The National Institute for Genealogical Studies


The National Institute for Genealogical Studies - LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

Our Recent Professional Development Graduate

Our Final post for Congratulations to Our Recent Graduates 
**Please see previous blog post with a Message from The National Institute for Genealogical Studies to all recent graduates. 

What an impressive achievement! It took a lot of hard work, patience, and determination to reach your goal. It is time to celebrate the success of all our recent graduate. We are so very proud of you. 

Introducing our Graduate of the Professional Development Certificate between June 2019 and October 2021.

Lynn Reesor, PLCGS

Warmest congratulations to our graduate, Lynn… 

Louise St Denis and our team at The National Institute for Genealogical Studies 
Our Graduate has completed all requirements for our Professional Development Certificate, which includes the following compulsory Professional Development courses: 

Basic Level
Business Skills: Business Administration
Business Skills: Career Development: Choosing a Niche-Part 1
Business Skills: Career Development: Choosing a Niche-Part 2
Business Skills: Creating a Business
Business Skills: Establishing & Promoting Your Website
Business Skills: Marketing Your Services & Products
Skill-Building: Breaking Down Brick Walls  

Intermediate Level
Creating Genealogy Programs for Adults & the Younger Generation
Demystifying Culture & Folklore
Forensic Genealogy
Genealogy Society Creation & Management
Lecturing Skills Including Preparation 
Organising a One-Name Study
Organising a One-Place Study 
Personal Historian: Telling the Stories
Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects
Research: House & Farm Histories 
Skill-Building: Evidence Analysis and Evaluation Using Case Studies  
Skill-Building: Nuts & Bolts of Reporting Research  
Writing for Genealogy: Articles, Blogs, Research Reports and so much more

Advanced Level
Genealogy Ethical Guidelines & Standards  

To recognize all of our graduates throughout the years, please go to our website at, click on the menu item INSTITUTE, and then GRADUATES. Be patient, the list is long and therefore takes time to display. 

For a full list of Certificates from The National Institute for Genealogical Studies, please visit our website.
Visit our website for a complete list of online courses offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Check our Course Calendar here
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*Note: Please be aware our social media accounts are monitored regularly, but NOT 24/7. If you have any questions, please contact the office directly. 

Contact information:
1 (800) 580-0165


Business Skills Courses

Are you interested in developing Business Skills to take your genealogical research to the next level? The National Institute for Genealogical Studies offers a Business Skills Package that includes 18 courses to give students a good understanding of how to start and manage a genealogical business.

Business Skills Courses – The Foundation – 4 courses
Business Skills: Creating a Business
Business Skills: Business Administration
Business Skills: Establishing & Promoting Your Website
Business Skills: Marketing Your Services & Products

These four courses form the basic foundation to increase the skills needed for a successful business. The step-by-step process ensures you have covered all the requirements. From set up, to day-to-day management, to finding your online distinction, to letting the world know of your existence, your mandatory business practices will be covered.

Business Skills Courses – Finding Your Niche – 2 courses
Business Skills: Career Development: Choosing a Niche – Part 1
Business Skills: Career Development: Choosing a Niche – Part 2

An integral part of your Career Development involves Choosing a Niche. These two courses feature excellent suggestions for possible business opportunities available to genealogists. Course materials and assignments allow you to examine the requirements relating to a variety of research themes. After analyzing these results, you will easily see how you can draw from your own unique skill set to enhance your genealogical research strategies for your clients.

Business Skills Package – Researcher Essentials – 12 additional courses
Creating Genealogy Programs for Adults & the Younger Generation
Demystifying Culture & Folklore
Forensic Genealogy
Genealogy Society Creation & Management
Lecturing Skills Including Preparation 
Organising a One-Name Study
Organising a One-Place Study
Personal Historian: Telling the Stories
Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects
Research: House & Farm Histories
Writing for Genealogy: Articles, Blogs, Research Reports and so much more 
Plus add one elective course of your choice.

The remaining twelve courses in the Business Skills Package each focuses on a specific aspect of research or expertise applicable to many genealogists. Some of these subjects will expand on topics that were suggested in the two Niche courses. Whether taken individually or as part of this package, these in-depth courses instruct students in the prerequisites required to enter each area of a particular field with a genealogical emphasis. Genealogists currently have countless career options beyond simply completing client research projects. Explore your options as you investigate to see which program will suit your needs as you develop your career as a genealogist.

Please Note: All of the Business Skills Package (18 courses) are included in our Professional Development Certificate (40 courses)

Check our Course Calendar for when these courses are scheduled to begin and register today!

Full List of Packages:

Complete List of Courses:

Contact information:
1 (800) 580-0165



Client Management 

When you first started your genealogy business, you perhaps did a few projects for family members to get some experience and work out the details of your offerings and fees.  At some point, you began actively marketing to obtain new clients.  Depending on how long you have been in business, you probably now have had some experience with actual, paying clients.  



Client Correspondence 

Although researching, writing, editing can be done alone, much of the work a genealogist does involves communicating with clients on an ongoing basis. These communications include but are not limited to: 

  • making appointments 
  • discussing projects 
  • conducting interviews 
  • negotiating a change in the project scope  
  • asking for fee payments 
  • soliciting feedback 

Every interaction with a client can affect the business relationship.  A positive interaction can enhance the relationship and might even help to smooth over a difficulty or repair a problem.  A negative interaction can do all sorts of damage.  

Technology has brought us many new ways of communication.  Email, texting, and social media have become the go-to forms of connecting and exchanging information.  However, there are not without their drawbacks. First of all, not everyone uses all forms of communication equally well. 

In a way, an invoice is also a form of client communication, by which I mean communication between you and the client.  You are communicating with the client about what work has been completed and what fee is owed.  Take advantage of the fact that there can also be room on the invoice for a comment, such as “Thank you for this opportunity to be of service” or “Enjoy your family tree!” 

To succeed in business, part of your ongoing administration should focus on client management and client relations. With our Business Skills: Business Administration”  course you’ll find the tools needed to effectively work with clients.   

Project Proposals

 Client Proposals  

Many genealogy researchers charge for their services on an hourly basis.  This is simple to administer and easy for the client to understand.  However, some clients are uncomfortable with an open-ended expense.  One way to deal with this is to tell the client an upfront estimate of the number of hours expected for a given project.  As an alternative, some genealogists simple quote their clients a flat fee, which is fine as long as the anticipated work fits with the project quoted in the fee schedule.  


The proposal you present to the client does not have to state all the details of how you will accomplish the work.  Focus on what is important to the client – what they will get as an end product and what it will cost them.  If you do create proposals, review them periodically to see how effective they are.  Be honest with yourself.  

Review your past proposals to see what has worked best and identify what areas may need more work on your part.  One way to find out how accurate your time-based proposals are is to keep a log of the time you spend on each project.    

By taking our, Business Skills: Business Administration” course you will come away with the tools needed to create effective proposals for you, your clients, and your business as a whole.  


Marketing Management  

Constantly be on the lookout for great marketing strategies, even if the businesses are not within the realm of genealogy.  Some of the major elements of marketing are: 

  • Promotion/Displays 
  • Public Relations 
  • Pricing 
  • Newsletters/Surveys 
  • Advertising  
  • Networking  
  • Social Media 

Hopefully, your business plan includes a marketing plan.  But that is just a start.  As time goes on, it is important to re-evaluate your marketing strategies as part of your overall strategic planning process.  Depending on what sort of major business strategy you are planning, you may have to revise your marketing efforts.  You may decide as part of your strategic plan for the next five years to focus on a different target market than you had before.  You may decide to narrow down your target market on owners of family business.


Whenever you initiate a marketing strategy, set up a document that describes the ad, event, promotion-whatever it is- along with what it cost you.  Then add to your document any results that you experience from this effort. 

In the course, Business Skills: Business Administration you will discover ways of managing the process of turning a prospect into a client while evaluating the success of your marketing management.  

Marketing and Sales Management

Sales Management 

Marketing goes hand in hand with sales, as it provides a way to get the word out about your services and products, and a way to attract prospective clients. In a small business, however, the owner is often the only salesperson, marketing director, and grunt, along with everything else!  


Many small businesses lack a sales strategy. Periodically, you should review your sales strategy. Here is a list of some sales activities: 

  • identify prospects 
  • prioritize leads   
  • make sales calls 
  • close sales   
  • determine the average dollar size per sale 

Sales management means keeping track of these activities and how well you have done. Just like a budget, you should be projecting these figures and comparing them to actual results, ideally on a monthly basis. If you are not meeting your targets, look for reasons. Maybe you are not getting enough face-to-face meetings with prospects and need to learn to follow through on more leads.  

The lifeblood of any business is sales and sales management which is why we offer our Business Skills: Business Administration course to help you evaluate your sales strategies.   

Financial Matters and Your Genealogy Business

Your Genealogy Business

Tracking money is not just mindless busywork. It has a purpose. Keeping track of money as it flows in and out of your business is a process that is key to providing you with the necessary information on how your business is doing which leads to better decision making. Managing your financial resources will involve the following aspects of money management:

  • accounting/bookkeeping/budgeting
  • profit/loss
  • cash flow
  • tax reporting
  • break-even analysis
  • credit and collections

For a small sole proprietorship, weekly bookkeeping and periodic budgeting can be a simple process, and many small business owners do very well using just a spreadsheet to keep their financial records.


Accounting reports are useful for reporting and planning purposes. The basic financial reports useful to an owner of a small genealogy business include:

  • Balance Sheets– This is a very basic look at your business ownership at a particular point in time, usually at the end of each month.
  • Profit/Loss Statement– This covers a specific period of time, such as one month, one quarter, or one year.
  • Budget– This serves as a guide for your activities.

If you have ever had a month – in business or even in your personal life – when you did not know where you would get the money to pay the bills, you have an understanding of what cash flow is. In a service business such as genealogy research, cash does not always flow smoothly. Genealogy research projects can take extended periods of time, sometimes six months or more.

Project Management 

A significant portion of your income may come from projects that you complete for your clients. In order to be adequately paid for your work, it is necessary to keep whatever records are necessary to enable you to invoice your clients. Depending on how you charge your clients, you may need to keep track of your time and/or expenses, or simply charge per project as you deliver them. When you complete the work, something should trigger you to issue an invoice.

Financial administration involves many aspects of managing money as it comes in and goes out of your business. Through the Business Skills: Business Administration course you will gain a better understanding of the financial matters in your business.

Strategic Planning for Your Genealogy Business

Once you set up your small business it is not enough to simply sit back and wait for clients to come to you. In order to keep the business viable and successful, you must focus your attention on its overall operation and growth. This is where a Business Plan can help.


Setting up and Reviewing Your Business Plan

The first process in developing a business plan is strategic planning. The process of developing and updating your plan has many advantages.

  • It helps to clarify your thinking about your vision and mission.
  • It gives you a plan that is tailored to you, your personality, and your situation.
  • It helps you to take the best advantage of your skills and interest.

Your initial business plan should include the following elements:

  • Title Page
  • Executive Summary
  • Business Description
  • Management
  • Marketing Strategy

Strategic planning is a process that an established business uses to review all areas and to plan for the future, both short term and long term. The initial business plan can be used as a starting point for the review and planning process, particularly in the early years of operation, and some of the same thought processes are involved in both.

Your Mission and Vision Statements

One of the most basic elements of your business is a mission statement. The mission statement is a sentence (or two or three) that sums up the essence of your business-what products or services you aim to provide, who the customers are and what value your business can offer to them, how your business distinguishes itself for the competition, and what values you hope to embody in your business.

A vision statement is usually more far-reaching; it is based on your mission statement and relates to the outcome you envision. Your vision statement sums up the impact you imagine you will have through your business. The statement is intended to inspire anyone who hears or sees it.  Through the course, “Business Skills: Business Administration” you will identify the various elements in creating your business plan, mission and vision statement.

Growing Your Genealogy Business

When, why, and how to grow your genealogy business are important questions to tackle. These questions may always be in the back of your mind, but unless you formally address them periodically, you may never take the necessary actions, or you may find your business growing in a way you do not like or are not prepared for. Some small business owners are content, and rightly so, with the size of their business, which suits them perfectly. Growing your business is not a requirement.


The bigger your business, the less personally involved you can be in all of its operations. Thus, a bigger business requires different ways of doing things, more structure, and organization.  As you grow your business consider:

  • creating a team  that can  give you valuable advice
  • hiring an assistant
  • committing to a growth strategy

Following good business administration practices as shown throughout the course, Business Skills: Business Administration will help you maintain an awareness of just where you stand and help you reach your goals.



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