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I think the Association of Professional Genealogisis (APG) is at a crossroads – they have to decide what master they serve. Either the hobbyist: the self designated part -timer, and / or full timer; or the career practitioner: the professionally designated genealogist, qualified by the “professional’s only” track (professional genealogy education, training, experience, credentials, membership, continuing education, standardized business best practices with licensing and ethics) to serve the public as a professional genealogist?

Right now all of these groups are trying to have a piece of the consumer pie and this does not meet the number one objective of a professional business membership organization – to support the qualified practitioners and set standardized best practices, ethics, methodology, business standards etc, and behaviors to protect the qualified practitioner and the consumer.

We expect this professionalism from beauticians, teachers, CPA, Lawyers, and other similarly licensed (government-regulated) or professions that are self regulated. Why not APG? Why is APG afraid to answer this question? Why are they afraid to move to the professional level? Why are they afraid of professionalization of their industry? Why are they unwilling to set maintain and regulate the criteria for membership in their organization and set the standards for designation as a “Professional Genealogist”?

APG was organized in 1979 by full-time practitioners who did client research – that was the day when we all knew that a “professional genealogist” was someone who did genealogy research for hire – money paid by the consumer. Today the label has been taken over and diluted. Why has APG forgotten their roots? I wrote APG about this in the summer of 2005 and still have not had an answer. I would like an answer to my queries – besides telling me I shouldn’t be a member of APG.

I have not forgotten the Roots and the Heritage behind APG. And will continue to press for professionalization in a world that is becoming all the more technical and lawsuit crazy. Professionally designated full-time practitioners and the consumer are not best served by hobbyists and the self-designated climate that exists in the industry today. We need a strong APG, a strong professional voice. Not just a society or club with a newsletter and a roundtable that does not address the highest level of behavior, practices and standards that should exist when an industry is professionalized. I am amazed how APG sees and negates the full-time practitioner, in favor of the part timer, the self-designated, the hobbyist who has a string of so called credentials behind their name and doesn’t take clients. They are practicing genealogists? What a crazy world we live it. Oh well, the consumer is going to catch on and those of us who have gone the professional route, we will be prepared. Good Luck.

For further discussion: Please contact me – Mary E. Petty www.heirlines.com