Melissa Barker is a Certified Archives Manager and Public Historian currently working at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives. She lectures, teaches and writes about the genealogy research process, researching in archives and records preservation. She conducts virtual webinar presentations across the United States for genealogical and historical societies. She writes a popular blog entitled A Genealogist in the Archives and is a well known book Reviews Editor for the FGS Magazine FORUM and Utah Genealogical Association Magazine Crossroads. She writes a bi-weekly advice column entitled The Archive Lady published at Abundant Genealogy. She writes history pieces for her local newspaper The Houston County Herald called From the Archives. Her Professional Genealogy expertise is in Tennessee records and she is currently taking research clients. She has been researching her own family history for the past 30 years.
“Find out what you love to do and figure our how to make an income at it.”
One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now
“Watch webinars. They are a great educational tool which you can access right now from your home.”
Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher by Drew Smith
“Always remember that not everything is online. You need to contact or visit an archive.”
One thing that really struck me was how Melissa created a niche, that worked within her constraints, by promoting herself as a webinar-only speaker. I like the way she bucked convention by not following the traditional speaker path.
For your action item this week I want you to think out of the box the same way Melissa did. In her case, she chose to do webinars-only instead of in-person speaking events. Is there a path you’re not following because of constraints due to a full-time job, family responsibilities, location, cost or something else? Try to think of a way around the problem. You don’t need to stick to traditional rules with your business. Make it your own and push yourself out of your comfort zone to make it happen.
An Stofferis is an experienced historian and founded International Genealogy Services, which is based in France. She was born in Belgium and studied history at the Catholic University of Leuven specializing in cultural history of the middle ages, modern times, and contemporary history.
Also at that time, she conducted an extensive genealogical research
about the origin of the Belgian scientist Joseph PLATEAU (1801-1883). In
March 1996, she was successful in bringing together the different
branches of the PLATEAU family to a reunion in Ghent. Her frequent
visits to PLATEAU’s descendants resulted in direct access to a very
large number of sources for the history of this family. Some sources
remained unknown, but gave her the opportunity to uncover new scientific
and family data.
In 2010, An Stofferis prepared and presented a biographical article on the decoration painter Antoine PLATEAU (1759-1815) : A. Bergmans & A. Stofferis, un des meilleurs peintres de fleurs de son temps – Biographie d’Antoine Plateau, dans Een belvedère aan de Schelde. Paviljoen De Notelaer in Hingene (1792-1797), Brussels, 2010, p. 557.
In 2004 An Stofferis obtained her master’s degree in Tourism & Management at the University Antwerp Business School. That same year she moved to France and began working at the Belgian Embassy in Paris. But her passion for history and genealogy was very present. In 2012 she decided to expand her genealogical knowledge by following a course in Historical & Probate Research.
An Stofferis is fluent in Dutch (native language), French, English and German. Some or all of these languages may be necessary to fulfill a project, as records were created in different languages, depending on the time and the place.
An Stofferis is a member of the Syndicat de généalogistes de France ‘SYGENE’ (http://www.sygene.fr ) and of the Association of Professional Genealogists (http://www.apgen.org). An Stofferis has become member of ‘Interpret Europe’ (www.interpret-europe.net).
An is building her business based on choosing her service (heir research), analyzing her strengths (her familiarity with many foreign languages) and identifying her ideal target clients (law firms on the north coast of France who need both French and Flemish speaking researchers and familiarity with Flemish history and records). By identifying who most needed her unique services she was able to showcase her strengths and make a strong case for getting hired.
today’s action item, I’d like you to take a stab at doing the same thing.
Choose a service, analyze your strengths and identify ideal clients. Your
strengths should include qualities or skills that differentiate you from
everyone else who does the same service. For instance, many genealogists offer
heir research services but not so many researchers in France offer the service
along with knowledge of the Flemish language.
take an example of a genealogist who offers research services in colonial New
York. His/her strength could be their ability to read both 17th century English
and Dutch handwriting. Who could the potential target clients be? The obvious answer would be private clients
who have New Netherland ancestors. But let’s think beyond that. How about
authors who write about New York history, New Netherland history or even simply
colonial America. You could also potentially market your services to museums
and curators focused on colonial America.
can be lots of things, from proximity to an in-demand location (think of the
Family History Library in Salt Lake City), to a specific skill such as understanding
how a surveyor does his job which might be good for interpreting old deeds, or
more familiarity with a particular record group than anyone else around.
of this together and see if it helps you look at your business in a new light.
Jennifer Campbell founded Heritage Memoirs in 2003 following 25 years as a writer and editor. During her career, she interviewed and wrote profiles of hundreds of people, but did not get any of her own family’s stories before her father died and her mother developed dementia. Recognizing the great and final loss when the histories are not written down, she joined other pioneers in the personal history field and built her company, one story at a time.
Heritage Memoirs and Jennifer Campbell have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Toronto Star, More and Elle magazines, CNN Money, Gannett newspapers (publishers of USA Today), Costco Connection, and Kiplinger’s Retirement Report, among others.
Read the book Start and Run a Personal History Business by Jennifer Campbell
Bringing Your Family History to Life Through Social History by Katherine Scott Sturdevant
Computer, digital recorder Edirol R-09 (the current version of this is the Roland R-07), and Mac Family Tree software.
“If you’re an introvert learn how to do self promotion. You can do this by reading the book Quiet by Susan Cain.“
For your action item this time around let’s focus on PR. This has two parts – you can choose to do one or both.
If you’re an introvert read the book that Jennifer mentioned Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain so that you can become more comfortable promoting yourself.
If you’re not an introvert then give some thought as to how you could possibly make use of some PR. Have you done something recently that would be newsworthy that you can send to a local newspaper? Maybe a project that you have been working on related to a local historical figure. Or maybe you’ve recently earned a credential. If nothing comes to mind then create a plan to do something that could become a newsworthy event.
Cari Taplin,CG is related to Roy Rogers. Or at least that’s what her family told her. As a result, finding her true heritage has been her focus since the year 2000. She is a native of Wood County, Ohio but migrated to Wyoming, Colorado and now Pflugerville, Texas which is just outside Austin. Cari holds the Certified Genealogist® credential and has served in a wide variety of volunteer and leadership positions for state, local, and national societies. She currently serves on the board of the Association for Professional Genealogists and is the Vice President of Membership for the Federation of Genealogical Societies. As the owner of GenealogyPANTS, she provides speaking, research, and consultation services. Cari focuses on midwestern and Great Lakes states and methodology. Cari Taplin, CG is an internationally renowned genealogist. She has authored numerous articles for genealogy magazines and scholarly journals. She is a popular presenter at conferences and seminars around the world.
“Join a local society to meet like minded people, a mentor or friends.“
Actually I’m going to give you two action items! We’ll touch on two topics that Cari mentioned – tracking clients and education.
First, if you’re a professional who takes clients or does speaking engagements or writes articles – basically someone who get paid by someone else for work – I want you to start tracking the requests you are getting for work. Who is contacting you, how are they contacting you and what are they asking for? And does the communication lead to paid work? If you are a client researcher, you can track potential clients. If you’re a speaker, you can track requests for presentations. If you’re a writer you can track your writing proposals. And if you already track all of this I want you to spend some time with your data to see what you can learn from the information.
Second, if you’re not a professional I’d like you to focus on one of Cari’s other topics – education. If you’re a member of APG you could go listen to that webinar she mentioned. The one by Jeanne Bloom about how to track your clients. If you’re not an APG member, you could watch a free BCG webinar. They are broadcast live the 3rd Tuesday of every month at FamilyTreeWebinars.com.
Audrey Collins is a Records Specialist in Family History at The National Archives (TNA) at Kew in England. Audrey Collins worked as a freelance researcher for 15 years before
joining the staff of The National Archives. In 2001 she was engaged by the Office for National Statistics as their official Census historian for the bicentenary census in that year, and also served on the advisory panel for the 1901 census digitisation project.
Audrey is the author of three titles in the ‘Basic Facts’ series of family history guides, co-wrote The Complete Guide to Tracing Your Family History and has also contributed sections in the Family History Companion, and Census: the expert guide. She regularly gives talks at external events and conferences in the UK, Ireland and the USA. Her research interests include: the history and operation of the General Register Office, Civil Registration and the UK census; Scottish and Irish records in The National Archives; newspapers and periodicals and retail history.
I loved what Audrey had to say about networking. She said she was able to learn how Americans do research and the assumptions they have because of networking with them. And that helps her better serve them when they come to the archives.
Networking is important and it can change how you perceive other genealogists, your clients, and the people who serve you such as librarians and archivists.
I want you to get and do some networking! I’m going to give you two options for this action item.
Your first option is to find a local genealogy society, club or group near you. Find out where and when their next event is and attend, in person.
The second option is to choose someone you know already know (but not too well) and invite them for coffee (or tea as the case may be). This can be done either in person or virtually using a tool like Skype.
Connecting with other genealogists will help you see a different side of the community and it will be fun! So get out there.
In News items, I am just back from the APG Professional Management Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It was one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended. And I so appreciated that it was focused on the professional and business aspects of genealogy.
I’d like to do a followup podcast episode dedicated to the PMC 2016 and I’d like your help! I’d like to hear from attendees, speakers, committee members and board members so that they can share the positive benefits that the conference had on them. This involves recording a short audio clip that can be used in the podcast. I’d like to do the recordings on Tuesday September 27th or Friday, September 30th 2016. If you’d like to participate, send me an email at contact@thegenealogy professional.com Everyone is welcome so don’t be shy!
During the Month of October I will be offering two webinars.
The first on Thursday October 20th is called “Boosting Facebook Posts and Creating Saved Audiences.” I know what you’re thinking – “I’m never going to need to Boost a post.” Learning to Boost a post on Facebook is actually an important skill that you should have before you need to use it. You might not need to use it for your own business but it would be a great skill that would benefit a society or organization that you volunteer for. And what about those Saved Searches? That’s the most important and critical part. Saved searches allow you to target exactly who you want to reach. Setting them up is easy once you learn how.
The second webinar follows this same theme. Once you’ve create a boosted post you’ll want to track how well it does – and not just with Facebook Insights. The 2nd webinar is called “Tracking Success – Who Really Visits my Blog and Website.” In this webinar we will take a close look at a free tool called utm tracking and how it is used in conjunction with Google Analytics to give you precise details about who is visiting your website, blog or YouTube channel and from where. This is better information than you can get from the insights or analytics built into your website or blog platform. You may be surprised to discover how your audience or followers are really finding you.
*Who can apply: The winning candidate is probably not yet employed in the industry, or working in a related non-research position; are most likely not advanced in their research skills; and might even be self-taught. Regardless of level of experience, they have a few things in common: 1) they have not yet attended any of the national genealogical institutes; 2) they are ready for a more in-depth learning experience at an intermediate (or above) level; and 3) they would like to attend SLIG. If you fit this description, you are eligible to apply. Successful applicants will receive full tuition toward the course of their choice for SLIG 2017. Visit ugagenealogy.org for more information.
The Board for Certification of Genealogists will be offering a Free Day of Quality Education on October 7th in Salt Lake City. Top genealogists Pamela Boyer Sayre, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Ann Staley, Jeanne Bloom, David McDonald, and Judy Russell will present six one-hour lectures held at the Family History Library between 9 AM and 5 PM. The lectures are free and open to the public. Most will also be broadcast online. You can register for the online webinars by visiting www.familytreewebinars.com/BCG.
Lastly, a shout out to LittleDochy and Love to Research for leaving reviews for the show in iTunes. I really appreciate the time you took to leave the review and let me know you like the show. Thank you!
Megan Smolenyak2 is a real life history detective who loves to solve mysteries. You might have spotted Megan or her handiwork on Top Chef, Who Do You Think You Are?, Finding Your Roots, Faces of America, Good Morning America, the Today Show, The Early Show, CNN, PBS and NPR.
Her news-making discoveries include uncovering Michelle Obama’s family tree, revealing the true story of Annie Moore, the first immigrant through Ellis Island, and tracing Barack Obama’s roots to Moneygall, Ireland. Formerly Chief Family Historian for Ancestry.com, she also founded Unclaimed Persons.
“In terms of genealogical careers, do what excites you.“
For your action item today I want you to think about where your career is going to be in 5 or 10 years. What will the world of genealogy look like then? How would your services change if all records were online? Or if all genealogy clients asked for DNA interpretation along with their researched family tree? What if the main demand was for heir research or perhaps mineral rights? What other directions might genealogy go in that might not be obvious now? Also, think about your interests and your passions. If you research, for example, colonial Pennsylvania, what can you do to ensure that your business will continue to grow and make use of new technology? Can you harness photos or videos to find a new way to share the results of the research you’ve done? Or perhaps can you find new ways to work with professionals from other disciplines such as archeologists, biographers, or k-12 text book writers.
So what I’m suggesting is that you take a morning or evening walk and allow your mind to consider the future, your future. Think about it now so you can be ready to create it for yourself or to grab opportunity when it comes.
Lynn Palermo is a genealogy professional with a passion for the written word. As the owner and author of a family history blog, you’ll find her most days blogging from her website The Armchair Genealogist. It’s here she offers readers practical advice on researching and writing their family history. The Armchair Genealogist was named one of the Top 40 Blogs by Family Tree Magazine.
Lynn is also the proud author of her family history book, The Waters of My Ancestors. Lynn has published three how-to-books designed to help the family historian write their own family history book, including Getting Ready to Write, Authentic Ancestors and Finding the Story.Her books can be found at The Family History Writing Studio where she coaches students through online courses, critiques, ebooks and webinars in their journey to use write creative nonfiction to write entertaining, engaging and inspiring stories. Every February, Lynn leads hundreds of family historians in The Family History Writing Challenge. For the past 5 years, she’s guided writers through 28 days of focused writing of their family history stories.
Lynn has been researching and writing genealogy for 15 years and loves to help others find their journey. Her perfect day is inspiring and motivating others to research and write their family history.
“Start writing now. You do not have to wait until your research is done.“
For your action item this week I’d like you to do a brainstorming exercise. Think about your specific niche within genealogy. If you were to write a short eBook that you could publish as a pdf what topic would you choose?
Try to think of as many possibilities as you can. Allow yourself to go in a direction that you normally wouldn’t consider. Think about your niche in very broad terms and then narrow down and think about it with very specific topics. And then of course write down your ideas!
I hope this exercise really gets you thinking about what you do and the various ways you can share your knowledge on the subject. I really strongly believe in brainstorming. I think it can open you up to possibilities and ideas you hadn’t considered before.
Here on the genealogy professional podcast we have been releasing episodes weekly for the last 5 or 6 weeks. I just want you to know that we are not going to continue at that pace. While we don’t have a set schedule yet what you are more likely to find is that we’ll post 6 episodes in a row and then we’ll take a few weeks off. Then we’ll do another 6 and take a few weeks off. That will be a bit easier on us than trying to crank them out every week. We’ve reached that point now. So our next episode will be in a few weeks on August 21st. On that day we’ll hear an amazing interview with NGSQ co-editor Melinde Lutz Byrne.
If you’d like to become a supporter of the Genealogy Professional podcast head over to the website at www.thegenealogyprofessional.com and click on the supporter button. And of course, ratings and reviews in both iTunes and Stitcher are always welcome.
For your action item this week, I would like to tap into what Craig said about short term revenue vs. long term revenue. I would re-phrase long term revenue as either passive income or residual income. This is a topic we have been discussing in-depth in some of my Mastermind groups this month.
For your action I want you to think about the types of residual income that Craig mentioned such as royalties from books and commissions from webinars. Try to brainstorm some more types of residual income. Here’s one to get you started – affiliate income which is the linking to sites like Amazon.com. If people purchase through your link then you get a small commission.
Try to make as big a list as you possibly can. If you’re stumped, go online and Google passive or residual income. Then take a look at your list and see which streams of income might be best for your situation and your business.
When you’re all done leave a comment in the show’s secret Facebook group. You can get to that by signing up for the Genealogy Professional podcast newsletter on the website at thegenealogyprofessional.com.
In Genealogy news, we are in the midst of institute season. GenFed just wrapped up and next week genealogists will gather for the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, otherwise known as GRIP. On August 17th the Northwest Genealogy Conference starts and then at the end of summer, starting August 31st, the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2016 conference starts in Springfield, Illinois.
One gathering you may not be familiar with is GenStock. This is a very small gathering compared to the national conferences and it is intended for professionals. GenStock is put on by Billie Fogarty and Matt McCormack. The goal is to provide an interactive opportunity to exchange ideas about the field of genealogy. The objective is to bring together skilled genealogists to explore new ideas and to dream, to Encourage friendships and expand networks, to Advance the field of genealogy, to Examine questions relating to genealogy as a profession, to Share knowledge about the field and its best practices and to Experience the sense of joy in genealogy and have fun. It takes place in Alpena, Michigan starting the weekend of August 25th before the FGS Conference. To find out more contact either Billie or Matt through the APG online Directory which you can find at apgen.org.
If you’d like to become a supporter of the Genealogy Professional podcast head over to the website at www.thegenealogyprofessional.com and click on the Supporters button. And of course, ratings and reviews in both iTunes and Stitcher are always welcome. If you enjoy this free show and would like it to continue please think about taking a minute out of your day to leave a review.
Judy’s large Web site has advice on sources and strategies for family history research, and more than 53,000 names of local, interstate and overseas folk mentioned in Archives records. She has published various genealogy guides and indexes, and has given more than one hundred presentations at family history events in Australia and New Zealand, including the Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry.
Judy is also the founder and coordinator of the ‘Genealogists for Families’ project, which encourages family historians worldwide to help less fortunate families by making micro-loans through Kiva (a non-profit organisation).
Judy mentioned she was concerned that people don’t realize how much information is available in archives that isn’t online. She is absolutely right. If we all do this action we can start to make a dent in the misperception that all research can be done online.
1) Aanalyze your local archive and discover which materials they have that are not online.
2) Make a list on a page of your website or blog listing all the resources from that archive that are not available online so that the public can have access to it.
Of course, you don’t have to list everything in your local archive that isn’t online! You might just provide broad categories. If you’re at a loss as to where to start, have a chat with the folks at your local archive and ask them! Tell them that you want to write about what they have that is not online. I’m sure they would be happy to point you to those collections. Not only will you be helping the general public learn more about the resources of the archive but even better, you’ll be on your way to developing a working relationship with the staff.
In genealogy business news, the Association of Professional Genealogists is looking for a managing editor for the APG Quarterly magazine. Check out the publications page on www.apgen.org for more information about the publication. Interested parties can send cover letters and resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 10th 2016.
In other APG news the annual Professional Management Conference Early Bird deadline is coming up on July 15th. Be sure to register by then so that you can save money off the registration price. Here are just a few of the excellent speakers that will be presenting: Dr. Thomas W. Jones, Mary Penner, Bethany Waterbury, Dr. Michael Lacopo, Melanie Holtz, Michael Hait, Catherine Desmarais, Billie Fogarty and many others. Of course, I’ll be there too.
Aha Seminars has announced a new podcast called “Genealogy Connection” hosted by Drew Smith. Genealogy Connection will present interviews with genealogical speakers, authors, librarians and archivists, database service providers, software and technology developers, and other leaders in the community. The first episode debuts on June 27, 2016. Genealogy Connection will use the same feed as The Genealogy Guys Podcast so if you are already subscribed to that you will automatically get the episodes which will run in alternating weeks from the Genealogy Guys. Congratulations to Drew on that new project.
Lastly I want to mention a new Facebook group of genealogy business people called the Genealogy Business Alliance. This group is primarily for businesses that exhibit in the vendor halls at genealogy conferences. They are working on developing best practices that will meet the needs of both exhibitors and conference organizers. If that is of interest to you, search for Genealogy Business Alliance on Facebook.
Elaine Hannon owns Elaine Hannon Genealogy, a genealogy research business based near Dublin, Ireland that reconnects people to their Irish families.
A search to locate her American grandfather stoked Elaine’s interest in genealogy after her secretarial assistant career ended when her boss, a government official, retired. At the urging of her husband, Elaine sought formal education to fuel her passion. After an intensive three months, she earned a Diploma in Family History – Genealogy from Independent College in Dublin. Elaine then opened Elaine Hannon Genealogy in 2011.
In this episode, Elaine discusses how she started a new genealogy business, to include taking a social media course, attracting clients, and finding a focus. Her guiding motto as she has grown a successful business is “Start small, and work your way big.”
Family Tree Maker – software to simplify clients’ family trees (undergoing change in ownership)
Do not give up. Try, try again. Once you start, keep at it. It’s not going to happen overnight. It will all turn out right in the end, as they say in Ireland.
It is interesting to hear how genealogists around the world get their education and how they start their businesses. Elaine used the internet and Facebook to attract new clients. In the past, Elaine Hannon was a Genealogist Adviser for Irish Roots Magazine on their Facebook page where she gave advice and guidance on tracing your Irish ancestors and all aspects of Genealogy/Irish Family History. This was a great step in promoting herself as a professional Genealogist and her genealogy business.
Elaine talked about using Facebook as a form of marketing. While it may not be practical for you to partner with a magazine, you can still make the most of Facebook. First, do some market research. Search Facebook for groups that cover the topic of your niche. For instance, if you do French Canadian genealogy then search for French Canadian groups. Second, join the groups and get involved. Don’t ask people for business. Instead, provide value. Answer questions, be helpful and share your expertise. It will be the first steps in building relationships with your potential target market.
A Mastermind is a 12-month group coaching session for genealogy professionals to discuss goals, strategize plans, and for members to get support and encouragement for achieving business success. Marian leads two Mastermind groups which are limited to 10 members each. These groups are most ideal for genealogists who have completed either the ProGen course or the BU Certificate program.
* NEW * Facebook group for The Genealogy Professional podcast:
The new Genealogy Professional (TGP) podcast Facebook group is free and a place to talk about the action items from the show and to ask questions. Join the group by signing up for the mailing list on The Genealogy Professional website. You’ll receive an invitation via email to join the Facebook group.