Getting the Most Out of Your Memberships: APG

This is the next blog post in my series on getting the most out of your memberships by taking personal responsibility. To read the original post, click here.

The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) focuses on supporting genealogists who are working at a professional level, whether that work is through taking client research projects, as a genealogical educator, as a genealogy librarian, as an editor/proofreader, as a webmaster, and so on. The APG also supports those striving to become professional genealogists. From their website, “APG is an independent organization whose principal purpose is to support professional genealogists in all phases of their work: from the amateur genealogist wishing to turn knowledge and skill into a vocation, to the experienced professional seeking to exchange ideas with colleagues and to upgrade the profession as a whole. The association also seeks to protect the interest of those engaging in the services of the professional.”

If you don’t consider yourself to be a professional, to be working at a professional level (perhaps you are only a hobbyist), then this society may not be right for you. However, if you are, then there are many benefits to being a member of APG. If you are already a member and find yourself saying “I don’t know what I get out of this membership” then double check this list of the APG benefits from their website, somewhat edited for space (to see the full list, visit the website):

  1. APG Quarterly
    • APG Quarterly, a journal for those interested in professionalism:
    • Articles on communicating with clients, preparing lineage society applications, training research assistants, business record keeping, and home office tax concerns
    • Articles in associated fields (preparing lecture slides, teaching family history to children, preparing manuscripts for printing)
    • Back issues (2004-2011) available for download in pdf format, in the “Members Only Area of the website (back issues beyond 2004 are still being scanned)
  2. APG Directory of Members
    • Directory, an online publication, available worldwide to members, libraries, societies, and consumers, with:
    • members’ biographies, services, research and geographic specialties
    • various search criteria to assist readers in finding researchers
  3. Activities at National Conferences
    • Conferences
    • APG-sponsored lectures on professional ethics, client billing, business software, vital records access, and other timely topics
    • Roundtable discussions for members, like time management, advertising, taxes, certification/accreditation
    • Luncheons and receptions where members meet and network with colleagues
  4. Discounts for APG Members
    • Available in the Members Only Area
      • Boston University Online Certificate Program for Genealogical Research
      • The Genealogical Books Super Store
      • JSTORE JPASS
      • Genealogy Today
      • Heritage Books
      • Legacy Family Tree
      • Print My Genealogy
      • Progeny Genealogy
      • Salt Lake Plaza Hotel
      • and many others
  5. Educational Brochures
  6. Members-Only Mailing List
    • Available in the Members Only Area
        • APG members may subscribe to the APG Members-Only List. This unmoderated mailing list is used to discuss topics of interest to the members of the Association of Professional Genealogists.
  7. Professional Development
    • Recordings of past Webinars
    • Sample Contracts, Forms, Reports
  8. Professional Review of client complaints
    • Resolving differences. If you have a question or complaint, tell the professional first. Misunderstandings can occur on either side but can usually be resolved quickly. In the unlikely event a difficulty between you and your genealogist is not resolved, notify the organization or person who referred the professional to you and tell your genealogist you have done so.
    • APG takes very seriously its responsibility to serve both the genealogical client community and its diverse membership. If a complaint involving a member is alleged to violate APG’s Code of Ethics, the Professional Review Committee (PRC) shall review and investigate the complaint if it meets criteria for such action. Please see Code of Ethics and Professional Practices.
    • The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) offers an arbitration service when a certified professional is involved. See http://www.bcgcertification.org/.

There are eight major headings here, many of them with sub-headings. Those are a lot of benefits targeted for the professional genealogist. The discounts to various websites alone could make your membership worthwhile, IF you choose to put in a small amount of effort. One of the best benefits, in my opinion, is the members-only mailing list. This is a VERY active mailing list where you can post about a particular issue or question and get a lot of advice from people across the globe. You will undoubtedly get an answer to your questions. It is so accessible, it is like having your own mentor(s) in your back pocket!

Of course, as is the theme of this series of blog posts, you have to put some energy and effort into your membership to get the most out of it. In order for the directory to work for you, you have to create your profile and keep it updated. To learn from the articles and webinars you have to read and attend. To get the most of the networking opportunities, you have to attend the annual conferences.

If you are a member of APG and find yourself saying “I don’t know what I get out of that membership” I encourage you to take a realistic view of what you’ve been putting into it. There are a lot of fantastic benefits to be had, given a little time and energy.

**Of course these statements may not reflect everyone’s experience. If you have had a different experience and/or a legitimate complaint, PLEASE take it up with the proper direct channels for that organization. I’m sure they want to know their members’ views and to try to make it right. This blog is only expressing my personal opinions and is not the place to vent your frustrations with a given society or organization.

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