21 June 2012

Genealogy for Fun & Profit- Part 2

Welcome back! Today's topic is about gaining working knowledge of genealogy prior to becoming a professional. Everyone practices their craft, from artists to doctors, and you should too! It's also important to understand how much experience prior to becoming a paid professional is the "standard" if there even is a standard for our field. I do bring up the 10 year mark, and I believe that that has become the standard for genealogy simply because that after 10 years of personal research, you've done enough digging to know where to look. I don't mean to say you can't be newer to this field, it's just that you'd have to be really talented or have a very important specialty to begin any sooner. Why so long? Well, without an actual course of education that culminates in a degree, personal experience is the only way to gain the knowledge that you will need. And spending a decade making mistakes in your personal research will keep you from making mistakes in your professional research!

I do mention how not everything is online, but I wanted to add a bit of a note about that. If your professional experience is going to be online searching, be up front about that with your clients. You are only going to be capable of finding a small percentage of what's available and you should be honest about that. However, I understand if personal or logistical reasons keep you in one place and having to use the Internet as your primary source of information. But please be clear with your client and set their expectation accordingly. I have done Internet only look ups for folks who don't have the site memberships I have. Or don't know how to use the searches effectively. But I'm upfront about what will be found. I charge less. And usually, this is how I get them started on doing the rest for themselves. So, if the Internet is going to be your thing, know the disservice you do your customer by not looking farther and be honest with yourself and them.

*A note on Sonja from @Sweden who made news with some questionable and naive posts that remind us all that there are ways to ask a question that'll get you bitch-slapped.

Keep on truckin'

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