ProGen Study Group #1

Friday, 16 May 2008 | by Mark Tucker

Professional GenealogyOn May 7th, I met with 5 other genealogists to discuss the book, Professional Genealogy: a Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills.  I am part of a study group that each month reads chapters from this book in preparation for an online discussion via instant messaging (IM) software.  The discussion lasted for an hour and a half as we answered prepared questions for the two chapters that we read.

The chapters that we read for the month were:

  • Chapter 1 – Defining Professionalism by Donn Devine, J.D., CG, CGI
  • Chapter 5 – Ethical Standards by Neil D. Thompson, LL.B.,  Ph.D., CG, FASG

Related to this, I am part of a peer group where we complete an additional assignment and as peers we review each others’ work.  This month we wrote a mission statement. 
Some of the things I learned from the discussion:

  1. Blogging is a way of performing service in the public interest and is one way in which the public can judge your professionalism.
  2. It is important to start our research with a Research Plan and the Research Guides on can be a useful place to start.
  3. As I strive to be more professional in my personal research, I have learned that genealogy is more of a marathon than a sprint.  Compare to say 5 years ago, today I am more cautions, try not to jump to conclusions, and try to do a better job of citing sources and analyzing evidence.
  4. It is one thing to know the Genealogical Proof Standard (and other standards) and it is another to strive regularly to follow them.  At the point where we go from knowing to regularly practicing, is where professionalism starts.  The challenge is how to get beginners to work as professionally as possible as soon as possible.

I have very much enjoyed this first month as a member of a ProGen study group and have met some wonderful people.  I just finished my reading assignment for May and am working on my peer review assignment.  This month we are doing a group project which will be time well spent.  Mostly, I am looking forward to talking again with my study group friends during the online chat.


  1. The relationships we’re building really are the best benefit of the group. It’s nice to see I’m not the only one with that opinion. :-)

    Comment by Lee Anders — 16 May 2008 @ 6:43 pm

  2. [...] first peer-reviewed assignment for the ProGen Study Group was to write a draft of our mission statement. Since I am not currently looking to hire myself out [...]

    Pingback by ThinkGenealogy Mission Statement - Draft #1 | ThinkGenealogy — 29 May 2008 @ 10:19 am

  3. [...] May was the second month for the ProGen Study Group.  You can read about April’s report at ProGen Study Group #1. [...]

    Pingback by ProGen Study Group #2 | ThinkGenealogy — 8 Jun 2008 @ 10:52 pm

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