Allen R. Peterson, recently accredited in England, currently lives in Katy, Texas. In addition to accreditation with ICAPGen℠, he is certified with the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). He is the co-editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) and a trustee for the BCG. Allen is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Houston Genealogical Forum (HGF), the Society of Genealogists in London (SoG), the Derbyshire Family History Society, the Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society, and the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH). He recently completed a two-year term as the vice president of the ISBGFH. He served as the Director of the Katy Texas Family History Center from 1999 to 2016. Allen began researching in England in the early-to-middle 1990s and has authored numerous articles on English genealogy in the NGSQ. He holds BS and MS degrees from Brigham Young University in geology and retired from Apache Corporation as a petroleum geologist in 2017, after working forty-two years in the oil and gas industry.
What motivated you to pursue accreditation?
I certified with the Board for Certification of Genealogist (BCG) in 2007. The BCG stresses research standards, particularly those aligned with the Genealogical Proof Standard. ICAPGen stresses expertise in records and report writing. The AG test requires the applicant have more than a casual working knowledge of the records in any given area of specialization. I wanted to have the best of both worlds. I desired to become more competent with genealogical records in England so that I could couple that knowledge with the BCG standards I have practiced over the last decade. I knew ICAPGen would help me get closer to reaching that goal.
What are some challenging or unique aspects to researching in your area of accreditation?
England has been keeping good genealogical records for over 500 years and in some instances longer. But finding and understanding these records is not always an easy task. Just when you think you’ve seen them all, someone points out a record like the Protestation Returns. The House of Commons required all adult males to swear allegiance to the Protestant religion in 1641/42. This is like having a census two hundred years before the enumerated censuses began in the 19th century. I have been amazed at the amount of detail English records can contain. For instance, it took me weeks to transcribe a Chancery Court document about the size of my kitchen table; the handwriting was microscopic. When completed, I learned I had an distant relative who was on Sir Walter Raleigh’s second voyage to Guyana, in 1617. It was well worth the transcription challenge.
What advice do you have for those pursuing accreditation?
Don’t give up! Accreditation is a worthwhile pursuit, no matter how long it takes. It took me over a year and a half. I didn’t take advantage of study groups, but I should have.
What are some of your goals as a genealogist?
I like to write and have published numerous case studies in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) and other journals. Each of these case studies solve a complex genealogical problem. To solve these problems I had to go beyond the records found in the common, day-to-day online sites used by most genealogists. For example, I had to locate business records in the National Library of Wales to solve a problem of a man that appeared to have two deaths–one in Liverpool and the other in the Atlantic Ocean. I want to continue learning about the records in England and apply this knowledge to solving new complex problems that arise in my own genealogy and in the genealogies of those I help.
What research projects are you involved with now, or have planned for the future?
Recently, I was named co-editor of the NGSQ. I now have more projects than I can think about in one sitting. My goal is to better learn how to edit genealogical articles. I know I will be able to apply the research techniques obtained through ICAPGen’s testing process to editing articles in one of the most scholarly genealogical journals in the world.