Some Comments about ProGen.

ProGenCyndi Ingles (of Cyndi’s List) and Mary Kathryn Kozy recently asked (via Facebook) Miriam Robbins and me to comment on whether they should take the ProGen Study Group classes.  Regular blog readers know that I enjoyed the experience and many of the class assignments precipitated blog postings. I decided to quote myself, with some minor editing for flow, what I posted on Cyndi’s page.

I highly recommend the program.

Why you should think twice about participating in ProGen:
1. Life gets in the way. You do need to prioritize getting the assignments done, on time. There will be times when you won’t (or don’ want to) but then you still have to do them.
2. If you are not committed to doing the program, don’t sign up. Sounds simple but you are cheating the cohort if you drop out.
3. If you are not planning on starting (or having a business) many of the assignments seem less interesting. A friend of mine who has no intention of starting her own business did not put much effort in those related to business inception.
4. The Coordinator can help or hinder the building of the community of the cohort. The Coordinator needs to have a “presence” and sheperd the class by checking in, following up and making sure folks are doing their assignments. (We had a great Coordinator—Teresa Scott)
5. Contrary to popular belief, the Mentor is not responsible to read your assignments and comment, only to attend and participate in the chats. (We had a terrific Mentor—Craig Scott.)

Why you should do it….
1. Gives you a discipline about what you know you should do anyway.
2. Builds/Adds to your genealogy community (individuals within our group are still asking for comments, and supporting each other in many ways.)
3. You will get out of it what you put into it. I always strove for a very good product to turn in. Sometimes, I accomplished my goal and sometimes I did not. But, there was nothing to gain by letting the assignment go until the last minute. I got a lot out of the program because I felt I put a lot into it.
4. You need to be open to the criticism of the group. While you may disagree with some of the comments, others will make a significant difference in how you see your work.
5. I enjoyed (most) the assignments.
6. The class definitely elevated the level of my genealogy work—perhaps substantially.
7. I feel much more confident in applying for certification.
8. The class and cohort members provided access to materials which support the certification process. (templates by example)
9. You will see different ways of accomplishing the same task. Then you can pick the one that you liked the best.

I am a “professional student.” I love the act of education. I think you both would be extremely successful in the class and bring the same kind of life to the group that we had in ours.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since my last posting: my lecturing is certainly ramping up this fall.  I got my first two all-day sessions (3 presentations each).  Some of the new speaking engagements are due to my friend Eric recommending me where he had other commitments.  Thanks, Eric, for the recommendation–big shoes to fill!  You can see my schedule on Genealogical Speakers Guild. I will have to pace myself in November! I am therefore building my resume of lecture topics.  Right now I am working on internet evaluation for quality of evidence, an overview of Ostfriesen  culture and society, unraveling family traditions, and the non-population censuses.  I am also reading a lot about Swedish agrarian reform in the late 1700s and into mid-1800s.  I am in the process of requesting the mental health records in Illinois on Dirk Bode.  That will be another blog posting.  I also have worked on my transcription (changed the document) and the KDP for certification.

7 comments on “Some Comments about ProGen.

  1. Janice says:

    I, too, found ProGen a wonderful learning experience. I met wonderful colleagues and learned much from their different backgrounds and research. It is a major commitment (18 months) but well worth the time!

  2. barbsnow says:

    I’m taking ProGen right now and think it is a great learning experience, but I’m also very grateful for meeting some wonderful genealogists from around the country. You must be committed to active participation to benefit, but if you can do that… I vote for doing it!

  3. Debra A. Hoffman says:

    ProGen is a great educational opportunity and I agreed with your comments in your post. When I took it, I also did not intend to have a business, but I reconsidered that decision and covering those lessons back then paid dividends after I decided to take clients. You never know what the future will bring!

    • jkmorelli says:

      Debra! I agree. In just the 18 months of the ProGen program I changed my business focus 3 times! I am now focusing more on lecturing and writing. I just had my first client in 8 months and really enjoyed it so maybe there is another change in my business future. Hope to see you at SLIG!

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