Book Review: Professional Genealogy – Preparation, Practice & Standards

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Professional Genealogy
Preparation, Practice & Standards
Edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
Published by Genealogical Publishing Co. 2018. 678 pages.

I recently attended a morning meeting with my local genealogy group. As we were filing into the room, someone set out the new edition of Professional Genealogy for people to look at.

My colleague Sara saw the book and announced, “My dog ate my Progen.” We all chuckled, appreciating a weak attempt at humor so early in the morning. Then we heard a more insistent tone, “No, really, my dog ate Progen!” Now she’s got our attention. What kind of dog would eat Progen?

Well, turns out, a dog with good taste. Not only did he lunch on Progen, he dined on the new edition. He completely ignored the old edition setting nearby; Sara showed us the proof photos. The spine of the book looked like a thoroughly chewed-over cob of Iowa sweet corn. Then he had moved across and gnawed around the edges of the cover just about the time Sara walked in. The dastardly deed took a total of 43 minutes.

Sara says she can still use the book, because all the text pages are intact. But still.

It’s too bad folks think the book is only for the professionals. I don’t think it is. I think it’s for everyone.

There are several sections targeted for the professional, or the aspiring professional, that’s certainly true. The first sections about professional preparation and career management speak to the professional business genealogist.

For the aspiring professional who has questions about what’s involved with the professional side of genealogy, the chapters on educational preparation, credentialing, structuring a business, setting fees, and marketing, answer lots of questions.

But for all of us, the chapters on legalities and ethics are about situations that confront everyone at some time or another. The chapter on research skills offers sound advice on research planning, research procedures, forensic specialization, analysis and reasoning. The chapter on writing, editing and publishing will answer lots of questions about self-publishing and writing, which lots of us do.

Blaine T. Bettinger and Judy Russell have written a most excellent chapter on Genetics for Genealogy. I didn’t expect to find this in the book, but it’s there, and it goes from elementary principles to understanding the more complex interpretations. Diagrams, charts, the whole enchilada.

I’ve always thought Professional Genealogy has wide-spread appeal, not just for the professionals, as in the name, but for all genealogists, no matter what their level of experience or expertise. And, I guess, their dogs.

Professional Genealogy is available from the publisher, Genealogical Publishing Co., at as . well as from Amazon at


Not available in Canada, even on Amazon…and the last time I contacted GP re shipping to Canada, they didn’t bother to respond…


This story is ironic to me as my dog ate my first edition–again only the cover so it has been usable, and used. The new edition has not been where he can get to it!!!


Ha, ha — my dog ate MY ProGen too (several years ago). Luckily it was just before the new edition came out. 🙂


Dogs must have a real taste for genealogy as my dog ALSO ate my ProGen. I used it in an almost cover-less state for several years before purchasing a digital version.


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