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Family History Researcher help

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


SylviaInCanada Report 26 Jun 2013 04:09

LA ..............

Very good advice :-)


LadyAugusta Report 25 Jun 2013 14:05

Hi Lois,

Becoming a professional genealogist takes some time. Just because someone can search the Internet and public records it does not make them a professional. Without the proper steps and dedication, one will not have all the advantages of a professional. Joining many different organisations will help an upcoming genealogist learn more about researching family histories as well as where to look for information. There is more to researching family histories than just surfing the Internet.

There are courses you can take that will greatly improve your knowledge, held by the Society of Genealogists. Additionally, there’s a three-year diploma course in Family History available at the University of London, and courses from the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies which can also lead to a diploma.

However, to be truly effective in your work, you really need to have in-depth knowledge of several subjects. History, of course, is vital. That should be both national – and covering everything from the Middle Ages onwards – as well as local, which is vital if you’re concentrating on one geographical area. Without that background, you can easily be foxed when you reach a problem. The more you know about the past, the easier it will be to unravel. Secondly, a knowledge of Latin will be one of your most useful tools, since so many older documents, both legal and religious, are in that language, and you really need to be able to translate them yourself. Finally, you’ll also need to know something about law, not just as it stands now, but also how it was in the past, which will aid you in untangling all those wills and probate judgements.

It’s also useful to be able to drive. That might sound minor, but when travelling is involved, having your own transportation makes the job a lot simpler and faster – and cheaper for your client, who is billed by the hour.

The first thing to do is join a genealogist group such as the Association of Professional Genealogists. This organisation has members that include researchers, publishers, writers, editors and librarians to name a few. This association has many quarterly journals that benefit the upcoming genealogist.

Certifications are another way to show a professional status. There are some criteria that need to be met before becoming certified. One can become certified as a Certified Instructor, Lecturer, or a Certified Genealogist. An in-depth knowledge about genealogy and effective writing skills are needed.

Attend workshops and seminars about genealogical studies. The local genealogy societies do hold these workshops and seminars regularly throughout the year.

Another thing that every person should do is subscribe to magazines and journals pertaining to genealogy research. The reader will gain more information reading these resources, which is needed to stay up to date with genealogy news.

Visit local libraries and courthouses to acquaint yourself with the archives and search methods. This is also the perfect time to get acquainted with local researchers and librarians.

Volunteer at the genealogy society. This is where vital research materials are found. Develop the skills needed to do the research. Keep researching family histories and keep improving the search time and information obtained.

Do not say you are a professional until you are certified and know how to find all pertinent information.



Lois Report 25 Jun 2013 11:33

Thanks for all of your replies. Very interesting. Thx


DazedConfused Report 25 Jun 2013 11:27

In all honesty the only time I used a professional was for some in depth research up in Liverpool (I live in London). She was fantastic.

As said before by others, she did it to supplement her income. I think she was a part-time uni lecturer.

I would say as others that you should specialise in the foreign resdearch. As most people after a relatively short time find the UK searching far easier now than it has ever been and many people on sites such as this doing searching for free.

However, to remember, if in the Uk and you are running any sort of business from your home - it affects your tax returns, your home insurance and you may even need public liability insurance. There is far more to consider than just making your hobby work for you....


Graham Report 25 Jun 2013 09:22

I know people who do genealogical research professionally. Most only do so on a part time basis, to supplement their other income. I don't think it would be viable to try doing it as a full time vocation. But good luck with what ever you decide. :-)


Porkie_Pie Report 25 Jun 2013 09:08

Lois, If you decide to do this professionally I wish you luck but as the others say their are plenty already working in this field and with online sites such as GR there's less demand for professionals

Could i also suggest that you edit/amend your OP because your last paragraph could breach GR's T&C re advertising

ref; Just wondered how feasible all of this would be ( and whether anyone would want my services?! )

Just my opinion



+++DetEcTive+++ Report 25 Jun 2013 08:42

There could be a niche market for Malta, Italy and Turkey especially if you have managed to come to grips with the local written records.

As BrummieJan has suggested, join the anglo-other country websites and see how you get on. Could you make a living out of? Unlikely, but any profit you make may cover some of the expenses you occur in your own FH research. Don't give up the day job just yet! :-D

If/when you get your first commission, try and make a note of how many hours you actually spend working and then consider if as an individual you'd be willing to pay minimum hourly wage to someone else.

Good luck in your venture


jax Report 24 Jun 2013 23:43

I can understand you wanting to make a living out of it.....but there are dozens of people on here alone that will research for free.


brummiejan Report 24 Jun 2013 23:42

As there are so many online resources these days (this site for one!!), I can't see that anyone would wish to pay a researcher. The exception might be your specialist knowledge regarding Malta, Italy & Turkey.
Maybe join Anglo-Italian (etc) society websites and offer your services?


GlitterBaby Report 24 Jun 2013 23:23

There are quite a few people already doing this and not making a living out of it. Okay as a hobby but not sure I would do it.


Lois Report 24 Jun 2013 22:39

Hi everyone
I am going to become a Family History Researcher and wondered whether you could give me some advice. I have no qualifications in this field but have been researching my own family history for over 10 years so know where to find information and how to search extensively. On my father's side, it's all Malta, Italy, Turkey so is quite complex! I am also a member of several genealogy websites.

Due to my lack of professional experience, I am only going to charge cost prices until I get more credibility and have designed three packages of varying prices depending on what each customer of mine would like to receive. I have a website up and running.

Just wondered how feasible all of this would be and whether anyone would want my services?! I absolutely adore researching family history whether it's my own or other people's and I have certainly found out some fascinating information but don't know if I'm fooling myself into thinking I can help people! your thoughts would be really appreciated.

Thank you in advance for any advice you could give me.