Program Description..

ProGen is a self-study program enhanced by peer-review of assignments based on chapters from Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards. This program employs an innovative method of collaborative learning focused on developing genealogical skills and business practices. Read more about the program in these areas:


The ProGen program is based on the book Professional Genealogy. Each month group members read and study one or two chapters.  Genealogy Standards is also frequently used. HOW TO PURCHASE

Live Video Chats

Study groups of about eight ProGen participants meet during the first week of every month for a live one-hour virtual meeting. During this on-line video meeting, the previous month's assignment is reviewed, assigned questions are discussed, and the group mentor provides industry insights.


Monthly assignments are based on the reading. The assignments vary and include both business related and genealogical writing related topics.

Monthly Time Commitment

Each session of the ProGen Study Program runs for fourteen months. Each month's time commitment varies, but plan on spending an average of twenty-five hours per month on the assignments and the peer feedback combined.


Study group members receive written feedback from peers for each assignment, and give feedback to peers for each assignment. Additionally, the group mentor may provide feedback on key assignments.

Completion Requirements

To complete, graduate and earn a Certificate of Completion from the ProGen Study Groups, each student must complete all assignments, peer feedback and live monthly discussion.


Hear From Alumni 

Wendy Rawson Sheppard
ProGen 38
Beverly, MA

Sara Butson
ProGen 43
Philadelphia, PA

ProGen Textbooks

Purchasing these textbooks using the above links to Amazon reduces the overall ProGen program cost through the Amazon affiliate program.

Study Schedule

One of the beneficial aspects of the ProGen Study Program is the joint focus on genealogical skill development and professional business issues. Monthly assignments include writing contracts, business plans, and client reports; creating research plans and locality guides; analyzing evidence, and constructing proof arguments.

Members learn both by completing their own assignments and by reviewing the work of their group members. Participants must complete all the assignments, including the business oriented assignments, even if they are not practicing professional genealogy as a business.

Below is an example Study Schedule; Click on the link for "Evidence Analysis" to review what one month's detailed assignment might look like.

14-Month Example Study Schedule

Unless otherwise indicated, study chapters come from Professional Genealogy PPS (2018 edition), edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills or other books as indicated.  The assignments are posted on the 1st day of each month and are due on the 25th of the month. Peer review feedback is due by the next chat day.

Completion of all assignments and feedback are required for graduation.

Reading Assignments Written Assignments
February Read ProGen Handbook & Feedback Assignment
Chapter 21 – Critiques & Reviews
& Feedback Assignment
March Chapter 14 – Research Procedures
Chapter 4, Genealogy Standards (# 76–80)
Locality Guide
April Chapters 5 & 7 – Ethics & Copyright
Chapter 2, Evidence Explained
Chapter 2 & Appendix A, Genealogy Standards



Chapter 13 – Problem Analyses & Research Plans
Chapter 16, Professional Genealogy I
Chapter 3, Genealogy Standards (# 9–36)
Transcript, Abstract & Research Plan
June Chapters 12 & 17 – Reasoning from Evidence & Lineage Applications
Chapter 1, Evidence Explained
Chapter 3, Genealogy Standards (# 35–50)
Evidence Analysis
July Chapter 18 – Research Reports Research Report

Chapters 19 & 23 – Journalism & Editing

Chapter 4, Genealogy Standards (# 74–80)

Research Report Revision
September Chapters 1, 2, & 9 – Professionalism, Educational Preparation, & Managing Records & Time
Chapter 1 & 6, Genealogy Standards
Education Plan & Management Systems Discussion
October Chapter 20 – Proof Arguments
Chapter 4, Genealogy Standards (# 57–64, 67)
Proof Argument
 November Chapters 3 & 4 – Certification & Accreditation, Careers Proof Argument Revision
 December Chapters 6 & 10 – Contracts & Fees Contract and Fee Analysis
January Chapters 15 & 16 – Forensic Specialization & Genetics for Genealogy
Chapter 3, Genealogy Standards (# 50–57)
DNA Assignment
February Chapters 8 & 11 – Business Structure & Marketing Business & Marketing Plan
March Chapters 22 & 24 – Family Histories & Books
Chapter 4, Genealogy Standards (# 72–73)
Family Narrative
April Chapters 25 & 26 – Teaching & Lecturing
Chapter 5, Genealogy Standards (# 81–88)
Family Narrative Revision
May Final Discussion Submit information
for certificates


ProGen Curriculum Overview

ProGen Alumni

Cecellia Rogers

    As of 2021, the process for application and enrollment into a ProGen study group has changed. Please review the “Program Description,” “Assignment Examples,” and “FAQs” website pages and the following information if you are interested in applying.


    • Participants who have the most success for themselves and their group have participated in at least one concentrated genealogical education program.
    • Experience in researching in offline repositories is beneficial.
    • Experience writing reports or narratives with citations is important.
    • Understanding of terminology such as primary and secondary information, original and derivative sources, and direct and indirect evidence is required.

    Application Process

    • New groups will be formed two or three times a year typically.
    • ProGen will no longer maintain a waiting list.
    • Applicants must complete the enrollment form below so ProGen can determine the applicant’s level of preparedness.
    • Not all applicants will be admitted to the program. Those that are not admitted will be asked to seek further education and experience to then reapply.
    • Applicants whose education and experience demonstrates readiness will be admitted.
    • When the new groups are ready to be formed, admitted applicants will be given a special code or URL and the information for open private registration.
    • Open private registration will be on a first come, first served basis.
    • The cost of the program will be announced with the open private registration and is typically about $100. Payment is due immediately during the enrollment process.

    Please complete and submit the application form below if you are ready to enroll in ProGen Study Groups.

    Application Form

    First Name

    Last Name




    Zip/Postal Code


    Phone Number

    Preferred Email Address

    Have you previously participated in a ProGen Group?
    Select one: yesno
    If yes, which group and mentor?

    Have you participated in a GenProof Group?
    Select one: yesno
    If yes, which group and mentor?

    Genealogical Experience

    Please answer the following questions about your genealogical experience.

    Have you conducted offline research in at least four separate repositories such as courthouses, state archives, genealogical libraries, or federal archives?
    Select one: yesno

    Have you written reports or detailed narratives of your research findings for yourself or others with documented source citations?
    Select one: yesno

    Do you understand terminology such as primary and secondary information, original and derivative sources, and direct and indirect evidence?
    Select one: yesno

    Have you completed a genealogy research course such as the NGS American Genealogy course (all 16 lessons), NGS Continuing Genealogical Studies (all 4 courses online), the Boston University (BU) Genealogical Research Program (online), the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (NIGS) certificate courses, or similar program.
    Select one: yesno
    NGS American GenealogyNGS American Genealogical StudiesBU Genealogical Research ProgramNIGS certificate
    Other (please enter the name of other courses)

    Have you attended a genealogical institute (such as Gen-Fed, IGHR, SLIG, or GRIP)?
    Select one: yesno

    Please describe what class(es) you have taken by the title, year and instructor.

    Any other significant genealogical or historical educational background? Describe.

    Do you read and study articles from scholarly journals such as the NGS Quarterly, The American Genealogist, The Genealogist, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record or The New England Historical and Genealogical Register.
    Select one: yesno

    Are you currently taking genealogy clients?
    Select one: yesno

    Will you commit to a minimum of 25 hours per month for ProGen assignments and peer review?
    Select one: yesno

    Barring any emergency situations, will you commit to complete ALL assignments and peer review and to do so ON TIME to the best of your ability to qualify for graduation?
    Select one: yesno

    Will you commit to working with your peers in a polite and professional manner regardless of personality differences?
    Select one: yesno

    Do you understand that missing assignments, unprofessional behavior, or incomplete peer review may result in dismissal from the program?
    Select one: yesno

    Each student will take turns being a discussion leader in the monthly zoom meetings. You will follow the scripted assignment discussion questions that prompts conversation. You should be comfortable speaking in front of the group (which is required of everyone) and managing time during the monthly discussions. Are you willing to play this role a few times during the program?
    Select one: yesno

    Do you understand that you must: a) Use a current version of Microsoft word that supports the .docx format and allows change tracking , and b) Have reliable access to the Internet in order to download assignments, upload your completed work, review your peers' assignments and join the live monthly video call?
    Select one: yesno

    ProGen Study groups start up two or three times a year, so you may wait several months before open registration occurs. Your application form submission here grants ProGen the right to include you on its email list to inform you of upcoming open registration periods as well as email communication thereafter unless you request to be removed from the email list.


    Who participates in the ProGen study groups?

    The ProGen Study Groups are made up of professional genealogists, individuals with excellent research skills working to become professional genealogists, and other serious researchers who want to do professional level research. While not all participants are currently taking clients or want to, each student is required to complete all the assignments, including the ones focusing on business practices as well as those targeting genealogical research skills and writing. Each member has unique experiences and skills that they bring to the group.


    What education is necessary prior to joining a ProGen Study Group?
    Because the ProGen Study Groups are based on peer-driven feedback, students in the groups are expected to have knowledge of genealogical research and terminology that is often only gained from formal education. Typically these types of educational experiences provide the most successful experiences for ProGen students prior to joining a group:
    • The Boston University (BU) Genealogical Principles Course and Certificate in Genealogical Research Course - DETAILS
    • NGS American Genealogy course (all 16 lessons) - DETAILS
    • NGS Continue Genealogical Studies (all 4 courses online) - DETAILS
    • The National Institute for Genealogical Studies (NIGS) certificate courses - DETAILS


    What does the ProGen Study Program cost?

    The ProGen study program is a cooperative learning program run entirely by volunteers. Both the mentors and the group coordinators volunteer their time to help others learn professional genealogy skills. There is a fee of approximately $100 to cover the expenses of managing the program, including the Basecamp project management website, the ProGen Study Groups website(s) and GoToMeeting seats for live video discussions.


    How often do study groups start?

    Groups are formed two to three times a year. More than one group can launch at a time. Each of the ProGen study groups has about twenty to thirty people. After you apply to the program you will either be approved to enroll or asked to obtain more education and experience. If you are approved, you then will be given a code or special URL to enroll during open private registration. That open registration will be on a first come, first served basis. 





    What kind of feedback am I expected to give to my group members on their assignments?

    When you review the work of your group members each month you are expected to provide constructive feedback on how to improve the work and on specifics of what makes the work good. Just providing feedback that says “good job” doesn’t help anyone learn what was good, what was bad, and where to try to improve. You should provide at least three specific comments or suggestions, and for some projects there will be additional detailed feedback instructions.


    Would the ProGen Study Program help me prepare for certification (CG®) through the Board for Certification or for accreditation (AG®) through The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists?

    Applicants applying for certification through BCG pass at a 75% rate compared with those with no formal education who pass at a 15% rate. Those applying for certification through BCG generally have broad experience with both research and educational programs. The ProGen program contains assignments similar to the BCG requirements that may help applicants gain experience in the skills necessary to prepare a successful portfolio. Many participants use the ProGen Study Groups as a part of their preparation for applying to BCG. ProGen Study Groups have been shown to improve an applicant’s success rate for certification as shown in the statistics on this page:

    Study group members that plan to apply to BCG need to be careful NOT to use any families or projects they would like to include in their BCG portfolio for their ProGen Study Group assignments because the elements in a submitted BCG portfolio cannot have been reviewed by anyone including ProGen group members. While we practice the skills necessary in ProGen, your BCG portfolio must be entirely your own work.

    Like those applying for BCG certification, those applying for accreditation through ICAPGen would likely also benefit from the ProGen Study Groups. The study program contains assignments and elements that are similar to the ICAPGen level submissions and tests.



    How many people are in each study group?

    Each of the ProGen study groups has about twenty to thirty people. They are divided into three groups of seven to ten members to meet in online discussions and to review each other’s work on a monthly basis. 

    How do I join a ProGen study group?

    Read the participation requirements on the Program pages and go through the readiness checklist. If you determine that you are prepared to participate in a professional genealogy study group, then complete the online application form.


    How long do I have to complete each assignment?

    Generally, the assignments are posted on the first day of each month and then due on the 25th of the month. It is important to meet this deadline to give your colleagues time to review your assignment before the next group discussion. Then it is typical to give feedback to your peers between the 25th of the month and the first week of the following month on the day when your discussion day group meets via live video chat.

    How long does it take to complete the assignments?

    The assignments vary in complexity and the time required will depend on the experience level of each individual. Previous participants have reported taking between four and twenty hours to complete assignments. Some assignments, such as evidence analysis, research reports, business plans, and proof arguments are complex and take longer to complete. After you complete assignments, then it may take another two to eight hours to provide peer feedback.

    What do I need to do to earn a Certificate of Completion?

    In order to earn a Certificate of Completion in the ProGen Study Groups Program you need to complete ALL of the practical assignments. Participation in monthly discussions and reviewing the work of group members is also required.


    Where can I get the required books?

    These books are available from If you buy them through the links below, it helps support the low cost of the ProGen Study Groups Program:

    • Professional Genealogy (required)
    • Genealogy Standards (required)
    • Evidence Explained (required)
    • Professional Genealogy 1st Edition (strongly recommended)

    Is Internet access required?

    Yes! You will need reliable internet service often to access and download homework assignments, upload your completed assignment, give and receive peer feedback and join the monthly video call.

    Do I need any software?

    Yes, the program requires that you be able to complete your assignments in a recent version of Microsoft Word that allows the use of the .docx format and change tracking. There may be an assignment or two that requires PDF but if you cannot save your document as a PDF, then it is fine to submit it in Microsoft Word. 

    What happens at the ProGen events?

    Study group members get together at national and regional genealogical conferences and institutes to network with colleagues. Sometimes we meet for dinner, and other times we gather and visit. We have ProGen ribbons so that it is easy to identify other group members.

    If I want to just research for myself, and not take clients, is a ProGen study group still beneficial?

    Yes! Many chapters and assignments in the program focus on research and writing skills, both of which are critical to enhancing your own research.

    What is the role of a ProGen study group mentor?

    A mentor is a CG or AG who attends each monthly discussion, answers questions and guides the group. The mentor may provide feedback on assignments to the group as a whole, or to individuals when s/he has time.

    What is the role of a ProGen study group coordinator?

    A coordinator is a ProGen alumni who wants to give back. S/he guides group participants for engagement and completion of assignments and tracks all assignment to completion, peer feedback and discussion engagement.

    What is the role of a student discussion leader?

    Each student enrolled in a ProGen Study Group will take a turn as a Discussion Leader. The Discussion Leader moderates monthly discussions in a his/her own group of approximately eight study group members by asking the predetermined questions on the monthly calls and keeping the conversation moving.

    ProGen Alumni