Creating a portrait of professional genealogy

The March 2007 issue of the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly published the results of a member survey.[1] It is the most recent portrait (of which I am aware) of the community of professional genealogists. In 2012, the APG conducted another membership survey, but its goal was not to paint a portrait of the community, but to determine the direction of the future of the organization. Its results have not yet been published.

I believe it is time for a new portrait of the professional genealogy community. A lot has changed in the past five years:

  • instituted (and then discontinued) the ExpertConnect program, introducing many genealogists to the profession and strengthening the client market.
  • Social media and the Internet–including blogs, Facebook, and Twitter–decimated the “wall” between professional genealogists and our avocational counterparts.
  • The membership of the Association of Professional Genealogists has grown from just over 1800 members to over 2500 members.
  • APG has grown into a truly international organization, with chapters in Ontario, Canada, and Western Canada, as well as the Internet-based Virtual Chapter.[2] New chapters are currently being organized in the British Isles and Australia/New Zealand.[3]

The most glaring omission in APG’s previous surveys is that the surveys targeted only those professionals who were, at the time, members of APG. There are many professional genealogists who are not members of APG, for various reasons.

As this blog’s stated purpose is to support and educate professionals and aspiring professionals, I have designed a survey to try to meet these goals. I would like to produce a portrait of the professional genealogist community. This survey is not, in any way, sponsored or endorsed by the Association of Professional Genealogists or any other organization.

I would like to invite any who consider themselves professional genealogists–whether your business focus is research, education, publishing, or something entirely different–to complete this survey. Please share this post freely, so that the survey might reach those professionals who may not otherwise find it.

The survey is anonymous–it does not inquire the names of any respondents. The questions are relatively straightforward, and should not take more than 5 or 10 minutes to complete.

[Click here for answers to some common questions/concerns regarding the survey. Added 21 Feb 2013.]

The survey will be open for one week, beginning today, 19 February 2013, and closing on 26 February 2013. Sometime in the future I will discuss the results in this blog.

Click here to take the survey

Note: I do recognize that there is one shortcoming inherent in the survey. As it is being produced and shared online, only those professional genealogists with an online presence will be able to respond. In today’s world, with the Internet as prevalent as it is, am hoping that this will create only a small, reasonable, and acceptable margin of error.


[1] Sharon Tate Moody, CG, “Who Are We?: A By-the-Numbers Look at the Average APG Member,” Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, March 2007, 5–7.

[2] “Chapters,” Association of Professional Genealogists ( : accessed 19 February 2013).

[3] Minutes, Association of Professional Genealogists Board Meeting, FGS Conference – Birmingham, Alabama, 31 August 2012, “Board Meeting Minutes,” Association of Professional Genealogists: Members Only ( : accessed 19 February 2013); content available to members only.

8 thoughts on “Creating a portrait of professional genealogy

  1. I was hoping this was an anonymous survey, however, even though it is not if every question is answered (i.e. APG Chapter name, zip code, etc) I have chosen to answer honestly and truthfully while trusting you will not misuse the information.

    • The reason I asked about the ZIP code is to try to map out what parts of the country have representation by professional genealogists.

      The name of the chapter is just to gauge the effectiveness of various APG chapters.

      I want to emphasize that anyone who has any other questions, concerns, or comments about the survey or its results should feel free to ask them. I want to be completely transparent about the survey and its results, so that potential respondents will feel comfortable participating and we are able to have a more accurate portrait.

      And I promise not to track anyone down. 🙂

  2. agree with the above comment. Also would like to add that in the question about education there was no opportunity to indicate what we are working on now. I am in ProGen 17 and working on the online BYU Certificate but was unable to indicate that because I have not finished them yet.

  3. An excellent survey, even for the avocational genealogist. Although I consider myself a “professional,” I am without portfolio – but I not without voluminous boxes & electronic files of research. No one, other than those who benefit by my work, has sanctioned me. Nor do I feel the need to be credentialed in order to be effective. I do believe, however, that if you intend to teach & preach genealogy, credentials are in order. Besides, what learning institution would hire you without your degree(s)? For those of us who are self-educated & who aspire to a high degree of “professionalism,” opportunity still exists for quality production & recognition, sans the anointment of professionals. The 21st century does not belong to gatekeepers. It belongs to the addicts & employers of information.

  4. Pingback: Addressing questions about the professional genealogy survey « Planting the Seeds

  5. Your survey asks if we have hired a sub-contractor, assuming we all do research for clients. I do take clients on rare occasions (another option not allowed in the survey — you just allow yes or no) and have never needed a sub-contractor, but I have in the past year hired another professional to do research for me, once for work in a subject & time period where I am not an expert and am not able to get to the primary repository and once for some basic work in a distant state complicated by the conjunction of 3 counties where records could/might be.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s