What is the Average Genealogist Salary?

In order to become a genealogist, it's important that you have the passion for history and the skills needed to make your way into the desired role within the career. There are plenty of people out there that are amateur genealogists, figuring out their own family trees and then discovering viable job opportunities as a result.

Some hobby genealogists end up having a side job through consultancy work and helping those discover long-lost family members.

If you're considering a career in genealogy, then it does require a great amount of personal and professional commitment. However, the benefits of being in a career like this one are vast and highly rewarding.

It's important to decide on whether you want to do this professionally or if you're happy enough doing it as a hobby. Either way, it's good to know what you'll need to pursue this career and just how much you can earn as a genealogist in 2022.

What Is A Genealogist?

A genealogist is responsible for conducting research for either individuals or families that are looking to establish a specific ancestor within their lineage. However, that's just one part of genealogy in general. Genealogist jobs can range from private investigators to heir searchers and even historical preservationists.

A genealogist will typically work as a consultant, or they may be positioned full-time within an organization or institution. It all depends on what the job title is and what the position entails.

The benefits of being a genealogist

There are a number of great benefits worth mentioning when it comes to being a genealogist. Firstly, it's a very rewarding job as the outcome can help many individuals or families to fill in the gaps of their lineage. For other career paths it can benefit members of the public and those that work within law enforcement.

With plenty of educational resources out there, it can help you build a skillset as both a genealogist and historian that can branch out into a variety of roles. If you're someone that gets bored easily with the same job every day, exploring genealogy is certainly one field of study to consider. Every day will likely be different from the next!

Most genealogists would have been amateurs, to begin with. Therefore the community of genealogy is one that shares a raw passion for history and theorizing potential scenarios within their research.

The Average Salary For Professional Genealogists

For a lot of people, their work is a source of income to live and enjoy life. For some genealogists, the career paths available can vary when it comes to salary. There may be a few job titles that generate a hefty income, whereas similar job titles might only offer a fraction of the salary.

Salaries are often determined based on the budget the business has available, first and foremost. There are many factors that are also considered, which could be any of the following:

  • level of experience
  • educational qualifications
  • specific skill sets and specialisms
  • the position within the workplace
  • what type of job it is - full-time, part-time, self-employed, contract, etc.

The average salary will vary depending on these factors but also when it comes to geographical location. Let's look at the typical average salaries for genealogists in the US.

Low range - $36,760

Average salary - $61,120

High range - $101,880

For national hourly wages, salaries typically vary from $18/hr, averaging around $29/hr and going upwards of $49/hr.

Certain career paths within genealogy will influence the average annual salary that's available, so it's always a good idea to look at what type of job you're interested in. Even those that love their job also need to ensure the salary helps them to maintain their lifestyle.

How To Become A Professional Genealogist

If you like the idea of joining the professional researchers within genealogy, then it's important to know about the various skills you need in both genealogy and business.

Even though formal degrees aren't necessary for all areas of genealogy, it does help to have professional qualifications and certificates under your belt. That can certainly help ensure you get a foot through the door when it comes to interviews.

If you look at professional genealogists in the field already, genealogists earn good wages by having a bachelor's degree in place. It makes them more valuable, and therefore, employers are willing to offer more.

What genealogical skills are worth having or working towards as you explore a career as a genealogist?

  • Knowledge of locating and analyzing historical sources both in original and digital formats
  • Multi-lingual abilities allow for a greater understanding of genealogy on a global scale
  • Ability to prepare and present genealogical reports
  • Preparing sketches and charts to show family lineage and particular areas of interest
  • Directing fellow collaborators (archival technicians, etc.) to help assist in the research required

Just like many other industries within the business world, some typical business skills are required and should be built on as a budding genealogist. These business skills may also contribute to the average salary an individual can achieve.

  • Time management
  • Project and contract management
  • Business writing
  • Communication with others
  • Highly organized and detailed
  • Marketing and sales driven

A genealogist or anyone within the field of genealogy is multi-faceted. It's certainly a career path that enables you to become highly versatile within and beyond the field, should you ever want to try something new.

Employers of genealogists

Who typically hires genealogists? There are a number of organizations and fields that benefit from those who have degrees or who are certified genealogists. Whether it's on a full-time basis, contracted, or self-employed, some employers would include:

  • Local or regional heritage sites
  • Libraries and archive organizations
  • Private businesses and agencies
  • Colleges and universities
  • Federal government departments

Some genealogists who are self-employed or work on a contract basis will supplement their income in various ways. For example, that might be teaching or lecturing on the side of being a private investigator or perhaps maintaining databases and transcribing records in different languages.

Not every genealogist is the same in how they work, and so it can be a complex industry to operate in.

What Online Courses Or Bachelor's Degree Are Available?

There are a variety of online courses and bachelor's degree opportunities for budding genealogists to take advantage of. Here's a breakdown of some of the top places to look:

University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is a notable choice for many genealogists, and plenty of professionals have studied here and gone onto great career paths.

It's got a variety of course studies within its program, whereby you can pick and choose what you study. Whether you're simply interested in one particular course for your niche or you'd prefer to get a formalized and broad education in genealogy.

To share a few teasers of the courses available, here are one or two that might pique your interest:

  • _Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started _
  • Personal Historian: Video Techniques
  • _Canadian: Military Records _
  • _US: Cemetery and Mortuary Records _

Anyone looking to pursue a professional career in this industry will certainly benefit from these great courses.


Udemy is one of the online universities available, making it possible for those who were limited on time and money to still study. It gives individuals an opportunity to make studying work around their schedule, rather than having to commit to years of studying.

The site Udemy offers plenty of courses in genealogy and across many career paths outside of this. The variety of classes available are as follows:

  • Genealogy Photo Editing, Care and Repair
  • Free Introductory Course to Genealogy
  • The Complete Guide to Immigration Genealogy

The classes are highly accessible due to how affordable they are. It can help users to take multiple classes each month, depending on the budget that's available. The benefit of buying the classes means you also get access to them for life. These courses become your knowledge base for everything you do in your genealogy career.

The National Genealogical Society

As a membership organization, the NGS is a great platform for professional-worthy courses that can be used within the real world. While they may not offer degrees per se, they do offer a lot of experience and skillset development that can help amateur genealogists to go professional.

Plenty of educational requirements can be met by using this as a resource for education. The National Genealogical Society helps both individuals to learn about their own lineage as a foundation to build upon and help expand those skills to a professional level.

Each course can be an investment into a future genealogist' salary because more experience within your field makes you high-value to employers. There are lots of courses to choose from, including:

  • Foundations 101: Drawing Up the Family Blueprint
  • Foundations 102: Laying the Foundation
  • Foundations 103: Framing in the Family

The annual membership fee is a small price to pay for the quality courses and valuable information you get from the NGS. It's the reason why many choose it both individually and by societies too.

University of Strathclyde Glasgow

The University of Strathclyde provides a world-leading online Genealogical Studies Program that is helpful for those looking to explore their history and trace lines back hundreds of years.

There's an eight-week beginner's course available that covers a wide range of topics to build experience within the field of genealogy.

The course is ideal for those with an existing interest or experience within the genealogy field and looking to develop those initial interests into something viable for a future career. Academics and professional genealogists themselves have developed USC's course, so you're getting something legitimate.


Ancestry.com has its own learning center that is popular with many amateurs genealogists researching their own family lineage and for those who want to pursue a career.

The learning center has plenty of webinars and courses to get stuck into and can be accessed through a monthly or six-monthly subscription. The cost of which is well worth it with the amount of knowledge you'll gain from the site.

There are plenty of videos available to get you started and to get a feel for genealogy if you're brand new to this field of study. Here are a few free genealogy courses worth taking to give you a taste of what Ancestry.com has to offer.

  • Genetic Genealogy Made Easy
  • Making a Breakthrough in your African American Research

Tips To Become Successful Within Genealogy

There are some top tips that will help you achieve the genealogist salaries that you're working towards getting. Becoming successful within the field of genealogy requires a lot of genealogical research and skills. Here are a few ways you can improve your chances of success within genealogy.

Research your own family lineage

Not everyone wants to earn a salary from genealogy. For some, it can be about researching own family lineage and possessing the skills needed to trace lines back further than previously achieved.

For those wanting a career in this field, doing research on your own family is the best way to get started.

Explore local resources

When exploring family history, you'll likely come across plenty of local resources along the way, both online and in-person. Be sure to explore the local resources you have available, whether that be court documents accessible to you through official buildings or churches and cemeteries that hold birth, death, and marriage information.

Network with fellow genealogists

If you're able to, network with fellow genealogists by attending various networking opportunities in your area and beyond. There are a lot of amateur and professional genealogists who will be more than willing to discuss genealogy with you and provide guidance on what to do next.

Attend educational seminars and workshops

Finally, be sure to get yourself to educational seminars and to partake in workshops when they're made available. Whether they're conducted online or in-person, they're a great way to expand your current knowledge.

Final Thoughts

Genealogist salaries are certainly an attractive quality for pursuing a career within genealogy. The right skillset, knowledge, and experience are required to exceed within your chosen genealogy career. Above all else, having a passion for what you do will be the difference between a job and a career.

Neil Edwards

Neil Edwards

Genealogist and family-tree research specialist

Neil was born in Shropshire, England surrounded by centuries of living history. His interest in the past has been a lifelong passion leading to undergraduate degrees in both Economic History & Geography and History & Politics.

This interest in history quickly translated to family history when he moved to the U.S. in 2010. It was here that he began working on his own family tree as well as that of his American wife. That research allowed him to gain a wealth of experience working with both U.S. and European genealogical documents and studying their best uses in researching family history.

Following 9 years of honing his genealogical research skills, Neil was proud to have earned a certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University in late 2019. Neil also took part in the research process for a Duke University study into the families of 19th Century UK Members of Parliament.

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