What is a Genealogist?
A genealogist is a person who studies the science of genealogy, which involves finding all they can about family descendents and ancestry - and not necessarily their own! Any genealogist who does this work professionally will charge the people he or she does the work who - that is finding out about the client's ancestry. But how does anyone go about becoming a genealogist?
First of all you need to learn all you can about genealogy and what it involves. The best way to do this is to attend workshops and classes and to read all you can find about the subject. Doing genealogical research will also help you to establish what's involved. So why not start with your own family tree?
If you plan to make a career out of genealogy, then it's a good idea to get accredited. To do this you will need to do more than 1000 hours of research, and then it is recommended that you continue to get at least 250 hours of research a year thereafter.
Accreditation of genealogists is done by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (the BCG) that was established in 1964 in America. And if you become certified, your job won't just be limited to compiling family trees. People who are certified with the BCG go on to do all kinds of related work including advising on matters relating to:
· probate (which involves proving the validity of wills), and
In America there are genealogists who work specifically to prove Native American genealogies.
Even though there is no specific form of study required by the BCG, they do have stringent standards - 74 in fact - that one needs to conform to before they will agree to certification. In addition, one has to be able to prove that a family tree is accurate by being able to source and quote citations and show that evidence you have uncovered is not conflicting.
The BCG also has a strict code of ethics to which certified professionals must abide. This includes striving for the 'highest level of truth and accuracy' in their work. They also agree not to publish anything that is unproven or that might harm anyone in any way.
You can visit the BCG web site at www.bdgcertification.org to find out more about becoming a certified genealogist.