Something For Nothing

As I was perusing some of the new genealogy blog posts this morning, I came across one by Harold Henderson, author of Midwestern Microhistory, entitled “The state of play in genealogy.”

In his post, Harold discusses an article by Tom Jones written in the fall of 2007, entitled Post-secondary Study of Genealogy: Curriculum and Its Contexts, in which Jones “proposes what a professional genealogy curriculum could look like, and needs to look like in order to remedy the condition of the field” (a link to the Tom Jones article is provided in Harold’s post). To quote Harold: ouch.

Harold goes on to mention that for a free genealogy education, you can’t beat the Transitional Genealogists Forum. I’ll agree that the TGF list is outstanding, and I do read most of the posts. There is a great wealth of knowledge on that list, and it’s a fabulous resource, particularly for folks considering genealogy as a profession.

However… I would like to point out that for a top-notch, free genealogy education, you also can’t beat the ProGen Study Group. You could say that I’m a bit biased towards ProGen, seeing as how I’m a recent graduate, and I’m currently on deck to be a coordinator for one of the new groups starting on September 1st.

What is ProGen? From the web site:

The ProGen Study Groups are organized to encourage professional and aspiring genealogists to put into practice the principles found in Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills. This program employs an innovative method of collaborative learning focused on developing genealogical research skills and business practices.

ProGen is an 18-month program which requires a commitment to 1) read the chapters, 2) do the assignments, 3) provide feedback, and 4) participate in monthly online chats. But the beauty of ProGen is definitely in the feedback from colleagues… at least, in my opinion. Our CG mentor, Stefani Evans, as well as our peer group members, were wonderful and had insight into things that I’d never considered. I am happy to say that I am not the same genealogist I was when I began the program.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s free? Ok, a small donation is requested to help maintain the web site. And you do need the book. But other than that, it’s free. You can’t beat that with a stick, baby.

To join the ProGen Study Group waiting list, visit

You can find more suggestions on where to find genealogy education opportunities (though not necessarily free ones) on Angela McGhie’s blog, Adventures in Genealogy Education. Angela is the administrator of the ProGen Study Groups.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O’Neal

Elizabeth is a genealogy and family history researcher, writer, and consultant. Adores good grammar and spelling, and believes the Oxford Comma is just misunderstood. Thrives on large quantities of coffee. One daughter, two rescued hounds, and a plethora of missing ancestors keep her on her toes.


  1. Thanks for letting me know that Angela started her blog.

    I have to agree – ProGen is one of the best things I ever did to further my genealogical education. It opened up a whole different area of genealogy to me.

  2. Ok, I’ve been thinking about joining a ProGen group for a couple of years now. You talked me into it. I didn’t get into one of the groups starting in Sept., but I’m on the waiting list.

  3. Debbie, I’m so glad you decided to take the plunge into ProGen! I think you’ll really enjoy it. I still hear from my ProGen group-mates, and we’re scheduled for a “reunion chat” next month. It’s really hard to let go once the course is over!

    Sheri, your educational pursuits are my inspiration! Will I see you at No. Council next month?


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