Gorry has done a service to the genealogical community.

That was one of a number of complimentary remarks in a review of my book in the latest (September 2019) edition of the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly.  A copy of the review was sent to me the other day by Mary Penner, CG, the APGQ managing editor.

Almost a year on from the Facebook launch of the book, Credentials for Genealogists: Proof of the Professional, its subject has been back on my radar again in recent weeks, and having a bit of an impact in different parts of the world.  Just over a week ago I addressed an event run by the Association of Scottish Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (ASGRA) at The Dome in New Register House, Edinburgh: a wonderful and extraordinary room in which to lecture.  The ASGRA Professional Day was an information seminar for Scottish genealogists thinking of transitioning to professional research, or already in the early stages of a career.

My topic at the event was ‘The Importance of Accreditation’ and I emphasised my opposition to the creation of career barriers in the field of genealogy.  What I mean by this is the attempt from some quarters to limit access to the profession to people completing courses on the subject.  As I said on the day, there are many routes to becoming a fully functioning genealogist and restricting most of those routes would be detrimental to the profession.  Ultimately, receiving accreditation (or credentials) is what proves the genealogist’s ability.  Accreditation is not a ‘barrier’, as it is not mandatory; rather it is enabling to the accredited professional as it guarantees their all-round ability.

Some time ago I was asked by the editor of the Australian heritage quarterly, Traces, to write about how to become a professional genealogist.  Lo and behold, on the same day as the APGQ review arrived I also received a copy of my article, ‘Turning Genealogy into a Career’, published in the latest issue (No. 8) of Traces.  While it concentrated on Australasia, much of what I said in it might relate to anywhere in the world.  One such thing was:

People who have not been in a formal education setting for years, or decades, may find it daunting to sign up for a course that involves essays or exams … Learning may be at a different pace, in a different format and without the formality of a certificate or diploma course.

The review of my book in the APGQ was by Paul K. Graham, who holds both the American credentials – Accredited Genealogist (issued by ICAPGen) and Certified Genealogist (issued by the Board for Certification of Genealogists).  To be honest, I was not expecting APG to appreciate the forceful opinions I expressed in the book about recent trends in the profession, which included criticism of APG’s open membership policy.

Months ago my forceful opinions elicited social media comments about the book such as:

From what I’ve read so far he doesn’t pull any punches


Whew, that was a challenging read!

My aim was not to shock or offend, but rather to make people in the profession pay attention to how fragmented it has become.  This was appreciated by Stuart A. Raymond in his review in the June 2019 edition of the Genealogists’ Magazine, the quarterly journal of the Society of Genealogists (London).  He wrote:

This book ought to be read by all professional genealogists, and would be useful for anyone seeking to employ one.

Paul K. Graham’s review in the APGQ nodded gently at the forcefulness of my views but also understood my aims:

The book creates starting points for conversation through untempered opinions and is an enjoyable read.

As someone credentialed by two organisations, I found much to agree with, a good amount to disagree with, and even more food for thought.

His final comment was:

A stack of credentials for genealogists book spine[Gorry] advocates strongly for the value of credentialing in our field, but without sugarcoating problematic issues.  Those who wish to understand professional genealogy today will find Credentials for Genealogists: Proof of the Professional a must-read text.

I’m grateful for the impartiality of Graham’s review and for APGQ ’s editorial openness to my ‘untempered opinions’.

My book, Credentials for Genealogists: Proof of the Professional [2nd Edition], is available to purchase online (see the link from my website: here).


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