Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA)

” When you are researching your ancestors there may be times when you need to use the services of a professional genealogist or a family history researcher. So how do you know where to find a good quality researcher? The best way is by using a Member of AGRA (Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives) for research in England and Wales”

Having started my business in October 2018, I decided in November 2018 that I was ready to submit my application for AGRA Associate. As is the usual process, I was invited to attend an interview with the Board of Assessors on 22nd March 2019. It seemed such a long time to wait but it came round so quickly!

As part of the interview process I was required to prepare a drop-down pedigree tree from a number of documents AGRA provided one week prior to the interview which would then be discussed at the interview. As ever I was drawn into the family from the documents provided and really enjoyed “teasing” out the necessary information to complete the required pedigree tree. Whilst no other research was required, as any genealogist will appreciate, I could not resist a little research deeper into the family. A very interesting family, on the one hand seemingly affluent but those fortunes did not favour all members of the family – perhaps it was his marriage to a servant which was his financial “downfall”?!

Anyway, pedigree tree drawn, documents thoroughly “got to grips with” I nervously attended the interview. A panel of three lovely ladies awaited me. Pedigree tree approved and onto the documents themselves. They could clearly tell I was nervous the brain just wouldn’t find the words I wanted and I was somewhat thrown by the wording of some of the questions but through discussion we got the answer they were seeking! It certainly turned out not the be the “interrogation” I had dreamed in my head it would be, non of the particularly technical questions I had imagined there would be about parish registers, census records and civil registration.

In the end I thankfully came out feeling it had gone well and was hopeful my application would be successful. I would find out by the end of the next week…….thankfully I only had 4 days to wait. Into my inbox pops an email from the Chair of the Board of Assessors. I nervously open it…. Yes my application had been accepted and I was now (subject to payment of the joining fee) an AGRA Associate.

You may be wondering why it has taken me until now to write this post. Well, yesterday I (nervously) attended my first official event as an AGRA Associate – the AGRA study day and AGM. It was lovely to finally meet members and fellow associates, a very friendly and welcoming group of like-minded people. It made me truly feel part of this great professional organisation and it always inspires and encourages when you meet so many people happy to help and support you on your career path.

AGRA not only seeks to improve and promote professional standards in genealogy through education and experience, but promotes continued professional development but provides extremely valuable networking groups. The majority of genealogists and family researchers are self employed and anyone who is self employed in any walk of life knows how isolating it can be with no daily work colleagues to just “have that coffee break” with or “grab sandwich at lunch” with. Networking groups help overcome this by bringing like-minded people together to share knowledge, practices and build strong business relationships – you never know when you may need to collaborate on a research project!.

My first networking event takes place next Friday and I am looking forward to meeting more AGRA colleagues and making new connections.

If you would like to know more about AGRA visit there website

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