03 June 2013

Skill Sets - Are You The Sharpest Knife In The Drawer?

Even if you are not looking to become a professional genealogist and take on clients, you should always strive to be the best genealogist you can possibly be.  The most important factor in this quest to be the best is EDUCATION.

Attending one of the 8 Institutes that happen almost year round is the best bet for your money.

SLIG - Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy is held every Januaryat the Radisson Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Forensic Genealogy Institute -  Held in April in Dallas, Texas.  This is a  newcomer to the institute scene and it is put on by the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy.

IGHR - Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research is held in June  at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

MAAGI - Midwestern African American Genealogy Institute is held in June at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis, Missouri

NIGR - National Institute of Genealogy is held in July at the National Archives in Washington, DC

GRIP - Genealogy Institute of Pittsburgh is held in July in at LaRoche College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The British Institute - Held in October at the Radisson Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.

RIGS Alliance - Regional In-Depth Genealogical Studies Alliance is held in October at the National Archives in Fort Worth, Texas

Here are some DO's and DON'T's

DO read blogs and articles by the pros who share some of their pearls of wisdom, their triumphs and yes, even their failures.  Here are just a few:

Kathleen Brandt - a3Genealogy
Michael Hait -  Planting The Seeds
Debbie Parker Wayne - Deb's Delvings In Genealogy
Thomas MacEntee - High-Definition Genealogy
Board for Certification of Genealogists - Springboard
Cathi Desmarais - Stone House Historical Research
Judy Russell - The Legal Genealogist
ICAPGEN - Their Blog

For more blogs by professionals, take a look at the list of over 100 at Geneabloggers

Here are a few different ways to sharpen different skills

DO hone your powers of observation with a weekly photo challenge contest. Colleen Fitzpatrick  has a  photo each and every Sunday over at her site - Forensic Genealogy  Weekly Photo Quiz.

DO visit Dae Powell over at Shoestring Genealogy.  He has several different online weekly chats happening every week.

DON'T quit your day job thinking that you'll  become rich and famous overnight.  Not. Going. To. Happen.

DO take part in one of the NGSQ Article Discussion Groups.  There are currently 6 different groups that meet online once a month January through November to discuss an article from the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. Please send an email to me if you would like to join a group   sherifenley at gmail dot com.

DO take the ProGen  study course. Invaluable to any genealogist, especially those wanting to start a business.  I was a group leader and a member of the very first ProGen group.  Never in our wildest dreams did we think it would be as successful as it is today.  ProGen 20 is the latest group!

DO become a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

DON'T feel pressured to take on clients before you feel comfortable doing so.

DO learn how to be your own boss.  It's not as easy as you may think.

DO consider becoming certified through BCG or accredited through ICAPGEN.


  1. I love this great overview of "gettin' schooled." Attending GRIP was a real game-changer from my perspective, and I am sure each Institute offers a similar outstanding program.

    If I could add one more skill to hone it might be: Get to know the other knives in the drawer. Each one has a specialty and together we can accomplish a great deal.

  2. I couldn't have said it any better than Denise; so I second her remarks!

  3. I'm honored you included the a3Genealogy blog!

  4. I'm honored you included the a3Genealogy blog!