How to Become a Professional Genealogist

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Being a professional genealogist is not a random choice made without much research and study, this option is chosen keeping in mind all the dimensions. Personal assessment of one’s own skills is highly important in order to become a professional genealogist. Abundant information on the area you live in and about the whereabouts is one of the fundamental considerations when planning to become a genealogist. Accessibility and availability of records may be an issue, but with good research skills, this could be overcome.Short-term experience or apprenticeship in any genealogy projects or being a member of a local or national genealogical society is particularly helpful in pursuing a career in genealogy.

Business skills are also an important aspect because that’s what you’re going to do, probe through your skill set and ask yourself whether you can manage your time and clients well along with various other commitments. Workload scheduling, meeting deadlines, communication skills, organizing and billing are just a few aspects that are a must-have. To become a professional genealogist, there are some steps to follow:


Step 1 – Education: Formal education is the first and foremost step towards starting a career in professional genealogy. In today’s time, many genealogists come from different backgrounds such as management sciences, information technology and other skills. National Institute of Genealogical Studies, Brigham Young University, and Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy are a few names of educational institutes offering professional training in Genealogy.  


Step 2 – Conferences: Attending various conferences on genealogy helps in gaining information on the ongoing trends and in learning through the experience and expertise of professionals to strengthen skills of your own. The following genealogy conferences are due to take place in 2016:

  1. Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy
  2. Roots Tech
  3. Family History technology Workshop
  4. Ohio genealogical Society Annual Conference


Step 3 – Business Skills: Important business skills required to become a professional genealogist are as follows: 

  1. Client Relationship management
  2. Organization
  3. Work-life balance
  4. Written Skills
  5. Effective Communication
  6. Project Management
  7. Sales Management


Step 4 – Experience: Gaining experience about genealogical research is an essential skill to be mastered to a certain extent in order to pursue a career in genealogy. Familiarity with genealogical records, ease of access to records, knowledge of interpretation and analyzing techniques of records and outdated data.  


Step 5 – Membership of Genealogical Organizations: Being a member or an associate of professional organizations of genealogy helps enhance the learning experience of individuals aspiring to build up their career on the subject. The Association of Professional Genealogists is a society for both, existing and future genealogists to support their education and training according to high standards.


Step 6 – Volunteer Work: Volunteering with genealogy societies or libraries helps in learning a lot before you start your formal education in genealogy. This also helps build a rapport with genealogists that would definitely be of help during education and training period.


List down your goals and focus on the purpose behind your choices and what you’d want to do as a professional genealogist and how that would be of any help to the society at large. In the meantime, if you need help with research our professional genealogists are available to help.

On the other hand, should you prefer the hired help option, review our genealogy research options, OneFam has a team of over 20 professional genealogists working to help your discover your past.

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