” by adhering to the recognized professional career path, or who has merely called himself “Professional Genealogist”. Here are some questions such a wise consumer can ask of their prospective Pro.
I used this questionnaire once to decide who to vote for in a leadership election of a professional genealogy organization. On a later blog entry I will include my answers to these questions.
I really appreciate your willingness to run for office. I respect all who have worked so diligently to make professional genealogy what it is today. I recognize we are a maturing profession with a wide range of members who come to professional genealogy from diverse backgrounds. If you get elected, your views and experiences will help shape the future course of professional genealogy. In order to better know you and determine your aspirations for our profession, I would appreciate you answering some questions for me. They are as follows:
PROFESSIONAL GENEALOGY EMPLOYMENT
Are you gainfully employed full-time as a professional genealogist (40 hours a week)? Do you do this 40 hours a week-meaning it is your full time career employment?
Where do you work / are you self-employed?
How many years?
Do you take research clients full-time? How many years?
What is the name of your professional genealogy company?
What is your website?
What kind of professional genealogy work do you do?
What is your hourly fee as a professional genealogy researcher- doing research and analysis and production of genealogies?
What is your hourly fee as a professional genealogy college teacher?
What is your hourly fee as a professional genealogy librarian?
What is your hourly fee as a professional genealogy record searcher
What is your hourly fee as a professional genealogy consultant?
What is your hourly fee as a professional genealogy…?
PROFESSIONAL GENEALOGY EDUCATION AND TRAINING
What is your professional genealogy educational background?
Do you have a college degree in professional genealogy?
What professional genealogy training and experience have you had?
Did you do a professional genealogy apprenticeship to prepare you for your professional career as a genealogist?
Where and doing what?
PROFESSIONAL GENEALOGY CERTIFICATIONS
Please list all US professional genealogy accreditations (BCG, ICAPGen) and international professional genealogy certifications.
NON-GENEALOGY PROFESSIONAL CAREER BACKGROUND
Do you have a day job besides professional genealogy? In what? How many years?
Do you have a college degree in some other field? In what?
Have you retired from a full-time career in another field? In what? How many years?
AMATEUR GENEALOGY BACKGROUND
Were you ever a hobbyist genealogist? How many years?
What did you first do to call yourself a hobbyist or amateur genealogist? (Research your own family lines? Research others lines for free? For a fee? If you didn’t do any research in the beginning, what did you do to call yourself an amateur genealogist? )
Did you use your hobbyist experience to earn your professional certifications? Which ones?
VIEWS ON PROFESSIONAL GENEALOGY
What is a professional genealogist to you? Full-time Researcher? Full-time Librarian? Full-time Writer? Full-time Lecturer at hobbyist conferences and seminars? Full-time College Instructor? Full-time professional genealogy Office Manager? Part-time any of the previous? Something-else?
What criteria do you use to call yourself a professional genealogist?
Are there any professional genealogy societies? Please name them.
Do you believe it is essential for professional genealogists to be members of professional genealogy organizations?
Can full-time professional genealogists work full-time and hold leadership positions in professional organizations? Should they be paid or reimbursed for doing so? Have you served and where?
Do you believe it is essential for professional genealogists to be members of hobbyist genealogy societies? Should they serve in leadership positions? Should they be paid or reimbursed? Have you served and where?
Do you believe hobbyist genealogy society honorary titles should be used as professional credentials?
Do you ever envision the day when professional genealogy will be licensed and regulated like other professions (lawyer, medical doctor, beautician, electrician, etc.)?
Should formalized professional training and college degree education be a requirement to become a professional genealogist? Should professional training and education be an ongoing requirement to maintain professional certification? Should continuing education be required of professional genealogists? Should professional genealogist – only certifications and accreditations be required of professional genealogist?
Should professional genealogists be required to write or teach about professional genealogy to maintain their professional certification?
QUESTIONS ABOUT PROFESSIONAL GENEALOGY Ethical Codes of Behavior and Standards of Performance
Do you actively encourage the enactment of high ethical codes of behavior and standards of performance for the professional genealogy practitioner including requirements for formal professional genealogy education, training, apprenticeship, testing, certification, accreditation, peer review, and continuing education as is found in regulated and licensed professions?
What ethical codes of behavior and standards of performance have you agreed to? Please list all the professional genealogy organizations that you have joined and support either by membership, certification, or accreditation. .
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. It is important to me to know who you are and how you feel about professional genealogy.
Mary E. Petty, B.A,