What is a "Professional Genealogist"?

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As we continue building one of the largest networks of professional researchers in the world, (now with over 360 researchers), we have been looking at what determines whether someone really is a "professional genealogist".

A lot has been written about what it means to be a professional genealogist.  For example, James Tanner wrote a recent article entitled "Are you qualified to be a genealogist?"

Also, I wrote a recent article entitled: "Choosing a Genealogist or Family History Research Firm"

Recently, thanks to a new book by Richard Hite: "Sustainable Genealogy: Separating Fact From Fiction in Family Legends," I came across a great list of some questions we can ask ourselves to help determine if we truly are family history research professionals:

  1. Do I recognize when identical surnames conceal varying nationalities?
  2. Do I understand when and why death certificates can be “wrong”?
  3. Do I knows when ancestors’ middle names are not family names?
  4. Do I respect the role of geography in establishing ancestral ties?
  5. Do I know which records and genealogies I need to take with a grain of salt?
  6. Do I fully accept the concept that all relationships must be both chronologically plausible and properly sourced?

To learn more about this great book, see: Book Review: "Sustainable Genealogy: Separating Fact From Fiction in Family Legends"

What additional questions would you add to this list?

Jim Heddell, © 2014, Genealogists.com. All rights reserved

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Written by


January 3, 2014
Wesley is the founder of hello@traceyourpast.com.

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