If you’ve been a genealogist for some time and have traced your family history deep into the past, then perhaps you’re beginning to think of turning your hobby into a career. There are actually many possibilities here. Read on to learn about a few family history careers you may love.
Maybe you’ve noticed that you enjoy researching other people’s genealogy nearly as much as you do your own. In that case, you might consider becoming a professional genealogist. Don’t rely on your current knowledge or experience, though. Take some classes, and even become accredited to assure your potential clients, and yourself, that you have all the skills you need. As a professional genealogist, you’ll research your clients’ family lines and prepare easy-to-understand reports and family trees. You’ll also have the enjoyment of introducing people to their ancestors, helping them understand historical documents like the newly released 1950 census records and explaining the stories of the past in a way that makes history come to life.
Your love for family history might also lead you in the direction of working in a museum, especially if you also have an interest in historic photographs and artifacts. In this role, you’ll be able to help researchers find the resources they need, create fascinating exhibits and catalog and preserve the documents, pictures and objects that tell the stories of the past. This can be extremely satisfying work that can also deepen your knowledge of history.
As a genealogist, you’ve probably spend hours in libraries and have a great love for books and other reference materials. If so, then you could pursue a career as a reference librarian. Small libraries will often hire librarians that don’t have specialized degrees, but if you’re aiming to work in a larger library, you could go back to school for a Master of Library and Information Studies degree. Many programs are available fully or partly online, but be sure that the one you select is accredited by the American Library Association.
Perhaps you have a knack for solving genealogical mysteries. Then you might think about becoming a private investigator. Investigators with a genealogical specialization perform tasks like finding heirs, verifying citizenship, discovering biological parents and assisting police and detectives to identify family members and make critical connections between people. Before you pursue such a career, learn about the training and licensing requirements in your state, and make sure you fulfill them.
If you’ve always had an interest in science or if your training tends in that direction, then your chosen career may be a genetic genealogist. Genetic genealogists study DNA and use it to make all kinds of discoveries about people’s heritage. They also maintain DNA databases and research connections between people who have matching strands of DNA. This can lead to genealogical discoveries beyond the normal paper trail and provide clients with a deeper sense of their ethnic heritage as well as genetic cousins they never dreamed they had. Indeed, being a genetic genealogist can be a highly rewarding profession.
Genealogy Software Developer
Finally, many genealogists use family history software to keep track of their research and format it in a way that is easy to see and share. If you have skills in computer technology and coding, you might consider becoming a genealogy software developer. You might work for a current software company to troubleshoot issues and improve products already on the market. Your experience in genealogy, after all, will help you determine what works and what doesn’t. But you might also develop your own software according to your preferences and the preferences of genealogists you work closely with. This could include modified family tree layouts and specialized reports not found in other programs.
Your love for family history might lead you into a new career as a professional genealogist, museum worker, reference librarian, private investigator, genetic genealogist or genealogy software developer depending on your skills and interests. No matter what, you’ll be doing something you love.