Thursday, 16 May 2013

Becoming A Professional Genealogist

It goes without saying that I find genealogy to be incredibly rewarding. Lately I've been thinking a lot about extending the scope of my personal family history research by studying genealogy, with the goal of ultimately becoming a professional genealogist.

I've been doing some research on the Internet, and what I've found so far hasn't filled me with hope. The genealogy courses I have found are expensive, and the actual qualifications obtained vary from course to course. It appears that a genealogy degree, or some relevant qualification, is required for entry to most family history societies, but that even with such qualifications it is very difficult to find employment. 

I would love to work as a freelance genealogist. Reading through family history magazines and websites I have seen countless adverts from genealogists offering their services, so at least some people must be making a living doing what they love. I am by no means an expert, but I've been tracing my ancestry for several years; I've also helped my wife and various friends with their family trees. I know I've got the dedication to be a professional genealogist, but:
  • do I have sufficient knowledge without taking an expensive degree course and gaining a qualification?
  • would anybody hire me? This is the scary part, as I'd be needing to make a living from this.
I'm not giving up yet. I'm going to keep on researching to see if I can make my dream a reality. If anybody reading this has gone through the same thing, or if you are now working as a professional genealogist, I'd love to hear from you. 

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Who Do You Think You Are USA Cancelled

The American version of Who Do You Think You Are? has apparently been cancelled after three seasons by its parent company NBC. This is a real shame, as I always found it to be really entertaining, if not quite as in-depth as the UK version.

I've just recently been watching the third series of Who Do You Think You Are USA, specifically the episodes with Martin Sheen and Rob Lowe. Since The West Wing is one of my favourite programmes of all time this has been a real joy for me. 

Martin Sheen's episode saw him travel to Ireland and Spain to trace his ancestry. His mother's Irish roots saw him investigate an uncle who fought in the Irish Civil War. He then travelled to Spain to investigate a relative from his father's side who fought against Franco's army in the Spanish civil war. 

It was interesting to note that Martin Sheen believed that he had inherited since political activism from his ancestors, as did Rob Lowe in his episode. We saw him travel to Germany to research his ancestor who was sent to America to fight against George Washington's forces in the Revolutionary War. Rob would have preferred his ancestor to have fought on the other side, but was proud nonetheless when he discovered that his ancestor settled in America and became a patriot. 

Other episodes of note from season 3 of Who Do You Think You Are USA featured actresses Helen Hunt, Edie Falco, Rashida Jones, and Marisa Tomei. Helen's story involved her German Jewish ancestors who made their fortune during the California gold rush, Edie's was about her great-grandfather and how he was estranged from his father, Rashida's was a moving tale of her mother's Jewish ancestry stretching back to Latvia, and how several members of her family were murdered during the holocaust, and finally Marisa's episode was an extremely interesting tale of murder and feud in Italy. 

It would be really disappointing if this is the end for Who Do You Think You Are USA. The good news is that the show's producer, Lisa Kudrow (of Friends fame) has stated in interviews that they will definitely be making more, so it seems likely that it may reappear at some point, possibly on one of the cable channels in the States. Lets hope that this is the case, and that the BBC continue to show it on BBC1 and the BBC iPlayer here in the UK. 

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Free Census Records Access At Ancestry are offering free access to their census records for 1901 and 1911 this bank holiday weekend. From Friday 29th March 2013 until Monday 2nd April 2013 you'll be able to search these census records for free. 

Sounds like a good deal to me, but you need to be quick.

Visit Ancestry to search the records now.