Thursday, January 31, 2019

Advancing My Professional Genealogy Career

When I decided to start my career as a professional genealogist in 2017 I had a great grasp on how to do genealogy research but I had a lot to learn about being a professional. I read what was available online about becoming a professional genealogist and reviewed available reports. Joining professional genealogy groups and attending continuing education has been very helpful as well. Yet the biggest help overall have been two books; Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards and Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

I had bought Genealogy Standards before I decided to go professional, which gave a great baseline on how to conduct research, but didn't really go into anything about the in-and-outs of the actual profession. I first decided to get Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards (ProGen) after reading an article by Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist,  about the release of the newest version. I had heard about the book but had gone a little over a year without it. The reports I prepared for clients went over well and the information was conveyed nicely but I just always felt like they could be better. I had built them based on the reports I could see through samples from BCG and my membership through APGen but there wasn't a lot of explanation as to why everything was done as it was.

Once I received the book I went through it and began to redo the reports I was currently working. To say it was helpful is a huge understatement. Not only did the book explain what choices were available for different situations but it also gave great examples. I have felt much more confident with the reports I have been writing and they look much more professional. Besides help with reports ProGen also goes into all sorts of information on having a career in genealogy; legal information, ethics, career management, and much more.

I bought Evidence Explained a little later after being contacted by a genealogy company interested in working with me. They suggested I look into the book as they preferred to use specific citations which are defined in the book. I got a sample of it on the kindle app and was instantly blown away at how detailed it was on how to build citations. I quickly got online and bought the book. The hardest part of doing citations in genealogy is the fact that there are so many types of documents from so many types of sources, so using guides online are difficult because there are lots of situations they don't take into account. Evidence Explained goes into a bunch different types of situations, gives multiple examples for most situations, and has a great index and chapter listing that allows for quick lookups when you have something you need to find. It has made creating citations much easier all around.

For anyone who is looking to become a professional genealogist or who is looking to advance your career, I highly suggest getting these books.