Becoming An Excellent Genealogist: Essays On Professional Research Skills

Genealogy is a hobby for many, a profession for others, and a passion for almost all practitioners. However, the one word that may be least used but best describes genealogy is science. Research science takes both skill and creative thinking. Genealogy is no different in this regard than any other science. And, like other scientists, genealogists, whether professionals or merely enthusiasts, are dedicated to finding answers through laborious, and sometimes difficult, research. Any research project is bound to encounter difficulties. Genealogists understand stumbling blocks all too well. Constant learning is the key to successful research and by-passing research dilemmas. Books, the Internet, magazines, conferences, and working with other genealogists are all avenues to expanded knowledge. Understanding the need to learn from the best resources, the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen) has published Becoming An Excellent Genealogist: Essays On Professional Research Skills.

In referring to research issues, the Commission had this to say:

“… Every genealogical problem to be solved varies, to some degree, from every other problems.

Successfully navigating those difficulties is challenging, It takes a certain aptitude, as well as certain knowledge that may not be readily available…

The avocation of genealogy has grown. It is time to provide a higher level of instruction to more family historians in a convenient and inexpensive format. Yes, it takes time, effort, and (indeed) money to become an excellent (or advanced) genealogist.”

This is why the group has published Becoming an Excellent Genealogists. This collection of essay by experienced, professional genealogists “teaches concepts and methodology not usually taught in classes or other books.” This collection brings together generations of experience with the personal twist and examples of individual researchers. The essays are easy to understand, and explore research area both unique and critical to overall research success. Except for maybe the newest of beginners, this book has something to all levels of researcher. Even highly experienced professionals can benefit from another professionals experience and unique examples.

Consider this new 2012 guide a critical part of any researcher’s library. Inside the reader will find 25 helpful essays from 24 of the country’s top professional genealogists. The first essay asks, “What Makes an Excellent Genealogists?” Just pick up a copy and find the answers for yourself.



Acknowledgements, by Kory L. Meyerink



Research foundations

1. What Makes an Excellent Genealogist?, by Kory L. Meyerink

2. Elements of Genealogy, by Kory L. Meyerink

Research Concepts and Methodologies

3. Genealogical Analysis, by Marilyn Markham

4. Avoiding the Assumption Trap, by Apryl cox

5. Demography as a Tool for Genealogists, by Karhryn Daynes

6. Migration Methodology, by Karen Clifford

7. Strategies for Tracing Female Lines, by Judith Eccles Wight

8. Casting the Net Wide: Searching Horizontal Kin and Neighbors, by Amy Harris

9. Researching Minorities in the United States, by Jimmy B. Parker

10. Big City Research, by James W. Petty

11. An Introduction to Medieval Research, by John Kitzmiller

12. Timelines: Essential to the Genealogist’s Toolbox, by Joy Price

13. Using DNA to Find Immigrant Origins, by Nathan W. Murphy

14. Child-Naming Patterns: A Tool to Assist with Family Reconstitution, by Richard Woodruff Price

Records and Information

15. Jurisdictions: Who Created the Record? by Loretta Evans

16. Getting the Most out of Electronic Indexes, by Suzanne Russo Adams

17. Effective use of Libraries, by Chad R. Milliner

Recording and Reporting

18. Documentation and Source Citation, by Amy Harris

19. Writing a Quality Research Report, by Linda K. Gulbrandsen

20. Good Writing: Essential to Becoming an Excellent Genealogist, by Tristan L. Tolman

21. Making Sure Your Work Survives You, by Anne Leptich

22. Paleography: Abstracting, Transcribing, Translating, by Ruth Ellen Maness and Heidi G. Sugden

Professional Work in Genealogy

23. A Brief History of the Accreditation Program, by Jill N. Crandell

24. When to Hire a Professional, by Tricia H. Petrey

25. ICAPGen Accreditation Process and Procedures, by Carolyn J. Nell


Becoming An Excellent Genealogist: Essays On Professional Research Skills, a new book from ICAPGen, is available from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $19.55

ICAPGEN Conference in Full Swing

FRPC Exhibit - ICAPGEN 2010 Dale and I are at the ICAPGEN Conference (sponsored by The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists) at the Radisson Hotel in Salt Lake City today – working the exhibit booth as usual. Dale, his wife Tara, and a friend, Melissa Metcalf, came in early on Friday and set up the exhibit. I’d had such a rough day on Thursday, dealing with a splitting headache during the FamilySearch Blogger’s Day event, that my son, Dale, gave me the day off on Friday. I stayed home and recuperated. I’m feeling great again. Speaking of FamilySearch, I’m working on my first (of many) blogs dealing with what’s going on there – both new and old…

Luana Darby just told me that they have a registration of 160 attendees here at the ICAPGEN Conference. It’s called “Becoming An Excellent Genealogist” this year. Most of the folks are local, but another 20 or so are from out-of-state. Looking at the class schedule, it’s evident that a wide variety of topics are covered. Classes in everything from New England Sources, to U.S. Migration Patterns, to Citing & Evaluating Online Sources, to Researching Your Civil War Ancestors are being taught. Six tracks are running simultaneously, with six class periods per day, making a total of 72 classes.

The exhibit hall is actually set up in the second floor lobby of the Radisson, so we’re never far from the food – laid out on tables just feet from the exhibit booths. The Family Roots Publishing booth runs down the South wall of the lobby for nearly 50 feet.

Other exhibitors here today are:
BYU Print & Mail (Carol Holland)
Generation Maps (Janet Hovarka)
Heritage Collector (Marlo & Leanna Schuldt
ICAPGEN (Joy & Merlin Price)
Legacy Family Tree (Ken McGinnis)
RootsMagic (Bruce Buzbee)
Utah Genealogical Association – UGA (Christy Fillerup)