Lookup Providers – Valued Genealogy Researchers

[Updated 6 December 2011]

Genealogists search records to trace ancestors and descendants and find missing people. Genealogists consult with others about their findings, instruct others about their pastime and profession, and publicize their findings.

All genealogists are lookup providers one degree or another. Some of us do it as volunteers. Some of us do it as professionals. Likewise, some genealogists go all the way to the top with credentials: Michael Hait is a credentialed genealogist. Jill Morelli [her blog is in process of being renamed] is on track to become one. Me? I’m just a lookup provider who has respect for these two. I’ve never met either Mr. Hait or Ms. Morelli in person, but through their writing, I feel we are all strongly committed to genealogy, as professionals and volunteers. What do we have in common?

I like to think we “raise the bar” on quality genealogy. We do it to help others. My, occasional as they are, “Sunday’s Obituary” posts are one way of sharing what I do. Some of these items come from materials I use personally, and some are “extraneous” to professional findings. Most other of my posts also have materials which might help another genealogist. They are all meant to help others accurately trace their ancestors, descendants, and missing people.

Mr. Hait’s post this morning which discusses Mary Petty reminded me of my own post about her a couple of years ago. In it I pretty much dissected one of her posts about what makes a professional genealogist, and the results aren’t pretty. She is an example of someone in the genealogy pastime or profession that I cannot respect. Her posts were designed to lead other genealogists not to consult with others, but to drive business to her company by being rude to other genealogists, disrespectful of other professions, and using scare tactics. Scare tactics are an unethical business practice in any profession. Rudeness and disrespect are flat-out not nice.

I mentioned several books in that post, which I think exemplify professionalism in genealogy, and am going to do it again. One of them specifically addresses professionals like me, a record searcher. These books are items that Ms. Petty knew about or should have known about as part of her education but ignored.

Board for Certification of Genealogists. The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual. Provo, Published for the Board by Ancestry. Inc. 2000.

This book is referenced heavily by Ms. Clifford’s book, below.

Karen Clifford, AG. Becoming an Accredited Genealogist. Orem, Utah: Ancestry, Inc. 1998.

This book was written for genealogists who seek to be certified by the LDS church, and focuses its research practices on resources Ms. Petty’s company uses.

Donald Lines Jacobus. Genealogy as a Pastime and Profession. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 1978.

Mr. Jacobus was the premiere professional of his day and left a strong legacy for others to live up to.

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