Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.
A professional genealogist is one who accepts pay for doing genealogical research for others. A degree is not required to become a professional genealogist, although degree programs in genealogy and family history are now being offered by some universities and establishing credentials is important. Many professional genealogists become certified or accredited in a particular area of research. Professional genealogists subscribe to a code of ethics and general practices, and many belong to one or more professional genealogical associations.
Those interested in hiring a professional genealogist should exercise the same caution as they would in hiring any professional, be it doctor, lawyer, or plumber. For more information on hiring a professional researcher, see the Genealogy Today article, "When, Why and How to Hire a Professional Genealogist".