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Hiring a Professional Genealogist Resource Guide

Hiring a professional genealogist is an excellent way to discover your family roots. If you encounter a challenging research problem, if you lack skills or the time to research, or if travel is a problem, you may benefit from the assistance of an experienced professional. These guidelines can help you find and employ a competent genealogist.

The keys to finding a good genealogist are the same as those for hiring other competent professionals. First, you need some general information about what genealogists do and the services they provide. This information can be found in Part I of this guide. Second, you need to know how to evaluate genealogists and select the right one to hire. This information is found in Part II and III.

General Information

Services Provided by Professional Genealogists

The services of professional genealogists fall into these categories, with other minor services.

Tracing Ancestry. A professional genealogist can help you trace your ancestors. For example, a genealogist may be able to discover who your immigrant ancestors were and where they came from. Or, a genealogist can research one of your family lines back to a specific time period or individual. This is often helpful when people want to join a lineage society and must prove that one of their ancestors participated in a historical event such as the United States Revolutionary War.

Researching Descendants. A professional genealogist may help you in descendancy research by identifying people who descended from a particular individual. For example, you may be a descendant of Daniel Boone and want to start a family organization of his descendants to share genealogical information. A professional genealogist can help you identify the frontiersman's descendants so you can contact them.

Searching Records. To save time and avoid travel costs, you can employ a record searcher to find and review the records for you. Record searchers review only the records you instruct them to search.

DNA Analysis. Many companies offer services to test your DNA. Professional researchers can help you track down candidates for DNA testing and interpret your results. Hiring a DNA Testing Company provides further information.

Other Services. Genealogists also provide a range of other services that include the following­:

  • Consulting and counseling with you about how to solve a research problem
  • Deciphering handwriting on old records
  • Translating foreign records
  • Instructing and lecturing on genealogical topics
  • Computerizing genealogical information
  • Abstracting and publishing records
  • Finding missing people

Professional Genealogists

Genealogists are generally not required by law to be licensed or certified. However, they can receive credentials from several organizations. Each organization sets its own criteria for granting credentials.

You should also consider other criteria as you make your hiring decision. Most genealogists are self-taught, and many competent genealogists do not seek credentials. Years of education, research experience, and satisfactory service to clients may be just as important as credentials.

Credentialing Organizations for Professional Genealogists

These organizations required the researchers listed on their website to either through submitted work samples and/or testing to prove competence and experience. These organizations support those they credential in case their is a problem with the research.

Australasian Association of Genealogists and Record Agents Inc (AAGRA) - Australia and New Zealand

The Secretary,
GPO Box 4401,
MELBOURNE, Victoria, 3001
Australia
Email: info@aagra.asn.au
Website: www.aagra.asn.au
Online directory

  • Tests and certifies genealogists in the are of Australia and Ne Zealand. Researchers listed in the directory must also agree to a code of ethics.

Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) - International

Board for Certification of Genealogists®
P.O. Box 14291
Washington, D.C. 20044
United States of America
Website: www.bcgcertification.org
Online directory

  • Certification results from evaluation of work samples in a portfolio submission. Those passing certification are Certified Genealogists®. All certified individuals must agree to a code of ethics.
  • The mission of the Board of Certification is: Since its founding in 1964 by leading American genealogists, BCG has fostered public confidence in genealogy as a respected branch of history in two ways:
  • We promote attainable, high, and uniform standards of competence and ethics among genealogists through programs of outreach, publication, and education. We continue to publish, disseminate, and update these standards as appropriate, and collaborate with others who share this goal.
  • We award the Certified Genealogist® credential to persons whose work meets these standards.

Genealogical Institute of the Maritimes/Institut généalogique des provinces Maritimes

Genealogical Institute of the Maritimes/Institut généalogique des provinces Maritimes
9501 Donnell Road NW
Edmonton, AB T6C 4C2
Website: disasternat@gmail.com

  • Tests and certifies genealogists for specialized research areas in Canada

The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGenSM) - International

International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGenSM)
P.O. Box 4464
Salt Lake City, UT 84110-4464
United States of America
Telephone: toll-free 1-866-813-6729
Email: information@icapgen.org
Website: www.icapgen.org
Online directory

  • Accredited Genealogist® Researchers are listed in the directory have been reviewed for competency and must agree to a code of ethics.
  • The mission of ICAPGen is to advance family history/genealogy work around the world by accrediting and promoting genealogy professionals who are competent, ethical, and reliable, and to support the preservation of and access to genealogical materials.

Organizations Supporting Professional Genealogists

The following list of organizations covers most geographical areas of interest and can connect you with genealogy researchers. These organizations have vetted the professional genealogists listed on their websites and will mediate between you and the genealogist if any concerns arise.

The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA)

Enquiries
AGRA
14 Charterhouse Buildings
Goswell Road
LONDON
EC1M 7BA
United Kingdom
Contact form
Website: www.agra.org.uk/

Online directory

  • Researchers listed in the directory must abide by a code of practice.

The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG)

The Association of Professional Genealogists
P. O. Box 40393
Denver, CO 80204-0393
United States of America
Website: www.apgen.org/index.html

Online directory

  • Researchers listed in the directory must agree to a code of professionalism.

Accredited Genealogists Ireland (formerly the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland) AGI

The Accredited Genealogists Ireland
Contact: accreditedgenealogists.ie/contact-us/
Website: accreditedgenealogists.ie/

  • Researchers listed in the directory must agree to a code of professionalism.


Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy (CAFG)

Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy
P.O. Box 260981
Plano, TX 75026
United States of America
Contact form
Website: www.forensicgenealogists.org
Online directory

  • Researchers listed in the directory must agree to adhere to standards of practice and conduct.

Disclaimer

The above listed organizations are not intended to be an official endorsement by FamilySearch or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints