25 February 2013

Looking for a Genealogical Professional?

I'm sometimes asked to do genealogical research for a fee - it's not something I accept. I'm also asked to recommend people to do such genealogical research and hesitate to do so. Instead I refer them to lists from an accreditation organization.
In my view full membership in such an organization should only be granted to those who have a track record of relevant experience.They should have demonstrated to the organization through impartial peer-evaluated work samples a professional standard of practice, and must continue to keep up to date with evolving knowledge with periodic renewal of their accreditation.
The organization should provide a procedure whereby complaints about a member's activity can be resolved.
It is not good enough that the organization rely on a person's commitment to perform under a code of conduct without any test,
Nor is it good enough that a renewal be granted based on work which does not demonstrate knowledge of recent research developments.

There appears to be no such active Canada-wide organization.

In the UK the organization that comes closest is AGRA, The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives. However it does not appear there is a renewal process so skills could become dated while remaining accredited.

In Ireland The Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland seems to be very much parallel to AGRA.

In the USA the Board for Certification of Genealogists appears to meet all my criteria. For renewal they must demonstrate that their knowledge and ability have kept pace with genealogical standards and that they are still working to those standards. It is unclear whether that includes knowledge of DNA-based techniques.. The US-based International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists is a similar accreditation organization and while it does require familiarity with new electronic and digital resources there is also no mention of DNA-based techniques.

The Association of Professional Genealogists conducts no test of member's skills. Although there are certainly well qualified members I would be especially hesitant to hire someone solely on the basis of their membership in APG.
Overall the lists of members of these organizations can be regarded as providing candidates for someone wanting to hire a professional genealogist rather than names of people one can be assured will meet your particular requirements.

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