What is a Certified Genealogist(sm)?

According to the brochure “Why Hire a Board-Certified Genealogist?” published by the Board for the Certification of Genealogists,

Certified Genealogist (CG): one who is proficient in all areas of genealogical research and analysis. Those who carry this credential conduct broadly based projects whose goals are to find and interpret evidence, assemble proof of identity and relationships, and prepare sound reports and historical accounts of families, past and present.

To become a Certified Genealogist, one must have a portfolio reviewed by three judges, themselves Certified.

This portfolio consists of various genealogical work products, including

  • Document Work. Each applicant is provided with a photocopy of an original document. The applicant must first transcribe and abstract the document. Then the applicant must identify a hypothetical research focus in which this document would be used, analyze the information in the document in light of this focus, and submit a short research plan to follow up on the information in this document. All of these same steps must then also be completed using a document provided by the applicant.
  • Research Report. Each applicant must provide a recent client research report, exactly as it was delivered to the client. No modifications can be made prior to submission. Permission from the client to submit the report must also be provided.
  • Case Study: Conflicting or Indirect Evidence. A written case study utilizing either conflicting or indirect evidence must be submitted. The case study should describe the research problem and all research steps taken to solve this problem. Often these case studies will be akin to what one would read in the top genealogical journals, such as National Genealogical Society Quarterly.
  • Kinship-Determination Project. Each applicant must submit a narrative genealogy, narrative pedigree, or narrative lineage covering at least three sequential generations. Within this project, the applicant must discuss evidence proving at least two parent-child links in different generations. Every statement of fact must be documented, and the project must demonstrate broad research meeting the Genealogical Proof Standard.

Certified Genealogists represent those whose work has been judged to meet the stringent BCG Standards. Among the CGs active today are the best and brightest genealogists nationwide. A look at the online roster on the website of the Board for the Certification of Genealogists is like reading a “who’s who” of genealogy.

Certified Genealogists are many things to many people.

But the short answer to that question, as you will see in my new profile, is that, as of 9 July 2011, I am now a Certified Genealogist! It was a long, two-year process (I needed an extension just to be sure I had my portfolio ready!), but the results finally came in!

If you would like to cite this post: Michael Hait, “What is a Certified Genealogist(sm)?,” Planting the Seeds: Genealogy as a Profession blog, posted 11 Jul 2011 (https://michaelhait.wordpress.com : accessed [access date]).

14 thoughts on “What is a Certified Genealogist(sm)?

  1. Congratulations on your achievement, Michael! I hope to join the ranks of Certified Genealogists in a year or two.

  2. You have accomplished a great thing on your “to do” list! Congrats again…my roommate (NIGR) is working on hers as well. I will go after mine when I am through with school..

  3. That is wonderful. Thanks for sharing your accomplishment! We are so happy for you, Michael!


  4. Pingback: Turning your genealogy hobby into a career « Planting the Seeds

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