Are there really genealogy jobs out there? I get asked about jobs a lot in my student advising capacity at the International Institute of Genealogical Studies. What kind of jobs are available for a professional genealogist? But the more honest question I get asked is, Professional genealogist, I mean, really, is it a “thing” that makes money?
I do smile at those questions because, well, I’m a professional genealogist with a job teaching other people how to become professional genealogists. Ironic, a bit, isn’t it? With a wide field of opportunity in the industry, and choices between being an entrepreneur or an employee, the joy of working as a professional genealogist is real. It can be a full-time job, part time, or a side hustle. Yes, learning the skills can also support nonprofits as a volunteer or in hobby-level family history. But getting paid as a professional genealogist is a real thing—and you can do it.
YES! There are a lot of different jobs in professional genealogy from the regularly known family tree building to adoption angels (often volunteers, but not always), to a wide array of teaching, writing, researching, and more. Not enough for you? Good!
I’m excited to give you a small glimpse into some occupational opportunities for genealogists today. Remember, this is nowhere near an exhaustive list. To be clear, a short article like this can’t scratch the surface. But let’s see if we can’t percolate a few ideas for you, shall we?
Off the top of my head, some jobs for professional genealogists are:
- Family History Researchers
- Writers (A big field from ghostwriting to hired research writers for town, business history, and famous person biography. This one will get a large article later.)
- Adoption Angels (both paid and volunteer)
- Heir Tracers for corporations, court systems, legal offices
- Repatriation specialists who help identify soldiers/lost person remains
- Forensic DNA Experts (working in criminal identification)
- DNA & Genetic Research
- DNA Medical Specialists
- Tech and Website Developer
- Social Media Assists
- Genealogy Tour/Travel Guides
- Cruise and Land Tour Speakers
- Graphic Designer
- Antiquities and Document Preservationist
- Museum Docents
- House/Farm Historian
- Citizenship Eligibility Specialist
- Photography Restoration
- Family History Program Director
- Employees of Ancestry, FamilyTree, MyHeritage, FindMyPast, etc. (Large variety of corporate jobs)
We’ll take a look at quite a few of these options in future articles, and more ideas as we can, to help you explore ideas for your future as a professional genealogist.
What ideas do you have?
Do you have a special area of expertise in the genealogical field?
A certificate in Professional Development will help you develop your business and marketing plan as an entrepreneur. The Professional Development certificate can be earned as a specific goal and can also be matched with any other certificate for a well-rounded career plan.
A career in genealogy is one of the best-kept secrets because of the flexibility and creativity to mix and match with your life experience and other professional abilities. Taking stock of all your skills, talents, and abilities designs your unique place in the world. We’re here to help you make your dream happen through an excellent education at the International Institute of Genealogical Studies.
Angela Breidenbach, International Institute of Genealogical Studies Executive Director, is a bestselling author of historical fiction, professional genealogist, and speaker. She’s a passionate educator. Learn more at AngelaBreidenbach.com
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