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From: "Elizabeth Shown Mills" <>
Subject: Re: [APG] genealogy definitions
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 00:45:11 -0600
In-Reply-To: <078601c85016$ee6c59c0$2101a8c0@CEB>

O.K. Carolyn, I accept your challenge. I won't tackle all the terms, but
I'll make suggestions for several.

>A genealogist is a broad category, encompassing beginners, professionals,

and all levels in between. It is simply someone who is engaged at some level

in tracing family history, for themselves or for others.


A genealogist is one who studies individual families and the kinship links
that create families. Practitioners of genealogy may focus entirely on their
own family, or they may pursue genealogy as either a profession or a
scholarly field.


If "genealogist" is defined as a category, then we can't turn around say
"someone," because "someone" isn't a category. Discussing skill levels (or
lack thereof) goes beyond the "broad" definition, IMO.

>A professional genealogist is a genealogist who takes clients for pay. S/he

may or may not have experience, background, or education in the field. A

client needing records researched or a family's history researched might

hire a professional genealogist to do certain research tasks, to generally

research a family, or to move their research forward.


Professional genealogists are those who earn part or all of their livelihood
from the practice of genealogy.


(1) To avoid a fresh round of the debates that crop up on this list
regarding who can fit under the APG umbrella, IMO, the definition needs
stripping down to nothing but the ribs of that umbrella.

(2) As worded above, the uninformed could assume that "experience [and]
education in the field" aren't needed at all.

>A certified genealogist is someone who has earned the designation CG

(Certified Genealogist) from the Board for Certification of Genealogists. A

CG may or may not take clients. A CG has passed a rigorous process of

compiling a professional portfolio, which has been peer-reviewed, and

acknowledged to be sufficient to designate the compiler as one who has great

proficiency in genealogical research and writing, as well as transcription,

abstraction, and analyses of records. See {....} for the specific details of

the certification process.


Board-certified genealogists are those who have earned the credential
Certified Genealogist (CG) from the Board for Certification of Genealogists,
through a rigorous examination that includes peer review of their written
work. The credential designates the holder as one who has achieved
above-average proficiency in core knowledge of source materials, record
interpretation, research methodology, evidence analysis, and genealogical
writing. [Donn, as BCG attorney, will likely jump in here and tinker. :-)]


Certified Genealogist and CG are specific service marks that cannot be used
generically by the genealogical community, as in "a certified genealogist"
or "a CG." The generic form that complies with trademark regulations would
be "Board-certified genealogist."

>A member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) is a person

with an interest in genealogy in some area, who has paid their dues to the

organization, signed a code of ethics, and is accountable to the association

for any questionable behaviors in any dispute with a client. By being a

member of APG, a person receives a listing in the online APG directory of

genealogists (but is not necessarily a professional or currently taking

clients), a subscription to the _Association of Professional Genealogists

Quarterly_, and access to member sections of the APG websites and special

offers on products.


This, too, needs stripping down. There's a difference between definition and
"member benefits."

>A genealogical lecturer is someone who lectures on genealogical topics in

many different venues, ranging from locally to nationally (and

internationally), and from a specific topic to a wide range of topics. A

genealogical lecturer is usually someone who is paid for their lectures, but

some volunteer their lecture time; there are many genealogical lecturers who

do both.


A genealogical lecturer is someone who delivers oral presentations that
address genealogical topics-typically but not necessarily sources, methods,
and standards-accompanied by appropriate lecture enhancements of an audio,
visual, or written nature.


The additional points about "locally to nationally" and 'some pay' vs. 'no
pay' are self-evident points that don't need to be part of the definition,
IMO. (If we get into pay, why not go whole-hog and point out that it is
typically for seriously inadequate pay? :) I'm also adding a bit above
about lecture enhancements, since you mentioned them for the instructor.
Otherwise, the uninformed might assume that an instructor has to have
lecture enhancements but a lecturer doesn't use them.

>A Certified Genealogical Lecturer is someone who has earned the designation

CG (see above) but has gone even further in proving their proficiency as a

lecturer to the Board for Certificfication of Genealogists.


Certified Genealogical Lecturer (CGL) designates someone who has earned the
Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of
Genealogists and has passed further examinations of skill as a genealogical

Same problem as noted above about not using a formal service mark in a
generic fashion.

>A genealogical instructor is someone who teaches classes or workshops in

some aspect of genealogy. They may teach at a local workshop, genealogical

conferences, historical conferences, a college or university, or in any

other venue where a teaching experience beyond lecturing is offered. An

instructor is able to put together a planned teaching experience, internally

consistent and whole, with the appropriate handouts, bibliographies,

syllabi, and other teaching aids.


A genealogical instructor is someone who teaches a formal course of study or
an integrated series of lessons that teach students to conduct their own
genealogical studies. That instruction may take place in a local venue such
as a college or university setting or in a specialized venue such as a
genealogical institute. An instructor is able to plan a comprehensive
teaching experience that is internally consistent across the full series,
with the appropriate teaching aids.


Conferences generally offer independent lectures rather than a full course
of study by one individual who is responsible for planning the full course
of instruction, right?

>A Certified Genealogical Instructor is


BCG has dropped this category.


Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG

APG Member, Hendersonville, Tennessee

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