The Top 6 Genealogy Jobs for Professional Genealogists

The history of the human race is one that's been recorded for some time now. Many families have taken it as a hobby to research and discover past family members that they may not have known about previously.

Genealogy jobs are a role that can be very fulfilling to the individual and to those who are doing genealogy research. Whether it's uncovering local history or simply researching your own family tree, genealogy is something that will always be needed.

Are you considering a career in genealogy? This guide will is the first step in learning everything you need to know when it comes to finding these jobs on the job market and what's currently available.

Why Explore A Career In Genealogy?

A career in genealogy is something that's an essential contribution to maintaining the history of civilization as we know it. There are reasons why you should explore a career in genealogy beyond just initially looking into your family tree.

It's an extremely rewarding career path

One of the main benefits of a career in genealogy is that it's an advantageous career path. Depending on your chosen job, you could help retrieve vital records for clients, perhaps as an investigator that finds a lost family member.

There are many opportunities that you can look into in order to find the relevant field that you perhaps want to specialize in. Compared to other career paths, there's both personal and professional growth that comes from a career in genealogy.

You play a part in history

Doesn't it sound exciting to know you could be a part of maintaining history but also helping fill in some of the gaps that might be missing? Whatever role you go into as a genealogist, a variety of roles contribute actively to local history and beyond.

Much of the expertise shared by professional genealogists provides the tools needed for upcoming genealogists to navigate the world's history more efficiently and successfully.

It's a stable career choice

There are lots of family trees that have been filled out and uncovered over the years, thanks to the advancements within genealogy. Thanks to the internet, there are lots of online resources that help amateur and professional genealogists to help find family members more easily.

If you're looking for a stable career choice, you'll undoubtedly benefit from a career in genealogy.

What Type Of People Choose A Career In Genealogy?

Like any job search, it's important to understand what skills or expertise you need to have to qualify for the job. Not only that, but you must be the right fit for this career path. So, what type of person do you need to be in order to enjoy a long career in genealogy research?

  • A passion for history

An obvious one but those that go into a genealogy career path is those that love and have a passion for history. If you're fascinated by the past and relationships within families and how they connect with the world through their jobs and achievements, then you'll love to explore a genealogy role of some description.

History is not just local either; it's one that expands across families, countries, and more. There are so many pockets of discovery and knowledge to learn regarding genealogy.

  • Collaborative

While there might be plenty of information online, many genealogy careers require you to be collaborative to reveal certain information.

It would help if you were willing to pick up a phone or meet other professional genealogists in-person to help fill in the gaps you might be struggling with. Collaboration is a crucial skill for most industries, and that includes genealogy.

  • Organized and meticulous with detail

An organized individual would love the opportunity that comes with genealogy careers because they require the person to be meticulous with detail. It's essential to follow the rules that come with genealogy and not to assume information or chase leads that go to a dead end.

Candidates will want to record and document all of their work so that everything required is achieved promptly. Just like history records, genealogists themselves are excellent record keepers for their work.

  • Armchair detectives

Always loved asking questions and theorizing reasons for a certain individual's motives or a particular outcome that's occurred? As 'armchair detectives, this is an interest and skill that can easily convert into a career in genealogy research. It's the stuff that keeps you awake at night and that you'll feel obliged to figure out both for personal reasons and as a professional genealogist.

Six Career Options In Genealogy Research

You can step into many career options with a genealogy degree or certain certifications that provide you with the necessary qualifications. Here are just six career options to help you explore this industry and to give you some direction to start with.

Heir Searcher

Many individuals out there may not know who their family members are or have assets attached to them that they have no idea about.

A valuable and rewarding career path can be as an independent heir searcher. These roles are usually snapped up by estate administrators, courts, and attorneys that are looking to track down qualifying heirs for an estate and various assets.

It helps to provide evidence to confirm the relationship between those and the deceased. Professionals in this career path operate the same research methodology that happens within genealogy.

As a result, it provides clarity for family members and ensures a fair outcome is delivered to those who are rightful heirs to estates, rather than it being taken by the wrong person. Those within these jobs must research the family in question through census records to find proof of a relationship link.

Investigative Genetic Genealogist

It's been proven over the years that DNA remains critical for helping uncover culprits who've committed crimes, whether it be recent or from decades ago.

There are a lot of professional genealogists who are hired as Investigative Genetic Genealogists. These individuals are responsible for using DNA profiles alongside investigative genetic genealogy techniques to understand how those involved are linked.

This type of work can be critical for those crime scenes where the identity of an unknown individual or individuals needs to be identified.

This job, in particular, can be gratifying, especially when it comes to providing justice for those who may have lost their lives at the hands of another. The research skills needed for this role come from the knowledge acquired through genealogy.

It's often thought that genealogy and careers in history are seen as stuffy and boring, but in fact, they're quite the opposite. They can provide plenty of thrill and excitement, particularly with these investigative career jobs.

Private Investigator

A PI can often require a lot of genealogy research because it can sometimes be a missing person that's the subject of interest. There's a lot of consultancy work in genealogy, and becoming a private investigator is, again, a rewarding job if the find is successful.

Genealogy can help within this role to find the living or the dead, depending on the circumstances. It can help bring closure to those that are looking for it and answers to questions that perhaps have gone unanswered for some time.

A person working as a PI needs to be able to ask the right questions, listen carefully to the responses and take the necessary routes to follow up using the information provided.

As a licensed PI, you get access to the right databases and information that the public can't necessarily access. It might not be as glamourous a role as they make them out to be in the movies, but it's definitely a career path where every day will be different from the next.

Curatorial Assistant

For those looking to be focused on a particular company or project, there are plenty of curatorial projects that often need to be worked on. This can be in the case of locating historical objects, gathering and analyzing historical texts, and the necessary data in order to implement exhibitions.

There are lots of institutions that require curatorial assistants. Some may require them temporarily, and others may be needed full-time to work on a long line of projects.

Historic Preservationist

Another niche area of genealogy research is a historic preservationist. As time goes on, certain buildings and historical objects become worn down, tired and damaged. There are lots of people out there whose jobs are to ensure the upkeep and maintenance of historical objects.

This could be restoring cemeteries or looking after certain historical buildings. There's also the history lineage-linked to a particular place, such as a cemetery or landmark building. That requires the maintenance of records and the ability to look through these records should individuals require it.

Evening Reference Librarian

Working in a public library is a classic for those who want to help others in the local community to learn more about history. Reference librarians will be able to recommend, evaluate and interpret information that is requested by the individuals that come into the library.

Requests for assistance are often through in-person interactions, phone calls, and emails. It's a varied role, despite the assumption that librarians don't do much. The public library can be a hub of information and a necessary resource for many looking to do their research.

How To Prepare For A Job In Genealogy

In order to pursue a job in the genealogy industry, there are a number of ways that you can prepare yourself to be successful. There are many jobs and opportunities; it just knows what you need and where to look.

Invest in academic study and research

Investing in academic study or research is one of the biggest influences on achieving a full-time role or career within genealogy. A degree will certainly help you get through those interview doors.

To have the experience required for a role, it's also essential to have the knowledge and skills. It's worthwhile speaking to the enrollment department of the schools you're interested in to see which one is the right fit for where you'd like to take your career in genealogy.

Become certified in genealogy

When you become certified in genealogy, those who are offering jobs will deem you more valuable. That's why it's necessary to look at what certifications are out there and which ones might help you secure that role ahead of others who may not be certified yet.

While they are longer processes, they do show potential employees that you can demonstrate the knowledge needed for the role.

Get a job alert for specific genealogy roles

Job alerts are great for making you aware of when a job pops up. As new generations of workers come onto the job market, you want to be ahead of the crowd when applying. You can request the latest job alert to arrive in your inbox daily if required in order to keep up to date with any new job listings that come up.


It's important that with any job, you have a degree of networking skills; whether you enjoy speaking to others or not, it's an important part of the role within genealogy careers. You need to be able to connect with people on a personable and professional level. Networking can also help you find your next job if you're lucky enough to meet the right people.

With that being said, be sure to attend conferences and networking opportunities that will put you in front of the right people that may influence your career path moving forward.

Final Thoughts

A career in genealogy is undoubtedly one that's fulfilling and exciting in many ways. Make sure to take advantage of all the available resources needed to pursue a career within genealogy.

Remember that researching your own family tree is a great place to start, along with taking online genealogy courses, which many are free!

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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  • "The Top 6 Genealogy Jobs for Professional Genealogists". Accessed on September 23, 2023.

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