Archiver > TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM > 2008-02 > 1202591327

Subject: Re: [TGF] A transitional-genealogist's viewpoint onProfessionalGenealogy
Date: Sat, 09 Feb 2008 15:08:47 -0600
References: <007701c86b51$8a3744a0$6801a8c0@MAMA>
In-Reply-To: <844E4DA6285C43CFBBF02E864E3529AA@MissysOffice>

Melissa --

As an uncredentialed genealogical hobbyist looking toward becoming more
professional, I'm naturally sympathetic to your argument. But what about those
self-appointed ones who lack your experience and dedication and ambition, whose
work may bring yours into disrepute because, well, they're "genealogists" too?

Or to put it another way, if medicine and law weren't regulated by the state,
would you be comfortable making the same argument substituting "doctor" or
"lawyer" for "genealogist" throughout? Those professions were once open to
anyone willing to claim the title. Was that a good situation? Should genealogy
as a profession not aspire to their present status?


> Dear List,
> Hello, I read Mary's post with much interest and would like to comment to
> the entire list.
> I am a professional genealogist and have been for the past 3 years. I have
> no credentials other than my 20 years of experience in the particular
> geographic area that I offer my services. I have considered obtaining
> official credentials however I do not feel at the present time that the long
> process of obtaining the desired credentials would significantly add to my
> business. I am one of the "self-appointed" professional genealogist that
> Mary refers to in her post.
> I applaud and encourage anyone who wants to pursue higher education or
> credentials in our field, but that does not mean that people like myself are
> not as "professional" or "experienced" as those that have obtained
> credentials.
> My husband is also a business professional with no official credentials
> other than his many, many years of experience. His profession is Insurance
> Adjustor and he has owned and operated his own business since 1989, quite
> successfully I might add. In Tennessee there are no laws stating that he
> has to be licensed in anyway or have any credentials to perform his job and
> business. He is very well known in the field for his professionalism,
> outstanding work and ethics.
> The point I am trying to make is that yes maybe there are some
> "self-appointed" professional genealogist that do not measure up to the
> "professional" status. But that doesn't mean that we are all that way.
> There are many of us out here that conduct our business in the most
> professional way and we have ethics that we follow and we produce excellent
> work for our clients. If we are not ready, not able or have no desire to
> pursue higher education or credentials, then we should not be considered
> "unprofessional".
> I have been reading the APG list concerning this issue and have not
> commented on that list because I am not a member of APG. I respect and
> believe APG is a good organization trying to to what is best for their
> members and I think it will all work out in the end when all the dust
> settles. However, I am concerned about the tone of the conversation towards
> non-credentialed professional genealogist like myself. Just because I don't
> have letters after my name doesn't mean I don't do excellent work or work
> that is comparable to a credentialed researcher. I consider myself to be an
> excellent genealogy researcher, if I didn't I wouldn't be in this business.
> I am not perfect and I am always reading literature and listening to my
> fellow researchers to learn and advance my knowledge of the field of
> genealogy. There is always room to sharpen my skills and learn more about
> the field I have chosen and love.
> I would say to all of us, it is my understanding that this list's purpose is
> to help people that are transitioning from a genealogy hobbyist to the
> profession of genealogy and starting your own business. We should encourage
> those that are seeking to start a business to be the best they can be. That
> they are welcome into our profession with open arms no matter if they are
> credentialed or not. I have heard many speak about the fact that our older
> professional genealogist are not as strong in numbers as they once used to
> be and that there is some fear that the younger generations are not
> interested in pursuing this career. I know of several young self-appointed
> professional genealogist that I try to mentor and they are very good and
> will be an asset to our profession. They are also discouraged by the
> conversation on professionalism on the APG list and where they will fit in.
> They are feeling pressured to have to obtain credentials in order to remain
> in the profession. Will they get discouraged enough to quit? Will they
> feel like they are not accepted fully because they are self-appointed? Who
> knows.
> Lastly, I believe the conversation concerning professionalism is actually a
> healthy one and I believe it will make all of us evaluate our commitment to
> our profession and possibly give us reason to bring ourselves to a higher
> level in our own businesses.
> Sincerely,
> Melissa Barker
> Genealogist for Tennessee and KentuckyHarold Henderson
Research and Writing from Northwest Indiana

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