The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
In this newsletter you frequently see letters appended after the names of individuals, such as CG or CGL. This means that the individual has received a genealogy accreditation of some level. This week I thought I would describe the various certifications and tell why perhaps you might be interested in obtaining accreditation.
Accreditation is valuable in many fields. We have CPA ratings for accountants and similar ratings for many other professions. When you hire an accountant, a lawyer, a financial planner, a surgeon, or almost any other professional, you want some assurance that he or she has passed an examination by a certifying board which ensures that its members measure up to proper standards. The same is true in genealogy: you want to hire someone who is qualified and has passed an examination.
Genealogy certification is not just for professionals, however. Many individuals seek and obtain genealogy certification for their own satisfaction. Knowing that your work meets high genealogy standards is proof that you know what you are doing, whether you ever accept a dime in payment or not. Many certified genealogists have no intention of earning a living in this field, but they enjoy the confidence that the time they spend researching ancestry will yield results of certifiable quality.
Anyone can claim to be a professional genealogist, whether certified or not. However, most professionals do have certifications. I would suggest that you ask for a person's credentials before hiring them, whether it is for genealogy research, preparing your income taxes, or performing brain surgery.
Board-certified genealogists, whether professionals or highly skilled hobbyists, pass rigorous tests and subscribe to a code of ethics. I would suggest that you settle for nothing less than that. Also remember that most certifying organizations also offer an arbitration service, should a problem ever arise with the conduct or work of a certified member.
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