Hiring a genealogist is not enough; let me explain. When you hire a genealogist it is important to hire a certified genealogist. A certified genealogist will have the expertise and the experience that your project requires. Hiring a non-certified genealogist is the same as hiring a non-professional.
A certified genealogist will not only know but also follow the rules and ethics of a professional genealogist. Sure, a certified genealogist might be a little more expensive but in the long run they will save you time. Because of their experience, they will always over deliver and save you hours of research.
The article describes a small portion of how a genealogist becomes certified. It will help you understand the importance of hiring a certified genealogist.
Table of Contents
The study of families in historical and genetic context is known as genealogy. Within that framework, it is also the study of a family and its relationships. It is biography at the individual level because each individual life needs to be constructed in order to separate the identity of one individual from another bearing the name. Anyone who wants to become a genealogist needs to be certified using the proper channels.
If a genealogist wants to get certification in the United States, there is a process that he/she will have to follow. This process will ensure you acquire the necessary skills and experience required to be a professional in this field. The necessary steps he/she may need to follow to become certified may include:
Genealogist certification in the USA is available through BCG (Board for Certification of Genealogists) which is based in Washington, D.C. On the other hand, accreditation is available through ICAPGen (International Commission for the Accreditation of Genealogists) to genealogists who apply and then complete a competency exam at 90%. Genealogists certified by ICAPGen are entitled to place the AG (accredited genealogist) after their name. BCG certified genealogists use CG (certified genealogists) as their title.
When a genealogist looks to become a certified genealogist, he/she also researches the Board of Certification Genealogist; is a certifying body for genealogists founded in 1964 by Fellows of the American Society of Genealogists, the genealogical field’s academic honorary society.
Becoming a Certified Genealogist
Some enthusiasts, after spending time working on their family tree, decide they would want to turn their hobby into a career. Note that while the amateur genealogist will have knowledge of the general principles that apply to research due to their experience researching their family, credentials and training are necessary for good practices as a professional. A certified genealogist is one who has developed a wide experience of various sources, has the ability to analyze and interpret evidence correctly and has a good understanding of why and how the sources were created.
Majority of genealogists are self-employed and join the field from other professions. Others switch to this career in mid-life, while the rest go for it after their first career is over. A good number of genealogists move gradually from their career by building up a client base before they become full-time genealogists. However, only a few will derive a greater part or all of their income from genealogical research and similar fields such as writing and teaching. In fact, most of the people in this field work part time to supplement other income such as a pension.
When an individual is thinking of becoming a certified genealogist, they start by doing an honest assessment of their strengths. Prerequisites include a logical and tidy mind, excellent communication and analytical skills, meticulous attention to detail and a good memory. An individual who wants to become a genealogist and does not have such skills and characteristics will need to work on getting or improving them. One has to make sure they have a real enthusiasm for the work, as well as an ability to grasp the elements of a solution, assimilate the problems speedily and look upon each project as a challenge that can be solved by persistence and determination. A genealogist will need to be imaginative. At the same time, the imagination needs to be directed and controlled by sound reasoning. To avoid jumping to unsound conclusion, they need an unhealthy dose of skepticism.
A professional certified genealogist will need to be both a historian and a detective. It is essential to have an in-depth knowledge on all aspects of history – local, economic and social. For example, the absence of parish registers during the Commonwealth period will only be understood by an individual who appreciates the religious turmoil that ensued after Oliver Cromwell came to power. Even though they are not prerequisites, experience in Latin and a degree in history are definite advantages. Understanding of law, in particular land law, and principles of heraldry are a plus.
Certification between States
Certification is done by BCG using their online platform. You therefore do not need to travel from your state to Washington to get certification. BCG will require different materials for you to be certified for the category you are applying certification. If three judges on the board decide your certification is valid, you will be certified for five years. The certification will have to be renewed every five years to remain valid.
For your research you may also want to consider finding a certified genealogist near me.
Hiring a Certified Genealogist vs. Non-Certified
If you are planning on looking into your family tree, then a genealogist is the person to look for. However, you should decide whether you will get a professional or an amateur. The best person to work for you would be a certified genealogist. There are several advantages associated with hiring a certified genealogist:
Using a certified genealogist means you will be dealing with someone who has years of experience. The experience will mean a faster outcome as they will know how to go about the process in the quickest and most efficient manner. They are also well trained in the field of genealogy. This means they are capable of sifting through what would be seemingly overwhelming data and weed out the ones that are required for the task. They are also highly systemic and organized which means they will find the right data without wasting a lot of effort or time making their work effectively.
2. Finding Data
A certified genealogist will have access to data that may not currently be online. With the help of dedicated and diligent individuals, plenty of records in the recent years have been made available over the internet. This has made research more accessible and easier. However, the amount of data online is a fraction of what is offline in form of paper. A good genealogist is capable of unearthing records buried in archives and offices. Therefore hiring certified professional to do this within your locality will also be a plus.
You will not be sure of accuracy if you use a non-certified genealogist. Someone who is not certified is likely to have done some homeschooling’ to become a genealogist. This means they may not have the necessary skills gotten from a proper training program. Lack of training will lead to mistakes, which in turn result in inaccuracy. Additionally, a reputable service provider will have the skills required to evaluate sources and determine the ones that are legitimate and accurate and those that are not.
The above three advantages are just to name a few. There are many more good reasons to hire a professional genealogist like Record Click. Genealogy is great when you can use it effectively. If you want your project completed with speed and accuracy make sure your genealogist has the necessary education and certifications. If you are looking for someone to help you trace your family tree, use a certified, or at least an accredited genealogist. You can contact the BCG or ICAPGen to find out if the individual is truly certified or accredited. This way, you will be assured of the best results possible.