Genealogy as a Profession
If you offering genealogy services for pay, you can benefit by following these simple steps to see if you have the necessary skill, experience, and expertise.
Make sure you read the code of ethics of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Board for Certification of Genealogists. These rules should apply to you. Consider your experience. A genealogist must be familiar with the various types of genealogical records available and know where to access them, as well as know how to analyze and interpret evidence.
Assess your writing skills. You must know how and where to access information and have good grammar and writing skills in order to communicate your findings to your clients.
It is beneficial to you should think of joining the Association of Professional Genealogists. This way you can educate yourself as you can take genealogy classes, attend seminars and workshops, and read genealogical magazines, journals, and books offered by this society for professional genealogists as well as those aspiring to become genealogists. No matter how much you know there is always more to learn. It is a good idea to volunteer with a local genealogical society or an online genealogy Web site to keep in touch with a network of fellow genealogists, which will help to further develop your skills.
Think about what types of research interests you, the access you have to necessary resources, and the profitability of doing research as a business. Make a list of your goals as a professional genealogist.
You cannot run a successful business without knowing about accounting, taxes, advertising, licenses, and time management. So, develop your business skills and learn to solve a wide variety of genealogical problems. If you are unsure about your qualifications, enlist the services of a professional genealogist to critique your work and offer guidance.
When you are ready, apply for certification or accreditation. The Board for Certification of Genealogists grants certification in six categories and the Family History Library offers accreditation in specific geographical areas.
Visit courthouses, libraries and archives to explore the records. Get as much experience as you can before working for others. Don’t stop researching your own family history. It is most likely the reason you fell in love with genealogy in the first place and will continue to provide inspiration and enjoyment.
Always remember that as a practicing genealogist. You should strive for the highest level of truth and accuracy in all phases of your work and act in the interest of your client.