Thursday, June 19, 2014

What I would have liked to know as a newbie

I did a lot of genealogy before I had any idea that there were such things as standards, national conferences, an Association of Professional Genealogists, or a Board for the Certification of Genealogists. These things all dawned on me once I got more serious -- and as my previous job, career, and occupation started dissolving.

I love being in genealogy as a business and as a profession. But there are still a few things that I would be happy to have learned sooner:

(1) Most professional genealogists do not rely exclusively on genealogy-based income to support themselves and their families.

(2) Aside from Utah, which is a special case, it helps to be farther east. Pennsylvania has more decades of researchable genealogy than Indiana, just as Indiana has more than Wyoming.

(3) Not all specialties are created equal. Some make better business models than others.

(4) A professional -- whether in terms of standards or doing work for money -- needs to be prepared for some bumps. We don't always know what we don't know; I sure didn't. The process is more fun for those who can take some correction, and who can enjoy both learning new things and un-learning some old ones. (And if you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I think genealogy's problem is that people don't criticize one another enough or in the right ways.)

(5) It helps to have some family background or comfort level with running a business. I did not.

Harold Henderson, "What I would have liked to know as a newbie," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 19 June 2014 ( : viewed [date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]


Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

I especially liked 4) and 5), but all are very valid. Thanks for posting!! ;-)

Judy Webster said...

Well said! I was fortunate in that I found my niche (a speciality that was in great demand) without any effort. But I still had to rely on income from other sources, and fortunately I was prepared for that.