Certified Genealogists: By the Numbers

statisticsI thought it would be interesting to crunch some numbers related to the “density” of those individuals who hold the Certified Genealogist credential by state.

If you decide you are interested in sharing this post, please do not copy the data, the bullets or the conclusions but rather link to this site. You are welcome to make your own observations and I would enjoy knowing what you think.

How I gathered the data:

  1. I took a count of all Certified Genealogists (CG) on the website of the Board for Certification of Genealogists® (BCG).[1] I realize that some CGs elect to not post their information on the site which would warp the numbers downward. Should I get the  numbers I will correct and repost.
  2. I used the population numbers for the states from the 2010 census. [2]
  3. To make the results more understandable I based the numbers on 1M people of  the state’s population . To “read” the density numbers and using Delaware as an example, 7.796 means there are 7.8 CGs (rounded) for each 1,000,000 people in the state of Delaware in 2010.

Here are some interesting fun facts:

  1. Eight states have no listed Certified Genealogists on the BCG website: Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
  2. The states with the most CGs are California & Virginia (19 each), Utah (18), Massachusetts & New York (10 each).
  3. The five states that have the highest density of CGs per 1M people are:
  • Delaware                7.796
  • Utah                        6.513
  • DC                           4.986
  • New Hampshire   3.033
  • Maine                     3.011
    I thought it interesting that the “densest” state (Delaware) is ~2.5x more dense than the 5th. That is a big gap. It is no surprise to me that Utah and DC are as dense as they are. Obviously lower populated states have a bit of an advantage here.
  1. The five states that have the lowest density of CGs per 100,000 population and have at least 1 CG are:
  • Washington         0.149
  • Michigan              0.202
  • Louisiana             0.221
  • Oklahoma            0.267
  • Texas                    0.318
    Again I thought it interesting that the 5th least dense state (TX) is ~2x more dense than the lowest state (WA).
  1. Of course, I am very interested in the state of Washington as we recently “lost” a CG to Utah (50%). WA has the lowest density number of all states recording a CG—WA would have to increase its numbers of CGs to 51 to equal Delaware, the densest state! Washington would have to increase its number of CGs to 7 just to get to average!
  2. The average number of CGs per 50 states + DC is 4.22 CGs per state.
  3. The average density of CGs per all 50 states + DC is 1.08, or about 1 CG per 1M people.
  4. Colorado is most “average” of all the states at .99 per 1 M people.

Hope you thought this was interesting! I did.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting: submitted an article to the Family History Writing contest; submitted my Case Study from my portfolio to NGSQ (it’s now out for peer review); and submitted lecture proposals to the Northwest Genealogical and to APC/Professional Management Conference for 2017. But most importantly, I attended (and had a very fun time) at the rehearsal dinner, the wedding and the dinner of my daughter to Michael Shannon in Boston! The bride was gorgeous. So much fun!

Note: Certified Genealogist is a registered trademark and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists ®, used under license by Board certificants who meet competency standards.

[1] US Government, Census Office, “Population Distribution and Change, 2000 to 2010,” (http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-01.pdf : accessed 19 December 2016) 2.

[2] Board for Certification of Genealogists, “Find a Genealogist,” (http://www.bcgcertification.org/associates/index.php : accessed 19 December 2016). I inserted the code for each state and counted the numbers of certified individuals listed.


5 comments on “Certified Genealogists: By the Numbers

  1. Thank you for posting this, Jill. Our field is relatively new and evolving. Though beyond the scope of your original intent, I’m especially interested in learning how many are either “on the clock” or aspiring to become certified, as these numbers may influence how we meet the needs of our ever-evolving society memberships.

    • Jill Morelli says:

      The numbers of those OTC or IL (In Limbo–between OTC and hearing from BCG) are not available publicly, and so I am not able to add those to the assessment.

      I am thinking about what we in WA (and other states) can do to improve the numbers. I know of many people who have approached me when I was “on the clock” about the process, but were reluctant to apply. I still think there is this “mystery” about certification–you have to be super good or you have to have had hundreds of clients or only the top tier of genealogists can even apply, much less be granted a “membership to the club.” I would love to brainstorm ideas about how to change that sense of “elitism”. I think there are ways to change the culture. I wonder if some of it is because only a few people talk about becoming certified at national conferences. There is no “grassroots” initiatives to de-mystify the process–just “family traditions”.

      Thanks for letting me wax on. Have a happy holiday!! Jill

      That statement is not meant to imply that BCG should change their standards. Those standards set a high bar and they should stay there.

      Architects view obtaining their license differently. They view it as a passage from internship, and an external ramification of their skill set. Does everyone get licensed-no, but a good percentage do. Is it a special club–no; but it is a celebratory event. the whole “feel” is different.

  2. You are so busy! Blessings on your for continued energy and enthusiasm in the New Year.

  3. […] a previous blog post, I crunched the numbers on individuals who certification from the Board for Certification of […]

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