My Genealogical Education Plan

Mary Ann's Genealogical Education PlanI'm participating in ProGen32, a peer study group "to encourage professional and aspiring genealogists to put into practice the principles found in Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills." 1Angela Packer McGhie, ProGen ( : accessed 29 Oct 2016), "ProGen Study Groups." Our first assignment was to prepare an education plan, and I thought I would post mine here.


As a longtime amateur genealogist, I have only begun within the past 2-3 years to learn and implement professional standards in my research. Although I am not sure whether I want to pursue certification, I do want my research to be at the professional level whether it is for me personally or for hire. For the next couple of years I will be limited by finances in a way that is not likely to allow me to attend national conferences, so my education plan needs to focus on ways to attain similar quality offerings at a reduced price. Luckily there are many online options of similar quality to (or actual recordings of) the national conferences, in addition to offerings like ProGen.

Areas where I am making good progress include improving my source analysis skills using Evidentia, using alternate sources such as manuscript collections and property records, and making sure my research is reasonably exhaustive to the extent that I understand the meaning of "reasonably exhaustive".

Areas where I need improvement are:

  • Implementing methodology that is efficient and thorough. I struggle with using research logs effectively; I tend to get bogged down in how much detail to record and end up spending as much time logging my research as I do actually researching.
  • I would like to learn more about when enough is enough with regard to reasonably exhaustive research.
  • I have skills gaps in working with land records, particularly plotting land from deeds.
  • I would like to improve my paleography skills, especially for French records, but resources for French paleography are not easy to find online so I will have to keep searching for educational opportunities in that area.
  • I would like to learn more advanced techniques to use DNA to solve genealogical problems.

Education Plan

Legend for entries - Format: Activity (Topic) - Expected completion date, Reference URL


Since ProGen is comprised of peer study groups, my group gave me suggestions for resources that I might find useful in my education. The following were either suggested or discovered through other resources posted in response to my plan. I plan to use these as reference materials or work them into my education plan as relevant:








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  1. Great list! I have watched some of those webinars, but I will add others to my "need to watch" list. I'm taking BU right now, but plan on starting ProGen in the spring.

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