I’m coming in through a window — 17 Comments

  1. My view is that everyone does not have to be certified to be a really great researcher. No one should distinguish between a certified or uncertified genealogist. Some certified have actually failed to impress me – some just like having the title and some get certified to market themselves. Meanwhile some are excellent but so are many with the certification.

    As I see it, this genealogy sandbox is *very* *very* *very* big. So let’s all enjoy our time together doing what we love without letting anyone take the joy out of doing it for the sake of a “title”.


    • Thanks for stopping by, Lucie! I agree with you. That’s why ultimately it would boil down to word-of-mouth more than anything else. I mean – just because someone has a medical degree doesn’t mean I’m going to let them cut me without checking them out first. My reason for trying to get the certification is more for personal validation than anything else. Maybe even more of a confidence booster.

      • …and that is okay too.. I think what each person chooses to do should be respected. I know some world reknown researchers who are not certified and some might be really surprised to know that 😉 Meanwhile, go you! 😉

  2. Thanks, Jenny, for an excellent article. I agree with each of your points and appreciate your reasonable approach and tone of your comments. Validation and confidence booster are excellent reasons for seeking credentials. I believe many people stand there with you.


  3. I agree with this 100%. Any elitism on anybody’s part is uncalled for. While I understand the annoyance of research that is not well done, it should not cause the equally repulsive behavior of getting all high and mighty.

    • Thanks Dina! I also get annoyed with the poorly researched trees that I find. I’ll send an email or leave a comment, and I’m still waiting for some sort of response for most. But instead of stomping my feet and throwing a tantrum – okay, sometimes AFTER all that – I simply don’t refer to that research anymore and just go ahead and do it myself. Sometimes you just gotta count to 10, right?

  4. What Lucie LeBlanc Consentino said about the ” genealogical sandbox ” echoes my sentiments exactly ……………….people need to stop taking themselves so seriously .

  5. What a lovely, thoughtful set of answers. In a very general sense, if people go looking for reasons to be offended, they won’t be disappointed. We all have so much to learn from each other, no matter what “level” of experience. I learn something new everytime I talk to someone about research. You just have to learn to be open to the experience. 🙂

    • I agree, Christine. I learn something new every time I even talk to another genealogist – regardless of experience level. And you’re right. I have decided that there are people out there who thrive on drama and will go out of their way to create it. I try to stay as far away from them as I can.

  6. A genealogy professional (who is also a Certified Genealogist) responded to this post via email. After discussing it, they agreed to let me post this comment anonymously on their behalf.


    I was greatly impressed by your thoughtful and well-balanced response to Thomas McEntee’s challenge, and generally find myself in agreement–except for one point.

    You left no place for those of us who derive some income from genealogy, but don’t do research for clients.

    In my own case, I am compensated for genealogical consultation (but don’t do research for others) writing, editing, lecturing, and assisting archival patrons, but my research is restricted to matters of personal interest.

    I do consider myself a professional, both for the quality of my work and the fact (which I don’t consider absolutely necessary) that I derive some income from it.

    While the term amateur is respected in sports and a few other fields (including archaeology, and more recently, as to the “citizen scientists” in genetic genealogy), where it carries no connotations of ability, just the receipt of income. The names of unaffiliated genetic genealogists have recently appeared with molecular biologists and population geneticists as authors of articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. However, in other fields (and genealogical research is one of them), the term “amateur” has been used disparagingly.

    As a result, I’ve tended to avoid the term, classifying genealogists in relation to income as either professional (some income, like me) or avocational (strictly for the love of learning). That said, I have to acknowledge that many avocational genealogists are thoroughly professional in approaching genealogy as a serious branch of learning, right up there with the others that you’ll find on university faculty doors.

    Thanks for your contribution to what I hope will not become another acrimonious exchange of barbs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *