Genealogy is such an interesting industry, which is why it is not surprising why there is an increasing number of people getting into and searching for genealogist jobs. Good thing though, the industry is growing and more jobs are being provided.
If a person wants to trace her family tree, know about her ancestors (perhaps check out if they were famous), what part of the world they come from, and so on and forth — the very first person that she should go to is a genealogist.
Genealogists have the skills and the knowledge on how to get about these pieces of information, and eventually, help you find answers.
Genealogy, as we have mentioned earlier, is such a very interesting job. Yes, it may be tedious, but the fulfillment is different when you get to trace a person’s personal or family history.
It’s quite surprising though that as the years go by genealogy became popular. In fact, in an article published by The New York Times, it says that the genetic genealogy industry per se is booming.
According to the article, in “recent years, more than 15 million people have offered up their DNA — a cheek swab, some saliva in a test-tube — to services such as 23andMe and Ancestry.com in pursuit of answers about their heritage”.
To be honest, it’s quite an interesting fact. Furthermore, it is projected that within two or three years, according to researchers, “90 percent of Americans of European descent will be identifiable from their DNA”.
With this data and the fact that the genealogy industry is growing, it is not surprising why a lot of people are starting to look into possibilities of becoming a genealogist, and eventually, land in a couple of genealogist jobs.
Having said that, we are going to share with you today some very vital information especially if you are considering getting into the genealogy industry. In particular, we are going to share information or answers on the following questions:
- What is genealogy?
- What does a genealogist do?
- What are the skills and qualities required to be a genealogist?
- How much does a genealogist make?
- How to become a genealogist?
- Where to find genealogist jobs?
WHAT IS GENEALOGY?
On a website called, Family Tree, they noted that genealogy has had an increase in popularity over the last 30 years, which relates to the article by The New York Times that says the industry is booming.
But the thing is, people have always been interested in it, at the same time find it important for hundreds of years already.
According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, “the word genealogy comes from two Greek words—one meaning ‘race’ or ‘family’ and the other ‘theory’ or ‘science.’ Thus is derived “to trace ancestry,” the science of studying family history. “
Anyway, the term “genealogy,” to put it simply, basically refers to “the study of family ancestors with documentation of birth, marriage and death date through parents, grandparents, great grandparents, as far back as possible”.
Often, people thought it’s the same as “family history,” which is actually a more “in-depth study of the lineage in a family including the life stories of individuals; like their education, occupations, medical conditions, military service, residences, etc.”.
So, yeah, just take note of the difference between the two so as not to mix-match.
WHAT DOES A GENEALOGIST DO?
Now that you already know what genealogy is all about, let’s move on to understanding what a genealogist is and the things that she does.
In this video by Ancestry, Crista Cowan share how to become a better genealogist and how to know if you are ready for the job. We thought it’s a good reference for anyone considering a genealogy career. If you have time to check this out, just hit the play button.
The word genealogist basically refers to someone who “compile lists of ancestors, which they arrange in pedigree charts or other written forms”. A genealogist’s job includes creating charts, maps, as well as reports that trace a person’s genealogy or family history.
Furthermore, their job entails strategizing and executing research plans to answer family history-related questions. Genealogists locate as well as interpret original records and other sources that use first and second-hand knowledge.
Genealogists may opt to specialize in a different subset of genealogy depending on the person’s interest. An example of genealogy subsets is immigration or Native American genealogy.
Genealogists use different sources in finding information. This includes vital, tax, legal, cemetery, church, census, military, and property records, as well as personal papers, magazines, books, and the Internet.
Genealogists may be employed by different institutions and offices like genealogy libraries, software and online database companies, historical societies, as well as government agencies and genealogy consulting firms. Later on, we’ll share with you a more thorough list of where you can find professional genealogist jobs.
WHAT ARE THE SKILLS AND QUALITIES REQUIRED TO BE A GENEALOGIST?
According to the National Genealogical Society, if you are interested in becoming a genealogist, prior to searching genealogist jobs, do a self-evaluation first. In particular, assess yourself by answering these questions:
- What are your genealogical skills?
- Do you have good knowledge of the resources in the area where you live?
- Do you have specific expertise about an area outside of your locality?
- How do you access the records? Do you regularly use records that are not online?
- Do you have experience working in libraries and archives with collections relevant to genealogical and historical research?
- Do you have a genealogical specialty (such as using religious records, court records, military records, publishing family histories, or working in a specific repository or language)?
- Are you a member of a genealogical society (local, state, and/or national) and regularly attend its meetings? Do you actively participate by acting as an officer, giving classes, or organizing field trips or other activities?
- How do you increase your genealogical learning?
- Do you go to local conferences or lectures?
- Do you go to national conferences?
- Do you go to genealogical institutes?
- Do you take online genealogy courses?
- Do you regularly read genealogy-related books, magazines, and journals?
- Do you subscribe to at least one recognized scholarly journal in this field (e.g., National Genealogical Society Quarterly, NYG&B Record, New England Historic Genealogical Society Journal, American Society of Genealogists, The American Genealogist)?
- Do you have experience assessing a client’s research problem and analyzing their work to date?
- Can you prepare a solid client proposal with a clear objective, a reasonable scope of work with a fair price, and a timeframe to complete the work?
- Can you write a well-documented research report?
- Do you thoroughly understand and follow the Genealogical Proof Standard?
Furthermore, also look into your business skills, by answering these questions:
- What are your business skills?
- Can you manage your time with your other commitments?
- Do you know how to schedule your workload?
- Do you consistently meet deadlines?
- Have you developed a realistic business plan that allows you to support yourself on the income generated?
- Do you enjoy working with a variety of personalities?
- Can you work with clients who may have unrealistic expectations?
- How do you set your prices?
- What are the costs (expenses)?
- What is profit?
- How do you bill?
- Will you do your own bookkeeping? Will you need an accountant to help you set up your business and your bookkeeping?
- Do you have a standard contract for services?
- Do you have a release for information?
- Have you considered the consequences of confidentiality and liability?
- Will you use an attorney to review your contract language?
- What do you do for your customers (research only or research with a report)?
- Do you know what goes into a report?
- How are your writing skills?
- How is your oral communication?
- How do you expect to market your services?
- Will you join a professional organization for support?
If most of your answers to these questions are positive, then you might just be ready to look for genealogist jobs!
HOW MUCH DOES A GENEALOGIST MAKE?
It’s probably safe to say that genealogists can be considered as history detectives. They use a wide range of resources, as well as research methods in order to find or trace a person’s ancestry.
Genealogists play a very important role in society, would you agree? So, before you even jump into this industry and start finding for genealogical research jobs, let us first look into how much does a genealogist makes?
As a genealogist, you have options when practicing your profession. You can work either part-time or full-time. Although, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most genealogists prefer to work part-time.
Generally, genealogists charge by the hour. In addition, they also bill out all expenses incurred during the whole research process. The rate really depends on different aspects like your years of experience, your skills, and expertise. Needless to say, the kind of research or information you need will also be taken into account.
To give you an idea though, a popular genealogy company called, Legacy Tree, charges $50 per hour. Yes, it’s totally high compared to other jobs out there.
Meanwhile, in data presented by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2018, genealogists or historians have a median annual salary rate of $61,140. Furthermore, the industry has a job growth of 6% within 2016 and 2026 period. What does it mean? Well, it only means, expects the industry to grow even more in the coming years, which also means there is a high probability that genealogists will earn more.
HOW TO BECOME A GENEALOGIST?
Learning how to become a genealogist is very important before jumping into looking for genealogist jobs.
Having said that, here are five steps on how you can jumpstart your genealogy career:
STEP 1: Trace Your Own Family History
Most people who are working as one now started their interest and career by documenting their own family tree. They gather family photos, diaries, as well as personal records to be able to trace down their ancestry.
Their research also involves talking to relatives, and even traveling around. By doing so, they get to piece together the different parts of the puzzle.
Genealogists do not only strive to discover lineages and pedigrees but also look into motivations, sentiments, as well as emotions behind past actions.
STEP 2: Read Books and Journals
There are a lot of books and journal references that are available for aspiring genealogists. Reading such will help you understand the field even more and widen your knowledge about the job.
Most of the genealogy books cover important areas like genealogical methodologies. They also provide community support research.
Some books and journals that are perfect to read are “The Genealogist,” which was published by the American Society of Genealogists, and “The American Genealogist, National Genealogical Society Quarterly and Genealogical Standards,” a journal by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG).
STEP 3: Take Genealogy Courses
What’s nice about genealogy is, although there is a bachelor’s degree program in genealogy as well as family history, there is no formal education required to become one.
But then again, if you want to land in a genealogist job or make your genealogist jobs search easier, it is highly recommended to take genealogy courses, which are available in many colleges through their anthropology and history departments.
Taking genealogy courses will definitely make you become more competitive and landing a job as a genealogist will be so much easier.
STEP 4: Join Professional Genealogy Associations
Apart from reading genealogy books, and taking genealogy courses, joining professional genealogy associations is also highly recommended.
Membership in organizations like The Association of Professional Genealogists will help you connect with valuable resources, as well as fellow professional genealogists. But ultimately, it is one of the best ways to look for genealogist jobs.
By being part of these organizations, you get to access also to lectures, seminars, conferences, and social events where you can widen your network.
STEP 5: Obtain Experience and Consider Becoming Certified
Experience is important as this will be the basis of most organizations that provides genealogist jobs. More so, it is also vital if you want to become credentialed as a Certified Genealogist.
Note that although becoming certified is voluntary and not required, it still makes a lot of difference when you have one. It totally increases your possibility of landing a job.
WHERE TO FIND GENEALOGIST JOBS?
You already know what genealogy is all about, what the job requires, and the things you need to do in order to be considered as a professional genealogist. With that, you are now equipped and ready to search for genealogy jobs.
But where do you look for them?
Here are some of the helpful genealogy sites where you can start your search for your dream job:
– Genealogy Associations and Historical Societies
As mentioned earlier, there are several genealogy organizations where you can obtain membership, and enjoy the perk, which includes access to genealogists jobs in different entities. These organizations include:
- National Genealogy Society
- Genealogy Speakers Guild
- Board for Certification of Genealogists
- Family History Library
- Federation of Genealogical Societies
- International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists
- New your Genealogical and Biographical Society
- American Historical Association
- African American Intellectual History Society
- American Culture Association
- American Jewish Historical Society
- Association for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies
- Association for the Study of African American Life and History
- Association for the Study of Nationalities
- Historians of American Communism
- Historical Society for Twentieth-Century China
- Organization of American Historians
– Online Job Boards
Of course, online major job boards also provide genealogist jobs. All you have to do is filter your job search and specifically look for genealogy jobs. Some of the job board sites that offer genealogist jobs are:
- Job Monkey
- Zip Recruiter
– Genealogy Consulting Firms
There are websites that specifically cater to genealogy jobs and other related jobs. Some of these are:
- Ancestry ProGenealogists
- Legacy Tree
- American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society
- Heritage Consulting
- International Genealogy Services
– Genealogy Libraries
You may also look into genealogy libraries as they also, from time to time, look for genealogists to work for their respective teams. Here are some of them:
- Family Search
- American Library Association
- National Genealogical Society Library
- . Allen County Public Library
- Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research
- Birmingham Public Library
- Denver Public Library
- Detroit Public Library
- Dallas Public Library
- Los Angeles Public Library
- Mid-Continent Public Library
- The New York Public Library
- Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
– Software and Online Database Companies
There also job opportunities in software and online database companies. Some of these companies are:
- Family Tree Builder
- Family Tree Maker 2017
- Legacy 9
- Family Historian 6
- RootsMagic 7
– Government Agencies
Of course, you may also consider working for government entities such as:
U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Geological Survey
U.S. Federal Government
Immigration and Naturalization Service
National Imagery and Mapping Agency
National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), Military Personnel Records (MPR)
FINAL THOUGHTS ON GENEALOGIST JOBS
Genealogy is not as popular as other jobs – that’s one thing for sure. However, the time has changed, and today, this career field is slowly growing. More and more people are becoming attracted to becoming a genealogist especially with the increasing demand in this industry.
Are you also considering changing your career to genealogy?