Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Leveling Up Chat with Crista Cowan and the Virtual Genealogical Association

I've been writing a column now for the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly for the last couple of years and I've thoroughly enjoyed researching and studying some new topics for the articles.  Last year I did a full year series on a study we did about the perceptions people have about professional genealogists.  The study had some super surprising results--basically that 2/3 of people who hire professionals are not happy with the results, and combined with the fact that most people don't trust professionals to hire them in the first place, we're really only effectively serving 7% of the market.  There's lots of room for growth and improvement, starting with communicating the value of a professional and making sure the researcher sets expectations correctly so that clients are happy. I was honored to speak about the study as the Keynote for the APG Professional Management Conference in 2018, to give presentations to the ICAPGEN and APG boards and to present it for a Colloquium discussion at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy.  I hope it has sparked some new movement in the genealogy industry. 

The latest thing I've been working on though is some articles on the Dunning Kruger effect and how it affects the genealogy community.  They will be published in the upcoming issues of APGQ for 2019.  I'm really excited to get this conversation started and see what we can do to change things up a bit.

Along with that, last night my dear friend Crista Cowan and I presented a webinar for the Virtual Genealogical Association entitled "Leveling Up in the Game of Genealogy"  We've made it available for everyone.  It was a great discussion and as always I loved hanging out with Crista.  I'm sure it will inspire you to be a better genealogist as much as it did for me.

You can see the show notes on Crista's website at

Lecture Summary: Lots of people approach family history like a video game-collecting the most number of ancestors or chasing the shaky leaves. In genealogy, just like in a video game, or in life for that matter, you don’t know what you don’t know. You could be playing along for years before you realize that there are power-ups and secret passageways in the game that can take you to the next level. In this session, attendees will learn about typical light-bulb moments and how to get to the “Did you know this was possible” stage faster. They will then be given a walk through on how to advance through the levels of the game of genealogy.

Attendees will be introduced to the Genealogical Maturity Model and the new concept of a continuum of genealogical proficiency. They will also be introduced to the high quality resources available for advancing their own skills.

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