An Overview of Professional Genealogy Organizations and Associations

An Overview of
Professional Genealogy Organizations and Associations

Introduction

There are several institutions that accredit the services of professional genealogists and researchers around the world. One of their primary goals is to establish a set of standards and a code of ethics by which accredited members adhere. While it is not necessary to hold a formal accreditation to conduct genealogy research on a for-fee basis, accreditation does indicate to clients that the holder adheres to a level of standards and professionalism that is accepted within the profession.

Institutions offering professional genealogy accreditations are:

This article provides a brief explanation of the credentials offered by these organizations and identifies the postnomials commonly used by professional genealogists and researchers.


Australasian Association of Genealogists and Record Agents (AAGRA)

The AAGRA offers two credentials:

  • G, Genealogist, and
  • RA, Record Agent.

These are available to people actively involved in genealogy or records research within New Zealand and Australia. Applicants may apply for either or both and only receive accreditation after the Council of AAGRA evaluates samples of submitted work for evidence of competence. Upon admission, "each member is required to subscribe to a Code of Ethics which requires the highest standards of honesty, integrity in the member's dealing with the client and the preservation of complete confidentiality of the client's affairs". (More»)

Web: http://www.aagra.asn.au/
Email: info@aagra.asn.au
Post: Australasian Association of Genealogists and Record Agents, PO Box 268, Oakleigh, Victoria 3166, Australia

The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives

The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) was founded in 1968 as the Association of Genealogists and Record Agents to promote and maintain high standards of professional conduct and expertise within genealogy, heraldry and record searching and to safeguard the interests of members and clients. Membership is open to well-qualified professional researchers who have been engaged as genealogists or researchers in archives for a number of years. Members must agree to comply with a Code of Practice when accepting membership.

Web: http://www.agra.org.uk/
Post: Joint Secretaries, AGRA, 29 Badgers Close, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 5RU, United Kingdom


Board of Certification of Genealogists, BCG

The Board for Certification of Genealogists grants certification to qualified applicants in these categories:

  • CAILS, Certified American Indian Lineage Specialist - credential for those specializing in documenting Native American lineages;
  • CALS, Certified American Lineage Specialist - credential for those specializing in direct line ancestry and the preparation of lineage applications;
  • CG, Certified Genealogist - credential for those specializing in multibranch genealogies;
  • CGI, Certified Genealogical Instructor - a credential for teachers of full-scale, structured genealogical courses for educational institutions, libraries, or similar facilities.
  • CGL, Certified Genealogical Lecturer - credential for specialists who speak to genealogical societies, lineage organizations, and civic groups on topics relating to genealogy; and
  • CGRS, Certified Genealogical Records Specialist - for experts on records of a particular geographical area, subject, or ethnic group;

Candidates for accreditation must submit samples of their work to illustrate their knowledge of bibliography, resources, and research methodology. A rotating panel of national-level experts evaluates the submission. Each individual certified by BCG subscribes to their Code of Ethics and Conduct. (More»)

Web: http://www.bcgcertification.org/
Email: office@bcgcertification.org
Post: Board for Certification of Genealogists, PO Box 14291, Washington, DC, 20044, USA


Bureau Québécois d'Attestation de Compétence en Généalogie (BQACG)

This French Canadian organization recognizes three categories of genealogists:

  • GFA: Généalogist de filiation agréé (Approved Genealogist of Filiation);
  • GRA: Généalogiste Recherchiste Agréé (Genealogist Approved Recherchist); and
  • MGA: Maîtres Généalogistes agréés (Approved Genealogist Master).

Genealogical Institute of the Maritimes

The Genealogical Institute of the Maritimes is the accrediting authority for professional genealogists and record searchers in Eastern Canada. The institute offers two levels of certification:

  • GRS(C): Genealogical Record Searcher (Canada) - a person who "examines records for the purpose of discovering, whether they contain sufficient genealogical or biographical information to solve a particular research problem and reports, accordingly, to the client"; and
  • CG(C): Certified Genealogist (Canada) - a credential identifying professionals how, in addition to the expertise identified for the GRC(C) above, " possess, also, a complete knowledge of the principles of family history research and be able to apply it to identifying research problems and in determining the records appropriate for use in solving them".

People wishing to attain either accreditation must complete a preliminary application to determine their level of genealogical experience and eligibility for accreditation. If approved, they can then submit a sample of their work for evaluation on their ability to research, analyze, organize, record, and footnote a family history. (More»)

Web: http://nsgna.ednet.ns.ca/gim/
Email: kemckay@ns.sympatico.ca
Post: P.O. Box 3142, Halifax South Postal Station, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 3H5, Canada


Genealogical Research Institute of New Zealand (GRINZ)

The Genealogical Research Institute of New Zealand offers an introductory course in New Zealand Family History and a diploma programme "for those intending to pursue family history and genealogical research or teaching to an advanced level". GRINZ is the acronym for the institute, and is also used as a postnomial for graduates of diploma programme. (More»)

Web: http://www.grinz.org.nz/home.htm
Email: info@grinz.org.nz
Post: PO Box 12-531 Thorndon, Wellington 6038, New Zealand


Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies (IHGS)

The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies "is an independent educational charitable trust, established to provide full academic facilities for training and research in the study of the history and structure of the family".

  • Certificate in Genealogy - three levels of assessment demonstrating a fundamental knowledge of genealogy research.
  • Higher Certificate in Genealogy - demonstrating the holders ability to accurately extract data from original documentation covering a wide range of record sources.
  • Record Agent - demonstrating the holders ability to extract information from original documentation and to compile it into an accurate pedigree supplemented with a clear explanation of the evidence used to produce it.
  • Diploma in Genealogy - demonstrating the holders knowledge in heraldry and genealogy and its applications to historical studies, demography, intestate succession and research overseas.
  • LHG, Licentiateship of The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies - an advanced degree awarded to applicants who have been tested on the submission of an approved thesis or research dissertation. Candidates must be qualified as professional genealogists and graduates of the Institute's Diploma exam.

Holders of the Diploma in Genealogy and Licentiateship of The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies are recognized as ones who "may properly and confidently practise as a professional genealogist". Holders of the Record Agent credential are recognized as being qualified to practise as a Record Agent on a professional basis. The LGH represents the highest level of expertise. Holders are encouraged to act as tutors and teachers of genealogy and family history. (More»)

Web: http://www.ihgs.ac.uk/
Email: ihgs@ihgs.ac.uk
Post: The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, 79-82 Northgate, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 1BA, England


National Institute for Genealogical Studies

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies, in cooperation with the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto offers a three year online certificate program involving a minimum of 40 courses ( 8 required courses per year plus an addition 8 optional courses). The postnomial that is earned is: PLCGS, Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies.

Web: http://www.genealogicalstudies.com/eng/gstudies.html
Email: info@GenealogicalStudies.com
Post: National Institute for Genealogical Studies, 30 Wellington Street East, Suite 2002, Toronto, ON M5E 1S3, Canada
Phone: (416) 861-0165, 1-800-580-0165


Society of Australian Genealogists

In 1974 the Society of Australian Genealogists instituted a Diploma in Family Historical Studies (Dip FHS). It is awarded to candidates, who, upon completion of the Family Histories Course, "show a high degree of proficiency in the study of family history". The course is based on a written thesis, essay, case study and formal examination. The diploma is not a professional genealogical qualification, but the diploma course provides a strong foundation in the skills needed for genealogical research. (More»)

Web: http://www.sag.org.au/
Email: info@sag.org.au
Post: Richmond Villa, 120 Kent Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia


University of New England

The University of New England, New South Wales, offers two credentials in genealogy research:

  • Advanced Diploma in Local, Family and Applied History (formerly titled Associate Diploma in Local and Applied History) is designed for students who have never done any university study. The course takes a minimum of two years and a maximum of six years to complete by part-time external study. Successful completion of the Advanced Diploma entitlies you to advanced standing in the Bachelor of Arts degree or pursue other areas of study. More »
  • The Graduate Diploma in Local, Family and Applied History is designed for students with a university degree in any discipline or a three year diploma. The course normally takes two years to complete by part-time external study. More »

Web: http://www.une.edu.au
Post: Armidale, New South Wales, 2351 Australia
Telephone:+61 2 6773 3333, Fax:+61 2 6773 3122


By John Holwell, ( ). Quotations extracted from the web sites of the organizations noted.



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