Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.
A professional association is a membership organization focused on enhancing the image and practice of professional practitioners within a given field. A positive public image is in the best interests of all those practicing in a particular field; thus, professional associations focus largely on standards, ethics, and training. Professional associations sponsor professional conferences and journals, and are generally regarded as a neutral body that functions in the public interest. Membership in a well known and highly regarded professional association may add to a practitioner's credibility.
Within the genealogy community, professional associations exist among professional researchers, writers, and instructors. Genealogy societies, in particular, national genealogy societies such as the National Genealogical Society and the Federation of Genealogical Societies in the U. S. function very much like professional associations and provide many services and publications to further the aims of genealogy research.