One of the challenges genealogists in the Netherlands have, is the lack of education. There are only a couple of books that explain how to research family history in the Netherlands, mainly focused on sources like civil records, population registers, court records and notarial records. Specific literature about methodology does not exist. Many organizations – like archives, libraries and historical societies – offer courses for beginners. Seasoned genealogists have a hard time finding literature, courses or other ways to develop their skills. Let alone those who intend to become a genealogy professional.
When I started my business in 2015, I was in a similar position. For years I had been the teacher. I gave dozens of lectures in the Netherlands and Belgium and hundreds of genealogists attended my courses. Now that genealogy had become my new profession, I wanted to be the student. I was eager to learn new things, for example about (proper) source citations, document analysis or client reports.
I looked around on the internet and compared several programs: Strathclyde and Dundee in Scotland, Boston University and Brigham Young in the United States and the National Institute for Genealogical Studies in Canada. At that moment I was still working for a boss for three days in a week. I needed a program that gave me the opportunity to take classes in my own pace. In the end, I chose the National Institute. As a professional genealogist in the Netherlands I was not into the country-specific programs. I started with the Professional Development Certificate. Four years and forty courses later, I graduated in June 2019. The first European genealogist to finish this program. I liked the courses of the National Institute so much that I signed up for the English Records Certificate. I am still working on those courses and hope to finish some time this year.
Next step was to purchase some books. Professional Genealogy, Evidence Explained, Mastering Genealogical Proof, Mastering Genealogical Documentation and The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy were the first on my list. Many followed. I also took a subscription to Legacy Family Tree Webinars and watched several of their (instructional) webinars.
The Association of Professional Genealogists – more about professional affiliations in a future article – expects its members spend at least 12 hours per YEAR on Continuing Professional Education. That is really not too much: a conference, some books and a few webinars already require a multiple of 12 hours. At the moment – taking the National Institute courses – I spend about at least 12 hours per MONTH on continuing education.
Education is not only a must for professionals, every serious genealogist should be willing to expand his or her knowledge and to follow discussions, trends and developments. Good news for Dutch genealogists: later this month a new organization for genealogical education in the Netherlands will open its (virtual) doors. Stay tuned!
Today’s giveaway will help you expand your genealogy knowledge! It is a… $20 discount on an annual subscription for Genealogy Guys Learn. This wonderful website offers genealogy courses, videos and webinars on a beginner, intermediate and expert level.
The question to win this discount is: What is the name of the first certificate I earned from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies? Send me the answer in an email or through a private message on social media. Do not be afraid: it is all for free (it is a party after all!) and there are no strings attached.
Will you do me a favor and share my posts on social media so that more people get the chance to enter my contests? The more the merrier!