Tuesday 9 November 2021

The Register of Qualified Genealogists and Other Professional Organizations

Recently I came across a reference to The Journal of Genealogy and Family History. It is published online by the Register of Qualified Genealogists, headquartered in East Sussex, England but with members from around the world. Basically, the organization “provides, and makes public, a record of those genealogists who hold a recognised qualification in the field of genealogy and associated practices, and who may be willing to provide professional services in that field.”

The RQG’s journal provides “a platform for researchers in all fields related to genealogy and family history where new, interesting and challenging work can be published” and serves “as a touchstone for current thinking and practice and an outlet for theoretical and speculative ideas.” Issues of the journal are available only online, but anyone can access them. People interested in receiving email notifications of new articles and issues can register by sending a message to the Editor. The latest, 2021 volume has articles about record sources, notable people, regional family histories and important events in the history of families.

One of my associates highly recommended the group saying they “are a fantastic organisation. Dynamic, enthusiastic and thoroughly professional.” If you need the services of a qualified and experienced professional genealogist, the RQG list appears to be a great place to start looking.

Inclusion on the list requires some rigorous background and education. Members currently must have either a Diploma in Genealogy from the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, a Postgraduate Diploma in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee or Postgraduate Diploma in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies from the University of Strathclyde.

There are a number of groups worldwide whose purpose is to certify professional genealogists. Among them are:

·         the Association of Genealogists & Researchers in Archives (AGRA), “the professional organisation promoting high professional standards in the field of genealogy and historical research in England and Wales.”

·         the Association of Scottish Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (ASGRA) is the “accrediting body for professional genealogists in Scotland.)

·         the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), that administers “a program that provides valid skill assessment, respected credentials, and consumer protection.”

·         the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), “help members of the public locate and connect with professional genealogists around the world” by “evaluating the experience, knowledge, and skills of the listed genealogists our members’ profiles can assist in selecting the right person for your project.”

·         The Australasian Association of Genealogists and Records Agents Inc (AAGRA), which “aims to offer the services of reliable and competent genealogists and record agents to those wanting professional family history and genealogy services and general record searching.”

·         the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen), is “a professional credentialing organization dedicated to testing an individual's competence in genealogical research.”

These groups are, of course, in addition to the hundreds of local and national family history societies where research assistance and information about professional genealogist may be obtained.

It’s never a bad idea to consult with professionals in any discipline. For some, like engineering and geology (I belong to the group in Alberta, Canada: Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta), it is mandatory for employees of companies that are involved in projects involving the public. Think building bridges or exploring for minerals!

I do not have the educational qualifications to belong to most of the professional genealogical associations listed here. My post-graduate degrees and experience are in the sciences. But I have used the services of a few professional genealogists and found their advice and knowledge of great help in my own family history research pursuits.

Check out all the groups to see who might help you or whether you would like to join their ranks.