APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2009-03 > 1237858060
From: "Mary E. Petty - Heirlines, Inc" <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Mormon News
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2009 19:27:40 -0600
References: <05FC3A32-1608-411F-B742-65A032C7F161@keyconn.net> <49C3B044.firstname.lastname@example.org> <003501c9aa99$8716daf0$954490d0$@net> <49C5CB9A.email@example.com><001501c9ab43$ad7f2800$087d7800$@net><49C7DBB7.firstname.lastname@example.org>
"The Need for Professional Standard of Quality Control in Professional Genealogy Research Services"
You are absolutely right about the need for a professional standard of quality control and for entities to live by such professional standards in genealogy research services. Unfortunately, in 2009 there are no such animals because there is no formally established sovereign profession for the profession of professional genealogy research services. We have an umbrella approach right now that says "everyone can play and have a say" - even if they do not do genealogy as a profession, but just as a hobby or as a supplier of information - be it through talking, writing, speaking, publishing, researching, development of technology, Internet sharing and so on. It is a real hodge-podge of people putting out and storing family tree information and driving the technology, the science, the production by hobbyists, and the practice by professionals - be they real professionals or not. There is no one professional body of practitioners with standards, like in golf or medicine that set!
s the definition of terms, the ethics, the best practices, education, methodologies and other hallmarks of professionalism. As has been said before, it is what it is in 2009.
The Genealogy Industry is not professionally based, and revolves around the hobbyist production of family trees, "citizen genealogy", that has no standards or regulations. Like Golf, this amateur player is never going to change in genealogy. Hobbyists (most of them) in genealogy game want the truth and accuracy about THEIR family tree and are always searching for the next new wave in genealogy that will take them there quickly and cheaply. But like the professions of Medicine and Golf, there is a great need and a desire for professionalism. People want to play and get hole-in-ones and they want to live and be healthy.
Family tree production today is composed of a myriad of entities, mainly hobbyists and societies, and a very small group of professional genealogy providers, and practitioners who are all served by the umbrella of businesses within the industry. There is little or no standardization, except where these entities intersect with other professions ("in my real job I learned...). Most who proclaim professional status, do not want a sovereign profession or even at bare minimum, earned credentials. They want to do their own thing and make their own cheese, their own way. Hence, we have a real lack of quality control in genealogy in any single entity except on an in-house basis.
Lots of volunteer work is done in this environment by all of these groups, resulting in an enormous amount of time, efforts and results that have few if any shared or recognizable consistent standards, ethics or best practices. No one has to live by any rules, not even the practitioner titled "professional genealogist, who if he were in a profession that was real, would be the highest on the pyramid. Not so in Genealogy.
Self appointment as a professional is the rule today in Professional Genealogy. Few practitioners seek to earn professional designation and adhere to the hallmarks of professionalism. Everybody wants to be on top of the pyramid, and king of the castle, a professional genealogist. Anyone with the time, money, and/or just desire can proclaim professional status and research, report, produce, teach, write, speak, publish, share, put out on the Internet, create a database or world-recognized publication, or start a business all by self-appointment and charge money or do it for free. All with no professional quality control.
And if it sells, it must be good. If it is used, it must be accurate. If it is documented, it must be right. If the producer is popular, what they say and do is correct and based on professional work experience. If they are under the umbrella, they must be a real professionally qualified researcher - a "professional genealogist".
In such an environment, entities in genealogy do in-house quality control that may or may not meet the long term quality control needs that would be best for creating an accurate family tree. There is no recognized verifier, just a scramble of entities calling out to the consumer, come buy my wares or use my website for free information. The consumer is responsible for determining whether or not the information is accurate and trustworthy. There is no profession that has established quality control standards that benefit the profession, the practitioner and the consumer.
How do we get quality control in Genealogy? First and foremost - a profession needs to be established for the minority of producers - the Genealogy Research Services providers- the willing and actual practitioners who agree upon qualifying membership standards or hallmarks of professionalism such as education, best practices, production standards and ethics. Such professionalism and professionals would be qualified to set the quality control standards for the production of accurate family trees for those databases, publications, websites, educational programs, and genealogical entities that want professional level verifiable accuracy. Unless we professionals do it for ourselves, outside groups or entities under the umbrella, by the sheer force of the massive non-standardized production of family trees by hobbyists and non professional business interests, will continue to keep the standards at the current level that allows the most to participate for the cheapest amount !
of money with non-verified quality.
A member's only body for Professional Genealogy Research Services can be an influence for good on the vast production of genealogical materials by the majority, the citizen genealogists. Look at Golf or Medicine as examples. The professional body must come first, in-order to influence the development of entities that support professional standards. Through quality control on the profession level, standards have not hurt Medicine. We are healthier today than in any other generation. In golf - more hobbyists play today than ever before. They all know what they are aiming for. Let's give the hobbyist this in Genealogy.
Copyright March 23, 2009 Heirlines ®
Mary E. Petty, B.A.
Ancestors are the People of History. Do you know who yours are?<br><br>Let the Professionals at HEIRLINES Family History & Genealogy find your ancestry!
1-800-570-4049 ▪ www.heirlines.com ▪ PO Box 893 ▪ Salt Lake City, UT 84110
From: [mailto:] On Behalf Of Peggy K. Reeves
Sent: Monday, March 23, 2009 12:58 PM
Subject: Re: [APG] Mormon News
Elizabeth wrote: (with regard to the first standard in the Genealogists
> The problem here lies not with the standard, but with the present
> application of it. For those of us who have signed the code, that provision
> is a moral imperative we agree to live by.
I agree completely! We can't even know how to apply the BCG standard
unless we can first identify the entity. What is familysearch? Are
they a professional company, a nonprofit organization composed of
amateurs, or a church? A church cannot also be a business, and a
business cannot also be a church. A nonprofit full of untrained
amateurs should not be getting contracts to be in charge of original
records, doing the work for professionals, and giving their shoddy work
to a company that will make us pay for it. None of the three entities
should be making exaggerated claims about their accuracy rate, saying
that things are checked and double-checked by two people when it is
constantly proven otherwise with some pretty drastic and frequent
examples. It seems that people on this list want to make Familysearch
any or all of the three entities, depending upon whatever is most
convenient for the situation at hand. The only thing that has been
fairly consistent is that when challenged about anything, people want
familysearch to instantly become a church, accusing the person bringing
the challenge of "religious bias". Regardless of which of the three
entities familysearch claims to be, they have been knowingly and
admittedly, for many years, publishing material that is "questionable"
in nature and "unproven", often without permission, and professionals
should not be a party to this or be defending this, according to the BCG
standard that I quoted.
I agree with Dee Dee that there needs to be some entity step up and do
the job right, one that has a professional standard of quality control
and honesty. I just don't believe that can happen as long as
professionals are complacent enough to continue to defend the unethical
behavior and shoddy work of a huge entity like familysearch, simply
because people feel that they don't have any choice. We always have the
choice to do what's easy or to do what's right.
"I will not publish or publicize as fact anything I know to be false,
doubtful, or unproved; nor will I be a party, directly or indirectly, to
such action by others."
I'm not going to argue this, but I do feel that people need to consider
it. Thanks for your time.
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