In April of 2003, Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet answered an inquiry about how someone could be come a licensed genealogist. I am getting my Bachelor of Arts college degree in Professional Genealogy Research Services and wrote the following:

There is no such professional as a licensed professional genealogist. You can only get a business license, not a professional or occupational license to practice genealogy in the USA. For those interested in the pursuing a professional career in genealogy research services, and becoming a properly qualified Professional Genealogist, contact This is HERITAGE GENE@LOGY COLLEGE, the Salt Lake City, Utah, on site and Internet Professional Genealogy 4-year college degree program. Here qualified and credentialed Professional Genealogists are teaching Professional Genealogy to students who want to be educated, trained and credentialed as Professional Genealogists. With this kind of professional instruction and guidance, I am actively working to achieve my goal to earn my professional status as a practitioner. I encourage all who are serious about their career to go this professional route.

Secondly, thank you for re-evaluating how to list Professional Genealogists on the Web, which you know is very difficult in the free-for-all created by the Internet. This is a very muddied area right now, as there is no professional licensing or regulating board to distinguish between the properly educated, trained, credentialed and experienced Professional Genealogist and some one who calls herself “professional”. Currently, any one may put up their shingle and call themselves a “professional genealogist”.

HG@C is very interested in helping the student and the consumer learn the difference between the Professional Genealogist who is educated, trained, credentialed and experienced, and the hobbyist whose career was spent in another field of endeavor and does genealogy on the side because he feels the “call” to do it professionally. This is way different from the course that a real professional takes in the field of professional genealogy research services.

My husband, James W. Petty AG, CGRS, is a full-time career 33 + years Professional Genealogist ( here in Salt Lake who has earned his ‚Äúprofessional genealogist‚ÄĚ title. He has done research for 3000 plus clients; given lectures at seminars, conferences, family reunions and organizations; co-founded and teaches at HERITAGE GENE@LOGY COLLEGE (, the Professional Genealogy 4 year college; is a writer for national genealogy magazines and quarterlies and journals; credentialed by BCG and ICAPGen; and is a BYU-educated Professional Genealogist, BS (Genealogy) 1973, BA (History) 1972.

Your move to sharpen the distinction between Professional Genealogy and the hobbyists is significant, needed, and appreciated. In as much as many in the industry are still fighting against licensing, we must rely on qualified professional education, credentials and experience to delineate between these two very different kinds of individuals who presently claim the title, Professional Genealogist. We appreciate anything you can do as a very savvy webmaster to give the unsuspecting-buyer-beware public, a clearer idea of who is the Professional Genealogist on your very valuable list of researchers, speakers, writers, etc.

We would like to be listed where you decide to put career Professional Genealogists who have paid the price to become educated, trained, credentialed, and experienced in Professional Genealogy. Please list us on your web site under all appropriate designations, including but not limited to: General Resources; Becoming a Professional; Certifications and Credentials; Hiring a Professional; Speakers and Authors; Alphabetical Index of Professional Research Services (must be separate from Volunteer Research Services); Professional Genealogy College Degree Programs and Teachers; Professional Genealogist for Hire; and I could go on and on forever.

The bottom line is Professional Genealogy must be a separate category from the hobby categories, and from hobbyists who have not professionally prepared to be titled Professional Genealogist.

Thank you for your consideration and interest in this most important Professional Genealogy Topic.

Sincerely yours,
Mary E. Petty, B.A.
VP HEIRLINES Family History and Genealogy
HEIRLINES Family History & Genealogy
PO Box 893
Salt Lake City, UT 84110
call toll-free 1 (800) 570-4049
ANCESTORS are the people of history. Do you know who your ancestors are? Visit our website today to learn more about having your family history researched.