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Old 10-18-2017, 05:03 AM
 
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I was wondering if anyone here who took up genealogy as a hobby or family interest was able to turn it in a career. If so, what was their experience?
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Old 10-18-2017, 06:20 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Rhode Island
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There is no longer much advantage in genealogy as a career since so many databases went online. There was more work in the field when most research had to be conducted locally.

One problem now is that so much is produced by amateurs who don't follow basic principles of research. They just perpetuate errors and don't pursue original sources. Most won't pay to go local since local is often remote.
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Old 10-18-2017, 10:04 AM
 
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I know that there are certain libraries and/or historical societies that keep people with a genealogical background on staff.

A friend of mine applied last year for a genealogy position at he Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in DC. It paid about $75k per year.

People said I should have applied, but that's not a lot of money for DC and I make more than that in my regular gig.

I don't think there are too many options for careers specific to genealogy and if I wanted to get into it, I'd probably focus on a library or archival career at places that have a wing for the public to pursue historical and/or genealogical research.
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Old 10-18-2017, 01:25 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
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You also have to be careful if you do hire a "professional". Make sure you specify exactly what you want to have done.

A cousin paid someone a few hundred dollars who came up with info obviously gleaned from ancestry.com.

His son found me through a post on a message board and he emailed me. I had a ton more info than the "professional" had given him.
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Old 10-18-2017, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Rhode Island
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Quote:
Originally Posted by residinghere2007 View Post
I know that there are certain libraries and/or historical societies that keep people with a genealogical background on staff.

A friend of mine applied last year for a genealogy position at he Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in DC. It paid about $75k per year.

People said I should have applied, but that's not a lot of money for DC and I make more than that in my regular gig.

I don't think there are too many options for careers specific to genealogy and if I wanted to get into it, I'd probably focus on a library or archival career at places that have a wing for the public to pursue historical and/or genealogical research.
Probably in Salt Lake City??
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Old 10-19-2017, 05:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suzy_q2010 View Post
You also have to be careful if you do hire a "professional". Make sure you specify exactly what you want to have done.

A cousin paid someone a few hundred dollars who came up with info obviously gleaned from ancestry.com.

His son found me through a post on a message board and he emailed me. I had a ton more info than the "professional" had given him.
I wasn't looking to hire anyone. I just wanted information about how people actually become genealogists and if it was a viable career.
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Old 10-19-2017, 10:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Hollytree View Post
Probably in Salt Lake City??
Actually those types of places are all over the country. Every state and a lot of counties have archives and they need staff for those places. Colleges/Universities also hold a lot of items relevant to genealogical research in their libraries and local libraries usually have a "local history" department that focuses on genealogical research.

If someone wanted to get into a field where they would be involved in genealogical research for a living, IMO it would be in a library or archive position or with historical societies. There are tens of thousands of these places in the country when you include colleges/universities.
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Old 10-19-2017, 10:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Chava61 View Post
I wasn't looking to hire anyone. I just wanted information about how people actually become genealogists and if it was a viable career.
By itself, I wouldn't think it would be a viable career, but it is a good skill to have to fill positions I mentioned in facilities above.

I know there are a lot of certifications associated with genealogical reserach but IMO most of them are not relevant to a career and are just things people do in association with the hobby.

But FWIW I do think that in depth genealogical research of old is a very needed skill in conducting this sort of research and that we, today limit ourselves when we focus on internet search engines for our research material. Over the last 3-5 years, I've joined a few genealogical and historical societies and the members there have been researching for decades, some over 50 years (I do think we have some members here who also have been researching that long) and learning those old school methods and really how to hand document and keep up with my own research has really allowed me to break through a lot of dead ends in my own family tree over the past few years. They really showed me how to think outside of the box and never rely totally on transcribed data in particular as humans are human and we make errors. Also the variety of places, groups, organizations, and repositories available that have information that may lead to a breakthrough and whose information is not housed online or readily known to the public. Many of the people I communicate with are in their 70s and 80s so they have a wealth of knowledge.
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Old 10-19-2017, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chava61 View Post
I wasn't looking to hire anyone. I just wanted information about how people actually become genealogists and if it was a viable career.
Technically, you don't need anything except experience and skill to become a professional genealogist, but many people choose to become certified so customers will trust them more: Board for Certification of Genealogists – Promoting a Uniform Standard of Competence for Genealogical Practitioners

There's also accreditation from: https://www.icapgen.org/

And it also can look good to join the Association of Professional Genealogists, although that's not a certification or anything, anyone can join: https://www.apgen.org/
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Old 10-21-2017, 12:02 PM
 
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I don't know genealogists who do the work for a living all that well. I spoke to some professional genealogists at related genealogy meetings but I never thought to pick their brains to find out how they grew it into a business. Most of them I recall have been doing this type of work for decades and were quite well versed in all things genealogy.

My opinion about it is if your own genealogy research areas are specialized, such as being able to read in foreign languages, or knowing lots about a specific geographic area, then you might have a better shot at earning some money than doing this as a mere hobby. Being able to research the data by computer definitely has changed genealogy at large. I suspect that it would be extremely difficult to create a career out of genealogy. You could probably get some part-time work maybe, but not much more.
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