Professionalizing Professional Genealogy


The 12 Hallmarks of a Professional Genealogist.


professional genealogistHow to ask the right questions that lead you to the right professional genealogist for you.

Have you hit the proverbial brick wall in your family tree research? Has your local library or genealogy society run out of clues for you to try? Have all the films you ordered at your Family History Center from the Family History Library been searched, and you still have no answer to your genealogy puzzle?

Time and time again people reach this roadblock in their research and decide to hire a Professional Genealogist or a professional genealogy research services company. How do you choose the right one for your project? Most people look to the world-wide-web for the solution. A quick search on the Internet shows that there are thousands of people who want you to choose them to trace your ancestry and dig for your roots. How can you know which one is the best one for you? To be successful and a smart consumer, you must first answer these questions:

Who is qualified? What makes someone a qualified professional? Should I choose a professional who has “earned” the designation of professional genealogist or someone who has “self- appointed” themselves as a professional researcher? Do I want a full-service professional genealogy research services firm or a sole practitioner? Is my accurate, authentic, true family tree found on the Internet or in a book, or listed in a database? How much can be discovered about my family tree? Is the work guaranteed? How long will it take to do? How much does it cost? Is the research completed in incremental blocks of time of separately reported research projects or on a retainer basis? Will I receive a report of the professional genealogy research findings at the end of each job with an easy to understand narrative, abstracts, summary, and recommendations for future research along with applicable family group sheets, pedigree charts and gedcom? Is the research documented and are copies provided of all the evidence with citations and sourcing? Can I have a “Certified Family Tree©”? What do you do to ensure my Consumer Rights to safety, to be informed, the right to choose, the right to be heard, and the right to service? What do I do if there is a problem?

Professional Genealogy Research Services is a very new industry and is unregulated. You can and should get answers to all of your questions. To help you choose the qualified practitioner, when you are ready to hire someone off the Internet to climb your family tree professionally, use these “12 Hallmarks of a Real Professional Genealogist:

1. Bachelor’s Degree in Genealogy – check out school’s accreditation
2. Professional Genealogy Training – Internship prior to graduation
3. Full-time years of Experience in Client Research – how many years.
4. Career is Professional Genealogy Research – how many years in commercial business research services for client family tree discovery and documentation
5. Professional Genealogy Credentials – CG (Certified Genealogist – ), AG (Accredited Genealogist – ) – for Standards of Performance, Ethical Codes of Conduct, continuing education. requirements for re-certification and re-accreditation, and arbitration of problems.
6. Business License as per state and local requirements
7. Business owner or sub-contractor
8. Continuing Education – how do they keep abreast in this industry?
9. Member of APG (Association of Professional Genealogists – ) – Ethical Codes of Conduct and for arbitration of problems.
10. Better Business Bureau – Accredited Business ( ) – Consumer Rights issues and arbitration of consumer problems.
11. Chamber of Commerce Member
12. Contact Information and Access – Website, e-mail, toll free phone, mail address, professional membership – accountability and responsibility for project.

James W. Petty, AG, CG, is the Board-Certified and Accredited Professional Genealogist, “Climbing the Family Tree Professionally, since 1969”. He is President of HEIRLINES Family History & Genealogy, Inc. (, the “Salt Lake City, Utah BBB Accredited Business” trusted professional genealogy research services firm, providing US and International genealogical and historical research for a world-wide clientele.

For Heirlines-Quality professional genealogy services, resources, and products including expert family tree research, LDS family history assistance, and answers to genealogy questions, please see Heirlines website, and blog For more genealogy and family history help and advice, please follow James W Petty, AG, CG and Heirlines Family History & Genealogy on Social Media: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+.

Give us a call and speak with one of our professional genealogists today.

Call toll free 1-800-570-4049 or visit us at


James W. Petty, AG, CG renews 3 professional genealogy credentials


Heirlines Family History & Genealogy, Inc. is proud of our own James W. Petty, AG, CG

James W. Petty, AG, CG Our President and Chief Genealogist, James W. Petty, AG®, CGSM, B.A. (History), B.S. (Genealogy Technology), has successfully renewed three Accredited Genealogist® professional genealogy research competency credentials for five more years.

ICAPG, The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists requires each Accredited Genealogist® professional to renew his or her accreditation every five years. The purpose of renewal is to assure that each AG professional is keeping current with available sources and research techniques in the area of accreditation under renewal, including familiarity with new electronic and digital resources. This renewal process also ensures that each Accredited Genealogist is sustaining the high ethical and professional standards associated with ICAPGen.

On January 30, 2014 The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists AG® Renewals Committee sent the good news:

Dear James,

Congratulations! We are happy to inform you that your renewal applications for the regions of Mid-South, Mid-Atlantic, and Gulf-South have met the ICAPGen standards and you are now renewed for another 5 years. The new renewal dates are listed below:

• Mid-South November 2018
• Mid-Atlantic March 2019
• Gulf-South November 2018

Thank you for all you do to move the work of family history forward in a positive way.


Vona Williams and Marilyn Markham
ICAPGen Renewals Committee
The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists internationally recognized as ICAPGenSM sets standards for the genealogical community through comprehensive written and oral examinations.


Whether you need a professional genealogy research services company qualified in US and International genealogy and family history or you want to discover and document your roots and learn the heritage of your ancestors, or you require a professional genealogist with recognized competency in in-depth ancestry research as an Accredited Genealogist® and a Certified Genealogist (sm), Heirlines Family History & Genealogy, Inc. lead by James W. Petty, AG, CG, is the BBB Accredited Business firm dedicated to helping clients obtain the finest in certified genealogy research services. Heirlines provides top-quality Certified Family Trees© and Certified Forensic Genealogy Solutions©”, for whatever the client goal. Heirlines’ professional genealogy researchers can help you with their expert skills and knowledge to find the truth you are looking for about your genealogy and family history.

Contact James W. Petty, AG®, CGSM, B.A. (History), B.S. (Genealogy Technology) Today for Your Professional Genealogy Project!

The Heirlines® Service Mark, “Climbing the Family Tree Professionally Since 1969”™, “Ancestors are the People of History. Do you know who your Ancestors are? Let the Professionals at Heirlines Family History and Genealogy help you find your Ancestors”™, Heirlines Quality™ and Certified Family Trees ™ are the sole property of HEIRLINES FAMILY HISTORY & GENEALOGY, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

CG and Certified Genealogist are proprietary Service Marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists® used by the Board to identify its program of genealogical competency evaluation and used under license by the Board’s associates. CG (sm) and Certified Genealogist (sm) used by Genealogists who consistently meet ethical and competency standards in accord with peer-reviewed evaluations every five years.

The ICAPGenSM service mark and the Accredited Genealogist® and the AG® certification marks are the sole property of the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists. All Rights Reserved. AG® used by Professional Genealogists who consistently meet ethical and competency standards in accord with peer-reviewed evaluations every five years.

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