So, are you ready for certification?

I have been absolutely amazed at the responses to my last two posts. My intention was to give people a glimpse “behind the curtain,” to see the actual judging process for themselves, as well as raise awareness of some common mistakes. If you have not yet read them, you can read part one here and part two here.

I just want to also remind people that this was an unsuccessful application. My recent successful application is much different.

So, after reading these posts, do you feel ready for certification?

The Board for the Certification of Genealogists offers a short checklist on its website, entitled, “Are You Ready for Certification?” I would recommend that everyone interested in becoming certified go through this checklist to test your readiness. Be honest with yourself though. If you exaggerate your qualifications, you are only hurting yourself.

The BCG also offers other resources to help you in your goal. You should definitely take advantage of all of these as learning opportunities.

1. Read the Application Guide thorougly. Be sure that you understand all of the requirements. Practice them. For example, take a handful of records from your private collection and transcribe them, abstract them, and perform the other “Document Work” requirements. Use a wide variety of record types — deeds, wills, tax lists, census records, etc. If you are not currently conducting client research, take a few of you own research problems and write them up as if you were conducting the research for a client. The BCG also provides two practice records on their website, with the Document work completed. The full Application Guide is available online here.

2. Study the Judging Rubrics. If you have practiced parts of your application on your own, try honestly evaluating these parts according to the rubrics. The best part of the rubrics (in my opinion) is that they state plainly which of the BCG Standards are applicable to each evaluation. You can read the rubrics online here.

3. Read and understand the BCG Standards Manual. A very active and enlightening discussion took place on the Transitional Genealogists Forum mailing list beginning in January 2010. This discussion went through the BCG Standards one by one, with discussion from many Board-certified genealogists, professional genealogists, and “transitional” genealogists. You can see the start of this discussion here. A new thread was started for each individual standard following this one, so you may have to go back to the list archives index to find them all. However, I would credit this discussion with some of the understandings of the standards that I have come to. You can purchase The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual on, or purchase it directly from the BCG.

4. Read the books and articles suggested on the BCG’s “Supplemental Study List.” This list is available on the BCG’s website here. Several of these books were also mentioned in my blog post “The top 5 books on my bookshelf.” Of particular importance, in my opinion, are Elizabeth Shown Mills’s Evidence!, Christine Rose’s The Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, and Numbering Your Genealogy: Basic Systems, Complex Families, and International Kin, by Joan F. Curran, Madilyn Coen Crane, and John H. Wray. This last book, published by the National Genealogical Society, will help you tremendously when writing your Kinship Determination Project. If you are a member of the National Genealogical Society, you will also want to be sure to read the special issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly dealing with evidence. This issue was published in September 1999 (vol. 87, no. 3), and can be read online by NGS members.

5. Consider a formal education program. The BCG has compiled a list of educational programs, including university-sponsored programs, institutes, major conferences, and independent study courses. This list can be read here.

6. Read the “Skillbuilding” articles. These articles provide some great tips for using specific record groups in great depth, tips for methodology, and other articles that will help to prepare you for the depth of research expected of Board-certified genealogists. These articles, originally printed in OnBoard, can be found on the BCG website here. Of particular interest to the readers of this series of posts is “Skillbuilding: A Judge’s Notes From an Application for CG,” which provides similar information from the perspective of a BCG judge.

7. Read the “Ten Tips for Success” article. This article shares some common elements with this blog post. It can be read here.

8. Study the Work Samples. Several examples of case studies, proof arguments, compiled genealogies, narrative lineages, and research reports have been posted on the BCG website here. Read them and study them. Compare them to the rubrics and standards, to see how they meet each one. And then apply the lessons you have learned to your own work.

9. Watch the seminar video. Thomas Jones, CG, and Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, present a seminar on becoming certified at various national conferences and institutes. If you have not attended the seminar in person, you can still benefit by watching the video. This video can be viewed on the BCG website here.

10. Read the “Application Strategies.” Five articles, originally published in the BCG’s OnBoard journal, have been reprinted on the BCG website. These articles specifically deal with the application process, from details on putting together the physical portfolio to a survey of a group of successful applicants. You can read these articles here.

In addition to all of the above resources provided by the Board itself, I would also make the following recommendations:

11. Join the Transitional Genealogists Forum mailing list. This list often has some great discussions, as noted above on the BCG Standards, and as noted before when discussing citations in my post “Source Citations: Why Form Matters, part one.” The list is extremely welcoming of genealogists of all levels, and is frequented by many professional and Board-certified genealogists, including Elizabeth Shown Mills, Elissa Scalise Powell, Thomas Jones, and others! The Archives of the mailing list comprise another great source for information, as we discuss issues relevant to conducting professional-level genealogical research. Details of this Rootsweb-hosted mailing list can be seen here.

12. Join a study group. The ProGen Study Group is great for those aspiring professional genealogists who are considering certification. This 18-month program take an in-depth look at the book Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills. Each month studies an individual chapter with a practical assignment for each, including several that will help you with the basics of establishing a business. Other assignments help with evidence analysis and writing a proof argument. A second useful study group meets monthly to discuss a selected article from the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. This group picks apart the article and discusses what went right, what went wrong, what could have been explained better, etc. There is not currently a website, but you can obtain more information by sending an email to the coordinator, Sheri Fenley.

There is, of course, no amount of education and practice than can guarantee success. Some people may be able to succeed without all of the preparatory steps I note above. Others may be able to perform all of these tasks and not succeed the first time. But stick with it if you are interested. The judges comments are a great learning experience in and of themselves, as noted in the previous post.

If you think you are ready to begin certification, go ahead and submit your Preliminary Application. You have a full year to complete the portfolio, and during that time you will have access to the BCG-ACTION mailing list for help on preparing the application itself, as well as a complimentary subscription to OnBoard. If you are not ready after the first year, you can always request an extension, at the cost of $50 per year. It is better to pay $50 for the extension and succeed, than to pay $220 to fail.

So, are you ready for certification?

If you would like to cite this post: Michael Hait, “So, are you ready for certification?,” Planting the Seeds: Genealogy as a Profession blog, posted 17 Jul 2011 ( : accessed [access date]).

How Not to Become Certified, part two

I promised in my post “How Not to Become Certified, part one,” to share some of the judge’s comments from my unsuccessful 2007 application to the Board for the Certification of Genealogists. I feel that this can be a valuable learning experience for those planning their own application for certification. Read the first post for my own opinions as to why that portfolio was unsuccessful.

Please note that the judging system in use at that time is no longer used by the BCG. However, the judge’s comments are still appropriate. To learn about the current BCG judging process, read “The Judging Process” on the BCG website, and review the current evaluation rubrics.

This application received a mixed decision: one judge approved the application, two judges disapproved it. The BCG regulations require all mixed decisions to be reviewed by a fourth judge, whose decision is final. Below are comments from all four judges, both positive and negative, that address common problems that researchers have. I will not add my own commentary but allow the judge’s words to speak for themselves.

[Regarding “Understanding & use of contradictory evidence”] “While noted as contradictory, no resolution was offered…”

“Did not apply the Genealogical Proof Standard.”

“An efficient research plan would call for identifying the location prior to searching for a document.”

“The abstract has entirely too many abbreviations, and the style changes from naming the devisee first, to naming the property first.”

“The outline form for results works well.”

“The applicant consistently referred to the typescript extract of a letter as a transcript. As he demonstrated with the document work, a transcript is a full, word for word, copy of a document. These few lines, taken out of a letter, are not a transcript.”

“A lot of interesting information is still in the footnotes. Moving information from footnotes into the text would create a more interesting story.”

“The text hinted at discrepancies, but did not develop the proof.”

“It is disappointing ot read between the lines and see a competent genealogist, yet realize that the work presented in this portfolio does  not meet the BCG Standards for Certification. The problems with the Case Study and report could be rectified with experience and attention to detail. However, due to the fact there was no attempt to apply the Genealogical Proof Standard or write a proof summary in any part of the portfolio, this judge is unable to recommend approval.”

“Use a wide range of sources per standard 19.”

“Heavy reliance on derivative sources.”

“Some kinship proof weak, see standard 50.”

“Proof summary inadequate, insufficient discussion, see standard 41.”

“Need a wider range of sources, see standard 19.”

“[T]he applicatioin guide states that applicants should show which of the three formats they chose for the case study. This was not done and therefore creates another area of uncertainty for judges.”

“Judges do expect more biographical data and historical or cultural context in the Kinship-Determination report and the portfolio was weak in these areas.”

“Footnote 5 might also be a possibility [for creating a proof summary] as it summarizes indirect evidence for the parents of Mary Lusby, but it wasn’t developed into a proof summary.”

“The Kinship-Determination project was the weakest part of the portfolio. There was very little biographical information, the format was not a recommended style, and it lacked the required two proof summaries. Without demonstrations of proof summaries this portfolio cannot be approved.”

“It is unfortunate that although Mr. Hait has satisfactorily met many of the standards, several major ones are unmet and they are so serious that certification cannot be recommended. However, Mr. Hait is encouraged to learn from the judges’ comments, correct the noted deficiencies and omissions, and later apply with a new portfolio that demonstrates what he has learned.”

And I did just that.

If you would like to cite this post: Michael Hait, “How Not to Become Certified, part two,” Planting the Seeds: Genealogy as a Profession blog, posted 16 Jul 2011 ( : accessed [access date]).

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 ( : accessed [access date]).

What Exactly Do I Research?

This post is inspired by the post, “What Exactly Do I Research?” by Marian Pierre-Louis in her blog, Marian’s Roots & Rambles (18 June 2011). In this post, Marian describes her research interests. I enjoyed this post quite a bit, and have decided to emulate Marian here. Some of you may think you know what I research, and some of you may not have the slightest idea. So consider this an introduction to my research. …

My main interest is in writing, but my main income comes through client research projects. There are several kinds of projects that I work on:

  • Document retrievals. If someone just needs records from Maryland or Delaware, and lives too far to obtain them for themselves, they will hire me to do so.
  • Lineage research. The vast majority of my research projects are for clients who simply want to trace their lineage, but either do not have the time, knowledge, or access to records, to do so for themselves.
  • Brickwall research. In many cases, clients have worked on a problem for years, and finally decide to hire someone to help them with breaking through the brick wall. This is my favorite kind of project. Sometimes I cannot break through the brickwall, but I do have a high rate of success.

I have conducted research throughout every county in Maryland, though I have the most experience in Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, and Baltimore counties, and Baltimore city. Recent projects have been located in Frederick, Charles, St. Mary’s, and Dorchester counties, in Maryland, and New Castle and Sussex counties, in Delaware.

However, I have also researched African American families around the country, including Texas (click here for an ongoing Texas case study), Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia. My own family (not African American) comes primarily from New York, Connecticut, Virginia, and North Carolina, and my wife’s family is primarily from Tennessee, Mississippi, and South Dakota.

Aside from my clients (and my own family, if I ever had time to research them anymore!), I have several research interests of my own.

My primary interests are in African American genealogy and the U. S. Civil War and “Reconstruction” eras. As much progress as has been made on all of these fronts, there are still so many unknown or little-known resources yet to be tapped. Tying into these interests are several other projects:

  • Record groups nationwide, no matter how large or small their focus, that provide direct evidence connecting slaves or former slaves with their slave owners. Beyond the use of these records that provide direct evidence, I am also working on a guide to using indirect evidence to identify the slave owners of former slaves.
  • Compensated emancipation in the border states. Especially the records of the Slave Claims Commissions, which were active in Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, and West Virginia, during and immediately following the U. S. Civil War.
  • Slavery in southern Maryland. For nearly five years, I have been collecting records concerning enslaved families in Prince George’s County, Maryland. This project has included Civil War service and pension records, probate records, bills of sale, runaway slave advertisements, vital records, federal census records, tax lists, and several other record groups concerning slaves and their owners. Some of these families will be the subjects of research case studies, and transcriptions / abstracts / indexes of some of the records will begin to be published later this year. Other segments of this research project will be appearing in magazine and journal articles, and presentations/webinars.

Another of my research interests is network theory. A multi-faceted and multidisciplinary study of how networks develop, network theory can be applied to the study of communities. The study of our ancestral communities has already been proven to aid our genealogical research, but I believe that network theory and its application to the development of these communities can take our field to a whole new level. A brief article that I wrote on the subject–though barely scratching the surface of the potential application of network theory–was published in the article “Small Worlds: Researching Social Networks,” published in the Sept/Oct 2009 issue of Family Chronicle magazine. These theories are also being applied in the above long-term project on the enslaved families of Prince George’s County.

Now you know a little more about me and my research.

For more information, you can visit my website, particularly the “Publications” page. Or use the links below for more on my recent books:

If you would like to cite this post: Michael Hait, “What Exactly Do I Research?,” Planting the Seeds: Genealogy as a Profession blog, posted 28 Jun 2011 ( : accessed [access date]).

SpeakerWiki is now SpeakerMix

On 10 May 2011, I posted an article entitled, “SpeakerWiki: What it is, and how you can use it.”

I just discovered that SpeakerWiki has now been renamed SpeakerMix. Neither the FAQ nor the Blog describes why this change was made. However, all of the information previously available on SpeakerWiki has been transferred to this new site. The old URL redirects to the new URL

Two new genealogy writing opportunities

Two announcements have gone out about some writing opportunities for genealogists.

First, the genealogy website is looking for new writers. Their announcement reads,

The Expert Series is a collection of articles from top genealogists around the country. Every week we feature a new article aimed to help beginning and advanced genealogists alike solve common research problems, break-through brick walls, and learn how to improve their research techniques. It’s a phenomenal, free resource for all and we’d like you to be a part of it!

We compensate our writers for the hours they spend writing on researching and give them a complimentary membership to our website,

What we look for in a writer:

  • Author must be a professional or extremely experienced in their field
  • Author must have excellent writing skills
  • Sign a standard contract and W9 form

Please contact Ayme Alvarez at if interested in writing for the Expert Series.

The second announcement comes from Michael John Neill, author of the very popular Casefile Clues newsletter:

Based upon reader surveys, we’re going to start a “beginner” version of Casefile Clues on a trial basis–seeing if there really is enough interest and demand. I am looking for other writers who would be interested in contributing pieces to this version.

Anyone who is interested in writing for a beginning genealogist audience can email me at and I’ll send specifics and additional information when I return from Utah later in the week. I can’t promise high wages at this point, but a tagline and website for each author will be included.

If you are interested in writing genealogical articles, these two new opportunities may be just what you are looking for.

Do you have a genealogy project?

The most immediate reason that brings all of us into genealogy is, of course, a desire to learn more about our own families. Even professional genealogists like myself started by researching our own families. I had been researching my own family history off and on for almost twenty years, and intensively for almost ten years, before I even considered becoming a professional.

Before I come back to this, I would like to recommend a website I recently discovered: “1698 Southold LI Census: A Study of Identities, Town of Southold, Suffolk County, Long Island, New York,” by Norris M. Taylor, Jr.

On this website, Mr. Taylor has started with a single record set at the core, the 1698 census of Southold, New York, and explored the community represented within these records by comparing the information with that held by other contemporary records. In conducting this intensive research, and compiling this information, Mr. Taylor has succeeded in two accomplishments. First, he has created a resource that anyone with roots in 1698 Southold (including this author) can use with their own research. Second, and more importantly, Mr. Taylor has combined the methods of genealogical research with the methods of historical research, and produced a deep exploration of an entire community.

I conducted a similar project several years ago, using a community of Palatine Germans who settled in Schoharie County, New York in the early 18th century–a community of which quite a few of my direct ancestors (and of course their families) were a part. My project has unfortunately had to sit on the shelf for a few years as other opportunities have come up, and limitations in my access to certain records have crept in.

However, I am currently about four years into a separate project, one where the access to records is much better, exploring a community of slaves and slave owners in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The fruits of this project will hopefully begin to see the light of day over the next several months.

I would like to ask other researchers: do you have a genealogy project?

Even as we explore our own direct ancestors, we must remember that these individuals did not live on islands by themselves. They were parts of communities. By fully exploring the family and other relationships within a single community, we are able to gain insight into that community, and our ancestor’s relative place within it. But more importantly, it is through broad community projects of this nature that we are able to break down even the toughest brick walls.

It is not at all uncommon to find exactly this type of community work in historical literature. Academic history, however, is interested more in generalities than in specific individuals, so the relationships are not often the focus. Just a few of hundreds of articles that I have collected over the years:

  • Thomas, William G., III, and Edward L. Ayers. “An Overview: The Differences Slavery Made: A Close Analysis of Two American Communities.”  The American Historical Review, Vol. 108 (2003), pp. 1299-1307.
  • Kenzer, Robert C. “The Black Businessman in the Postwar South: North Carolina, 1865-1880.”  The Business History Review, Vol. 63 (1989), pp. 61-87.
  • Cody, Cheryll Ann. “Kin and Community among the Good Hope People after Emancipation.” Ethnohistory, Vol. 41 (1993), pp. 25-72.
  • Steffen, Charles G. “The Rise of the Independent Merchant in the Chesapeake: Baltimore County, 1660-1769.” The Journal of American History, Vol. 76 (1989), pp. 9-33.
  • Baptist, Edward E. “The Migration of Planters to Antebellum Florida: Kinship and Power.” The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 62 (1996), pp. 527-554

Each of these journal articles is extremely useful contextual information for those who have ancestry within these geographic or demographic areas.

The difference between these projects and those that I would recommend genealogists conduct are several. Many of these historical works will focus only on a single record set or a limited number of additional records, but fail to explore other record groups. In other words, they fail to meet the Genealogical Proof Standard, in many cases. The historians have not completed a “reasonably exhaustive search” for all relevant records, not evaluated and correlated the evidence, and not reconciled contradictory evidence. This certainly limits the reliability of their conclusions with regard to individual family relationships. They can be excused because these individual relationships are not usually the focus of their research. For genealogists, these relationships would be the focus.

Here are some links to other broad genealogical projects I have come across over the years:

‘Making money with genealogy’ – recent blog posts

On 15 April 2011, Joan Miller wrote a post entitled, “Genea-Bodies: The New Somebodies,” in her Luxegen Genealogy and Family History blog. A comment by fellow professional genealogist and blogger Marian Pierre-Louise (who writes the Roots and Rambles blog) inspired one response in this blog (see “Genea-Bodies: A response to the comments” posted on 18 April 2011). The beginnings of the discussion were discussed more fully in that post.

More importantly, it got the world of geneabloggers talking! Here is a list of blog posts circling around the theme of making money through genealogy, that followed the initial discussion:

15 April 2011

18 April 2011

19 April 2011

20 April 2011

21 April 2011

22 April 2011

23 April 2011

24 April 2011

And luckily, the conversation has not ended, as the following posts have appeared in the meantime:

Quite a few bloggers commented in this discussion. Some were professionals, some were amateurs/hobbyists. Some of the posts comment directly on issues relevant to professional and transitional genealogists.

I would recommend that anyone interested in these issues read this series of posts. And if you know of any other posts that were missed in this survey, please let me know of them in the comments below!


Genea-Bodies: A response to the comments

A few days ago, Joan Miller posted “Genea-Bodies: The New Somebodies” at her LuxeGen Genealogy and Family History blog. In this article, she discussed the influence of social media users and, in particular, bloggers. Her experience in promoting the RootsTech conference as an Official Blogger gave her a unique perspective on this issue.

More interesting than the rather short post, however, is a comment from Marian Pierre-Louis, who writes the Marian’s Roots and Rambles blog:

Just want to play devil’s advocate here. It’s all well and good to be recognized but until we can actually make a self-suporting living based on the tremendous amount of work we do, what’s the point? All of us work so hard. If we were in corporate america doing what we do we’d all make more than $75k salaries. Until this industry recognizes these individuals with monetary compensation of some sort then it is only self-gratification we gain. I can’t eat that. …

Marian makes a great point here that needs to be discussed. Should self-gratification be enough?

Another comment, this from Kerry Scott, author of the ClueWagon blog, agrees:

Marian brings up a good point. When there are so many people working for free, it’s hard to turn this into a business (as others have had in other niches).

The conversation continues, and I would recommend that everyone go take a look.

I have been researching my own family history for virtually my entire life. I starting taking clients part-time, really as a way to fund my own research, about five or six years ago. Last year, I was laid off from my job, and decided that I had put in enough ground work to finally make the leap into self-employment as a professional genealogist, full-time. My wife is a stay-at-home mother (our personal decision to do this), so my income fully supports my family. Some months are better than others, but so far we are able to eat.

In order to accomplish this feat, I literally work from the time I wake up in the morning until the time I go to bed at night. I average about six hours of sleep a night. My time is spent researching for clients, creating lectures, writing articles for two columns and several magazines, writing and self-publishing books, and administrative work such as answering emails, marketing, etc. I also find myself tending to think outside of the box in creating new ways to generate income. I have no savings left, and, with a five-year-old daughter, I will need to start thinking in that direction.

One major issue in play here is, I believe, the separation of hobbyists from professionals. Genealogy always starts as a hobby. In many cases, it stays there forever. In far too many cases, the hobbyist never takes the time to educate themselves about proper research techniques, record groups, or even general history of the area in which they are researching.

For professionals such as myself, the process takes much longer. I spend a few thousand dollars a year (now tax-deductible as business expenses) on subscriptions to magazines and journals, memberships to genealogical societies and professional organizations such as the Association of Professional Genealogists, International Society of Family History Writers and Editors, and Genealogical Speakers Guild, research trips, and other forms of genealogy education. I go out of my way to learn everything I can about the research process, new and newly discovered record sources, and even both general and specialized history of the areas in which I work. All of this education pays off for those who hire me, read the articles I have written, and attend my lectures and webinars.

In between these two groups are the “Genea-Bodies,” that is, the Geneabloggers. In my experience with most of the bloggers I have met and in reading the blogs I follow, most geneabloggers hold a higher level of education and knowledge of research standards than your average hobbyists. But they often fall just shy of the professional standard of education and research.

Of course, there are exceptions. And for those who disagree with my assessment, I apologize. I can only speak from my own experiences.

However, in general, bloggers are researching their own families, possibly the families of close friends, but rarely accept paid clients. They may attend one or even multiple national genealogy conferences, but not often the several genealogy institutes that offer more in-depth education.

And most importantly, as the comments on the “Genea-Bodies” blog post confirm, they write their blogs because they love it. They are a community–a warm community that I am proud to be on the outskirts of. But being paid was never their goal, and is never their expectation.

Many of the companies that are now tapping into the strength of the geneablogger community, however, do expect to turn a profit. And they do. And the geneablogger community is extremely eager to support these companies, even the fly-by-night companies who create a new website or a new software product that gets surpassed or simply falls behind in that competitive market.

Does the geneablogger community show its obvious strength in supporting its own members? In another comment on the “Genea-Bodies” post, Kerry Scott mentions that she has been met with disapproval by suggesting that other bloggers click on each other’s affiliate links when ordering books from Amazon, etc. Clicking on these links costs the buyer absolutely nothing, though the affiliate will make a few pennies.

I have two questions that I would like to propose to the geneablogger community:

(1) Are we willing, not only as a geneablogger community but as a larger community of genealogists, to support each other as fervently as we support the larger corporations?

(2) More importantly, why do some geneabloggers seem to be opposed to those who attempt to earn a living in genealogy-related fields?