Are you a genealogist or local historian?

Discussion in 'General Chatter' started by Belinda, Mar 13, 2015.

  1. Belinda

    Belinda Member

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    As I sit here pondering my future, I play with the idea of enrolling in a post graduate university course in genealogy. The course looks great and has many interesting topics but is it worth my time and cost? My time, yes, it could help save much valuable time for my own personal research. Costs, well that is where I come unstuck. Study is not cheap and I'm looking for a change in career from scientific research, I need to choose wisely.

    For those that are fortunate to be working as a genealogist or local historian, are you able to share a bit of your life experience on how you got to where you are today?
     
  2. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    Hello Belinda

    My route to being a genealogist and local historian was very long, convoluted and unplanned. I too started out as a scientist then went into scientific publishing (with a diversion into primary school teaching) but genealogy gradually took over my life.

    I started by doing occasional bits of research for other people and somehow it snowballed and I ended up doing bigger projects, teaching evening classes and writing about genealogy. For many years I had a genealogy 'surgery' in the library and was a volunteer at our local museum - both unpaid but I made many contacts that way, which led to some commissions. A talk I did for our local history society (based on some research I'd done just out of personal interest) ended up in me being asked to write a book on the history of a local school to mark its 350th birthday. Finding someone who's prepared to pay for a book to be published is rare though!

    I haven't got any formal qualifications in genealogy. I have just learned by doing it, by reading a lot and by going to lectures and day/weekend schools on specific topics such as palaeography.

    I find it hard to make a good living out of it, especially now when so much is online and people are convinced by WDYTYA, Ancestry etc. that it is easy to do it yourself. It's also hard to find people who are prepared to pay the real costs of doing the research properly: paying for the negative searches as well as the positive, and paying for the time it takes to write up the research properly. But I am lucky to be able to work doing something I love.
     
  3. Belinda

    Belinda Member

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    Thanks for sharing Huncamunca, I appreciate you taking the time to share a part of your life. :)
     
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  4. Malcolm Webb

    Malcolm Webb Well-Known Member

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    I suppose like many, if not most, people on here, I consider myself a genealogist and a bit of a local and social historian too where necessity dictates that wider research is necessary.

    I have been researching my own family history for 32 years and assisting my wife with hers for 16. I have no formal qualifications although I have considered going down that route, but I have no real desire to undertake paid research. I love genealogical research and I think the love would disappear if I was under pressure to complete a task in a certain time because I was being paid.

    That said, I have undertaken research for friends and done it in a professional manner, producing family trees and reports etc. I have a close friend researching his family and I occasionally step in when asked if I could research a line on his tree which he is having some difficulty with.

    All the best.
     
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  5. Belinda

    Belinda Member

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    Yes, I hear you Malcolm. I've only been doing my research for 12 years and I love piecing together the tree, meeting distant relatives and learning new historical facts along the way. I do wonder about that little thing of combining hobby with work. I'd hate to think all my hard work over the past decade goes to waste. Thanks for sharing Malcolm :)
     
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