ProGen Study Group #2

Sunday, 8 Jun 2008 | by Mark Tucker

Professional GenealogyMay was the second month for the ProGen Study Group.  You can read about April’s report at ProGen Study Group #1.

This month we continued our study of Professional Genealogy by reading the following:

  •  Chapter 2 – Educational Preparation by Claire Mire Bettag, CGRS
  •  Chapter 8 – Alternative Careers by Elizabeth Kelly Kerstens, CGRS

Chapter 2 provided details on academic degrees or credit programs in genealogy. For example, BYU offers a BA in Family History – Genealogy as well as a Family History Certificate. Another certificate program is the Home Study Course provided by the National Genealogical Society. This chapter also talks about major conferences such as NGS, FGS, and those held at BYU. There are also numerous self-study options discussed. If I were to list all the educational opportunities, it would take pages. One newer series of conferences that is not mentioned in the chapter are those provided by My Ancestors Found. The chapter included mostly US programs but did mention some international ones.

Particularly helpful are pages 19-21 that provides questions in the areas of presenters, programs, sponsors, and other concerns that can be used to evaluate educational opportunities to determine which are right for you.

The chapter on alternative careers is interesting as it gives a brief description of more than 10 career opportunities in genealogy other than researcher, lecturer, teacher, and traditional genealogical author. For each career minimum requirements are discussed as well as how to begin. Missing from this list are newer pursuits such as blogger and podcaster which could be used in conjunction with any of these choices.

Currently I am a blogger, article author, and occasional lecturer. I continue to evaluate ideas on how to bring my skills as a non-genealogy software architect into a full-time career in the field of genealogy.

Practical Assignment

The practical assignment this month was to write an education plan and share it with my peer group. Here is my plan as it currently stands:


• BYU Family History Technical Workshop (attend & present) – completed
• BYU Computerized Family History Conference – completed
• ProGen Study Group
• TG Study Group
• New FamilySearch Online training
• BYU free Online courses
• My Ancestors Found Conference – Mesa, AZ (attend & present)
• NGS Home Study (start)

• My Ancestors Found Conference – Mesa, AZ
• BYU Family History Conference
• ProGen Study Group
• TG Study Group
• NGS Home Study (finish)

• My Ancestors Found Conference – Mesa, AZ
• IGHR – Advanced
• BCG Certification (start)

This differs from what I submitted to my peer group as I learned some new things as the result of the Discussion Group Assignment.
Peer Group Assignment

The assignment for the peer group was to simply share our research plan with each other. This was helpful as motivation to think about and complete the assignment. It also was helpful to see what your peers are planning and to see how they formatted their plan. In a future revision of this education plan, I want to include more specific dates as milestones to track progress.

Discussion Group

Each discussion group was asked to pick an educational opportunity, research it, and provide a summary so that everyone in the ProGen Study Group can learn about the program. Our group selected the Home Study Course by NGS and followed the outline in pages 19-21 to evaluate the course. There were many questions that we didn’t know the answers to mostly in the area of course authors. After a few e-mails, we were able to get a detailed history of the course and its authors from Connie Lenzen, CG, who is a NGS Director as well as the chair of the NGS Education Committee. Thank you Connie for the quick response and the helpful information!

The discussion group had our online chat last week which was enjoyable. We discussed aspects of both chapters from our reading assignment as well as the Home Study Course. One of our members will be attending the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University this coming week and promises to share her experiences in next month’s discussion.Final note: I expect that the ProGen Study Group coordinator would appreciate it if I mention that the study group is closed to new members. This is not meant to be exclusionary, but each member of the group has committed to participating for the next year and a half (how long we expect it will take to complete the book). It would just be too chaotic if the membership of the group was constantly changing. Thanks for those who have expressed an interest. I hope that you will be able to at least follow along with my experience and do the assignments on your own.


  1. Welcome back Mark,

    Check the APG mail list or the TGF list for my experiences at Samford. I broke it up into 5 posts. Pay attention, there will be a quiz later :)

    Sheri Fenley

    Comment by Sheri Fenley — 23 Jun 2008 @ 8:51 am

  2. [...] is a link to my ProGen Study Group #2  post for those interested. [...]

    Pingback by ProGen Study Group #3 | ThinkGenealogy — 27 Jun 2008 @ 9:36 am

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