Photo by Wokandapix, licensed under CC0 (1.0)

Becoming a Certified Genealogist

Becoming a certified genealogist
Photo by Wokandapix, licensed under CC0 (1.0)

Becoming a certified genealogists has been a goal of mine for many years, and now I am actively pursuing it.

As many of you know, I have been doing genealogical research for more than 20 years, and about two years ago I decided that it was time for me to finally get my genealogy certification.  I want this attain this certification as a means of pushing myself to become more professional and technical in my work, submitting my project to experienced, certified peers for their review and approval that my work is up to the standards of the profession.

The funny, and really sad, thing is this is not the first time.

Not the First Time

When I recently made this decision I began to review what I have, as far as genealogical resources, and ran across my packet and Genealogical Standards book from 2007.  I had completely forgotten that I had actually sent off for the packet back then.

So what is different between now and ten years ago?

For one, I am old, decrepit, and tired.

No, seriously, I am old, decrepit, and tired, but I am much more aware and informed than I was ten years ago.  You know, the whole wisdom gained by age and experience?

Around 2007 I began thinking of becoming certified, and figured I had several years behind me, it was time.  After receiving the packet from the Board for Certification of Genealogists[1], I dove right in.  That is when I had a rude awakening.

A Rude Awakening

I had no idea what much whole sections of the packet was about.

Sure, I had utilized many, many records required for genealogical work, and had even cited my sources, albeit half-assed, but I still cited.  I had read many transcriptions, but I had never done one.  The same is true of abstracts, but again, had no idea how to do one, or what information was required and what was left out.

I had performed many, many hours of research, but not as thorough as it should have been; stopping when I found the information needed, but not continuing to find other records that might support or refute the information.

I had written summaries of my research for folks, but had never written a “soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.”[2]

In short, I was so full of myself as a genealogist that I failed to recognize that I had no friggin clue what I was doing, at least on a “professional” level, so I began working to become more professional.

And again, the funny thing is I completely forgot the reason I started working towards that professionalism; that little packet I received from BCG back in 2007.

Let’s Get Certified

Fast forward ten years, well, actually about eight.

Like I said earlier, about two years ago I decided to actively work towards becoming certified.  I still have problems with citations, but only in their formation and whether you use a semi-colon or a comma, but all the information is there to relocate the records.  I have performed many “professional” research projects, both paid and pro-bono, where I provide a thorough report that includes all the evidence, both positive and negative.  I have transcribed many documents for myself and various clients, but I still have problems with abstracts, but usually in favour of leaving more information than I need to.

Over the past year, I have documented over 340 hours of education, not including reading articles or blogs, but I still have not been to a conference due to several reasons; mostly due to work, finances, and there simply are not that many conferences in Texas or easy traveling distance.

So, anyway, I decided I need to start writing about my journey and discoveries as I work towards this certification.


Write at least one blog article per week, spend at least ten hours per week on something genealogical

Brick Walls

Working 70 hours per week, little time with family

[1] Board for Certification of Genealogists ( : accessed 30 July 2017)

[2] The Genealogical Proof Standard, Board for Certification of Genealogists ( : accessed 30 July 2017)


  1. Jill 31 July 2017 at 00:29

    You are well on your way, Jon!!

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