FamilySearch Wiki:WikiProject Professional Genealogists/Purpose
Why this project?
In early 2008, Don Anderson, Director of the Patron Services Division at FamilySearch, (the division that developed the wiki, still supports it, and contributes half of its content) directed me to invite professional genealogists to the wiki to promote their services there.
Two objectives drove this decision. First, we wanted professional researchers to add content to the wiki, and one way to incentivate them to discover how easy it is to edit wiki pages would be to invite them to create pages that would help patrons find them.
The second objective was to satisfy our patrons' need to find professional help. Many FamilySearch patrons need professional help solving tough research problems, and they often ask us who to hire. Today there's no clear answer: APG, BCG, ICAPGen, various international organizations, various members-only Websites, a constellation of research firms and mom-and-pop shops, and a veritable universe of individual freelancers. The choices are myriad, and this is confusing to patrons. They would like to have one place that will show them everyone they could hire, all on a level playing field.
Alternatives in the market
Many directories of professional genealogists exist, but most charge fees for a listing, so none of them really approach comprehensiveness. A directory on FamilySearch Wiki, where researchers can write their own listings for free, has the potential of becoming comprehensive. To patrons who need professional help, the wiki could become the best place to find a complete listing of professional researchers.
Isn't this awfully commercial for a wiki?
Some folks worry about linking wiki pages to professional genealogists. But the wiki already has thousands of links to commercial offerings -- most of them digitized records available for a fee. Professional genealogists provide the same kinds of information these fee-based digital record sites do -- they just do it in a more customized way. If genealogy were the food industry, the big companies that offer digital records might be likened to a McDonald's or a Stauffer's, whereas the professional researcher might be a mom-and-pop restaurant. If the wiki's Ohio Vital Records page can link to a Website of a company offering digitized records for a fee, why should it not also link to Websites of professionals offering to find similar records for a fee?
Your input is welcome on the Talk page
As FamilySearch embarks on this project, we welcome your input as to how we might do it best. Please leave your comments on the Talk page, thanks for sharing, and remember to "sign" your comments with four tildes (~~~~) ! RitcheyMT 12:10, 19 July 2012 (UTC)