APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2008-01 > 1199750324
Subject: Re: [APG] Genealogy Definitions
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2008 17:58:44 -0600
My VistaPrint Electronic Business CardI'm a bit dismayed that some seem to
be losing sight of the focus here.
First of all, read the definition of "genealogist" as given. Is there
ANYTHING in there that you could object to? It does not use the word
amateur. At no time did this discussion veer into that oft discussed and
debated word. If I HAD wanted to make a distinction about "genealogist," I
would have said . . . "either avocational or career-oriented" and would not
have tried to use those dreaded words that cause so much dissention.
On the other hand, there is nothing inherently derogatory about the word
"amateur." Amateur has a long and highly regarded history as a word
designating someone who does whatever for the sheer pleasure of it rather
than for pay. The word some of you are associating it with may be
"dilettante." This word DOES have a negative connotation.
Everybody on this list is probably a "genealogist" as defined below. Anybody
on this list who calls him/herself a "professional genealogist" is probably
doing it for pay. You may do genealogy as a avocation and you may do it
professionally, but I know of NO ONE who labels themselves a "professional
genealogist" who doesn't fit the definition below.
Nowhere in these definitions does it put down any category; nowhere in these
definitions does it make value judgments. These are simply EXPLANATIONS of
the varied areas in our profession/avocation. If you are feeling slighted by
something written in these definitions, I think you are reading something
into it that isn't there.
And as for the many discussions about the intricacies of what it takes to be
a forensic genealogist or a librarian--those more lengthy explanations are
more suited for an ARTICLE about that specialty. Here we are ONLY trying to
inform people about the general categories that fall within the purview of
In fact, it would be helpful if APG would ask some of you who have
contributed to these lengthy explanations to produce an article, to MORE
FULLY expand on the definition--as Dee Dee King is working on regarding
Do you think that a definition can FULLY capture the full range of nuances
of each word defined? No. Please look at a dictionary again for the common
format. For example, here is the definition of "genealogy" (citation at the
Main Entry: gene·al·o·gist Pronunciation Guide
Pronunciation: ÷]äljst, ]al- sometimes jny] or jeny]
Inflected Form(s): -s
1 : a specialist or expert in genealogy
2 : a person who traces, makes studies of, or records genealogies
Citation format for this entry:
"genealogist." Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged.
Merriam-Webster, 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com ( 7 Jan. 2008).
Do definitions try to capture EVERY element of EVERY nuance? No. A
definition tries to explain to the reader what that word means, i.e., how it
is defined. For further information, one seeks sources beyond a dictionary.
If I wanted to be an attorney, I might look up the definition in the
dictionary, but it certainly wouldn't tell me ALL about being an attorney;
for that I would go to other sources.
That said, I still believe all this discussion is good--that it is an
important piece of the machinery of understanding what we do and why we do
it and how we perceive it. But for the definitions, many of these
discussions are too involved and detailed. When the list of definitions is
finalized (if it ever is, as new fields will keep arising), it will simply
be a formal and specific lexicon of genealogy practices--nothing more.
In fact, I would hope that many young genealogists or people just getting
into the field could consult this list of definitions and be amazed and
excited at all the varied types of work one can do within the field of
genealogy. Could it possibly inspire someone who was looking for their own
niche to become a forensic genealogist or a genealogy librarian or a DNA
project coordinator? I hope so.
One of my main goals was to list all the varied ways those of us in the
field can operate, and to enlighten others as to what a "forensic
genealogist" or other categories actually are.
So here is the latest compilation, although I must tell you I took a break
today to get some work done and have not incorporated all the corrections
and changes submitted to date.
Changes below are ones suggested for the terms certified genealogist,
genealogical librarian, house historian, genetic genealogist.
Carolyn Earle Billingsley
A genealogist is one who studies the past and present of individual families
and the kinship links among those families. Practitioners of genealogy may
focus entirely on their own family, or they may pursue genealogy as either a
profession or a scholarly field.
A professional genealogist is one who earns part or all of their livelihood
from the practice of some aspect of genealogy.
A board-certified genealogist is one who has earned the credential Certified
Genealogist (CG) from the Board for Certification of Genealogists
www.bcgcertification.org through a rigorous examination that includes peer
review of his or her written work. The credential designates the
practitioner as someone who has met the rigorous standards of that field for
knowledge and competence in core knowledge of source materials, record
interpretation, research methodology, evidence analysis,
and genealogical writing. (see also Certified Genealogist)
Certified Genealogist and CG are service marks of the Board for
Certification of Genealogists. Board-certified genealogists are those who
have been authorized to use these distinctive designations after
successfully completed a rigorous examination that includes peer review of
their written work. The credential identifies the holder as one who has
achieved above-average proficiency in core knowledge of source materials,
record interpretation, research methodology, evidence analysis, kinship
determination, and genealogical writing. Renewal applications are submitted
for review every five years.
A member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) is one 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 a dispute with a client.
A genealogical lecturer is someone who, either on a volunteer or a paid
basis, 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.
Certified Genealogical Lecturer and CGL are service marks of the Board for
Certification of Genealogists. They identify an individual who has earned
the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board, and, after five years,
has passed further examinations of skill as a genealogical lecturer.
A genealogical instructor is one 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 on 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.
A forensic genealogist is one qualified through a combination of education,
training and work experience to be employed or retained by attorneys, law
offices, estates, courts, corporations, governmental agencies or other
entities to perform genealogical work in legal issues as an independent
third-party researcher, analyst, reporter and witness.
A genealogical librarian is one employed by a library or archive to assist
people from many disciplines in researching family histories and kinship
ties. This assistance can be directly to the library customer while
providing reference services, bibliographic instruction, or genealogical
programming. Some librarians further the research process behind the scenes
by providing interlibrary loan services, cataloging genealogical and local
history materials, or creating finding aids.
A genealogical librarian is a librarian whose assigned job duties
specifically include providing library services intended for those
researching family histories and kinship ties, such as reference,
instruction, event programming, collection development/management,
cataloging, conservation/preservation, and interlibrary loan. [Drew Smith,
Professional librarians are those who have received advanced educational
training in the library field. A post-graduate degree
equivalent to a Master of Library Science (M.L.S.) is most often considered
the minimum level for most professional library positions.
A house historian is a practitioner of genealogy and/or history in which one
specializes in researching the history of a building and of the people who
were involved with that building. Specialized skills include knowledge and
use of census, city directories, tax records, land records, contracts,
newspaper research, and for National Register of Historic Places and Federal
Tax Credit applications, knowledge of the Secretary of Interior's Standards
for Rehabilitation, Restoration, or Preservation of historic structures,
including a solid foundation in architectural history and in the specialized
terminology used to describe buildings.
Genealogy Lineage Specialist is one who engages in the type of research,
writing, and documentation in establishing the kinship ties qualifying an
individual for membership in a lineage society such as the Daughters of the
Republic (DAR) or United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC).
A genetic genealogist is someone who uses DNA analysis and genealogical
research to enhance knowledge about kinship ties.
A DNA project administrator is one who oversees a genetic project, usually a
surname project, to coordinate the findings and keep the participants of the
project informed. He or she also seeks out new members to test to amplify
the accuracy of the genetic findings.
An heir-searcher is
A private investigator is
A preservationist is
An archivist is
A genealogical editor is
A local historian is
A web master is one . . .
And, Paula Stuart Warren, what do you call yourself, since you work in a
very specialized field?
And what about people who specialize in analysis of photographs within the
Carolyn Earle Billingsley, Ph.D.
2100 Pleasant Grove, Alexander, AR 72002-9154
The central organizing principle in the discipline of
genealogy is the reconstruction and analysis of kinship.
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