Let's Go Pro!

Updated: Oct 29, 2019

On 27 Aug 2005 I subscribed to my first genealogy website. I can still recall the excitement of finding my first relative on a census record. It was the 1910 U.S Federal Census and my great-grandmother - who I knew as "Grandma Fisher" but whose birth name was Birdie Griffiths - was seven years old in Summerdale, Alabama. I had never thought of Grandma Fisher as a child. But there she was. Seven years old. Awesome!

Over the years, the excitement of that first genealogy find has never waned. Since that time I have continued to perform online research, visited countless cemeteries, interviewed relatives, scanned through rolls of microfilm at libraries and archives, orded copies of vital records, sifted through courthous records, digitally scanned photos from various family members, and so on. And I have LOVED every minute of it!

But I haven't always had the time to work on genealogy. As an active duty officer in the U.S. Navy, genealogy has sometimes needed to take a back seat. And that's fine. And appropriate.

But times are changing. I am retiring from the Navy in early 2020 so this seems like the perfect opportunity to get serious about genealogy.

So what does "get serious" look like? For me, it means certification. Aspring genealogy professionals like myself can be certified in the U.S. through the the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) as a Certified Genealogist (CG).

That sounds cool. I'm gonna do it.

After reviewing the BCG Application Guide I took a step back and objectively assessed my current genealogy knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs). I came to the conclusion that I have some work to do. So how does an aspiring professional genealogist acquire the KSAs that will result in a successful portfolio submission?

There are many courses of action, but the one I am choosing is formal education. Boston University offers an online Genealogy Studies Program consisting of two courses. The Genealogical Principles Course is a seven-week genealogy fundamentals review. That will be good. Even after 15 years of doing this (off-and-on) as a hobby, it will be valuable to lay down a solid foundation. The second course is a 15-week Certificate in Genealogical Research. Both courses look rigorous and interesting.

So yeah, let's step up to the challenge. I signed up for the Genealogical Principles Course. It starts 21 Jan 2020.

I've also worked through some fantastic online course material. I'll review that in my next blog post.

Have you transitioned from being a geanealogy hobbyist to a professional? If so, tell me what your journey was like. Did you pursue formal education, or was it all self-learned? Did you have a mentor to guide you along the path? What would you do differently? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for joining the conversation. Welcome to Trusted Genealogy!


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