Michael Schield of Highlands Ranch, Colorado has been searching for his family roots for over 20 years. But on one sunny day in Austin, Texas this fall he discovered he had a new "family." He found the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG).
Schield joined APG at its Professional Management Conference in Austin, Texas on Sept. 8, 2004. It was record-setting occasion. He became the 1500th member of the international organization, the leading professional group of genealogists and related professionals.
Surrounded by members sporting APG 25th anniversary pins, he says he joined because he's "looking" at taking on clients who want to find their own families. Besides, he says professional genealogists are a "tremendous group of people." Members from 32 states and Canada gathered, as they do annually, during the Federation of Genealogical Society's national conference to learn the business side of the genealogical profession.
Schield, president of the Highlands Ranch Genealogical Society (HRGS), has been doing family history research almost as long as APG has existed. He said, "Genealogy brings back of the important things in life-our roots and history that we never paid much attention to in school."
He heads his genealogical society's unique project that compiles the names of permanent microfilms and microfiche at five Family History Centers in south metro Denver and Douglas County. As Webmaster, he posts a combined list of nearly 10,000 items by subject, description and FHC location on the HRGS Web site, www.rootsweb.com/~cohrgs. This enables FHC patrons to immediately locate and view films without the delay of ordering them.
In addition, he is a Ward Family History Consultant for the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and has occasion to help teach a Family History Class.
APG President J. Mark Lowe, a certified genealogist from Springfield, Tennessee, says APG is a rapidly growing, financially healthy organized whose members do professional-type research for hire or themselves or are in fields related to family history. Members include researchers, writers, lecturers, librarians, family historians and enthusiasts.
APG (www.apgen.org), started in 1979 by 19 genealogists, is devoted to supporting high standards in the field. It is based in Westminster, Colorado, near Denver.