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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Meet AGI: new name for Ireland's accrediting body for genealogists

http://accreditedgenealogists.ie/After almost 30 years as the accrediting body for genealogists in Ireland, APGI, the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland, has adopted a new name: Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI).

As Accredited Genealogists Ireland, the Association will continue to set and promote high standards for those engaged professionally in genealogy while safeguarding the interests of clients.

Founded in Belfast in 1986, the Association has always been an accrediting body for genealogists throughout the island of Ireland.

Accreditation from the Association is controlled by an independent Board of Assessors and each applicant is required to demonstrate to a high standard their ability, knowledge and practical experience in Irish genealogy. In addition, each member is bound by the Association's Code of Practice.

APGI has always kept abreast of changes in the world of genealogy. In 2012 it introduced a new category of APGI Affiliate. This is to assist reputable genealogists in the early stages of their transition to professional research to prepare for application for accreditation. Through mentoring and attending APGI Continuing Professional Development events, a number of Affiliates have progressed to membership.

The decision to change the Association's name was made at an Extraordinary General Meeting
in Dublin last week attended by many of the group's Members, Fellows and Affiliates.
In addition to providing top-quality genealogy research to countless individual clients over the years, members of the Association have written for Irish and international print media and appeared on, and undertaken the research for, radio and TV shows. In particular, they have provided much of the raw material documenting the ancestry of celebrities who have appeared on the Irish, British and US versions of Who Do You Think You Are?, appearing alongside such people as Jeremy Irons, Graham Norton and Julie Walters. On RTE's Genealogy Roadshow, they helped members of the public to verify family stories: checking out claims of an ancestor in the Rising; a family relationship to Charlie Chaplin; and talk of a relative with a ticket for the maiden voyage of the ill-fated Titanic.

Other shows include the RTE IFTA nominated series Dead Money, about lost fortunes being restored to families, and The Shelbourne, a five-episode series following the daily life of Ireland's grandest hotel which featured Helen Kelly in her role as the hotel's Genealogy Butler.

Announcing the decision to change APGI's name to AGI, President Steven Smyrl, said: "Beyond its functions of accrediting and regulating, APGI has made many positive contributions over the past 30 years to the development of genealogy in Ireland, particularly through championing the needs of all types of record users, lobbying state-run archives and offices, and by supporting the efforts of the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO).

"Under its new name of Accredited Genealogists Ireland, the Association will continue its vital role in all areas of genealogy across the island and internationally."

The Association's website has been renamed AccreditedGenealogists.ie.

NOTE: The above press release was written by Accredited Genealogists Ireland, and I have to say I'm pleased the Association has finally taken this step. For too long there's been a lack of clarity and probably a good bit of freeloading resulting from confusion about the old name and acronym. It wasn't only consumers who failed to recognise the distinction between a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI) and a member of the Association of the Professional Genealogists (APG).

APG is a perfectly reputable organisation set up in Utah in 1979. Anyone can join provided they agree to the organisation's code of ethics. There is no educational criterion for membership nor any requirement to prove genealogical experience or know-how. Anyone who pays the membership fee can join. I could join it today if I stumped up the annual fee ($45/ $100)... and I'm not a professional genealogist.

I'm not knocking APG. Professional bodies/membership societies play an important role in any industry. But there is a big difference between paying a fee to become a member of APG and having to earn accreditation through peer-review of your work standards as required by APGI/AGI. Other important criteria for membership of APGI/AGI include a requirement that the applicant is not employed at any full time occupation other than that of a professional genealogist, and he/she must be resident in Ireland.

Hopefully, the change of name to Accredited Genealogists Ireland draws sufficient attention to the high standard achieved by the Association's members, and makes their accredited status clearer.