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Taking Your Hobby to the Next Level

If researching your own family is something you really enjoy, you might consider a career in the profession. People who seriously want to research as much about their families as possible often employ the services of a professional genealogist to help them. Turning pro is not just a matter of advertising your services after a few years of doing your own research. If you really want to supplement your income by helping others do research, there are a few important steps you need to take.

First, join a reputable genealogical society. In your own research, you've probably come across a few of the bigger organizations, and membership to one of these will help your career begin. Your best option is The Association of Professional Genealogists. Visit their website to learn how you can become a member of this organization and what benefits members have. They can also send you literature about turning professional.

Your next step is to become accredited. Chance are, no one will hire you if you cannot show that you are certified in the art of genealogical research. You can receive accreditation in six different areas of genealogy and there are six different titles to go along with that: Certified Genealogist, Certified Genealogical Record Specialist, Certified American Lineage Specialist, Certified American Indian Lineage Specialist, Certified Genealogical Lecturer, and Certified Genealogical Instructor. Research all of these options before choosing one so that you will find a good fit for your skills.

Next, do your research. By that, I mean that you should have lots of experience researching your own family history before you attempt to help anyone else. Learn how to use the Internet to do searches, and know your way around a library. Also find resource centers from each of the fifty states and ask for information about the services they provide. Know what type of information you can get at the courthouse and where you can find other records. You can learn this by reading books about genealogy, and also by participating in workshops or taking classes, another important step towards becoming pro. Stay up to date about new advances in the family history research world by subscribing to magazines and websites.

Lastly, it is important to know how to run a business. You need to be able to successfully operate your own business, including all financial and legal matters, before you attempt to turn pro. By doing this, you can be well on your way to a career in genealogy, and hopefully you will be happy and successful with your new business.

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