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Turn Your Hobby into a Home Business with Online Professional Genealogy Courses

written by: Sylvia Cochran•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 6/21/2010

Becoming an Internet entrepreneur is easy, if you have a hobby that you can turn into a lucrative business. Online professional genealogy courses might be just the right thing for you, especially if you enjoy compiling family trees, researching ancestral histories, and interviewing clients.

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    Why Take Online Professional Genealogy Courses?

    Becoming an Internet entrepreneur does not usually require an education, and compiling frame ready family trees or histories for paying clients is no exception. Nevertheless, if you are just branching out from a personal hobby to the realm of taking in paid assignments, it is advisable to get a bit of extra training that makes your venture profitable.

    After all, when you are merely working on a hobby basis, it matters little how much time you spend. On the other hand, if you get paid, you must fulfill the assignment within a certain period of time; even if the client does not specify a deadline, going beyond a certain timeframe renders the assignment unprofitable from a business point of view.

    Professional genealogy classes have the potential of teaching you new investigative tips and tricks that let you identify suitable online as well as offline sources for your research. In addition, these courses assist with locating free databases, discuss researching, and cross-referencing strategies, and they may also help you specialize with respect to a genealogy niche such as Welsh, Irish, or single name lineage tracking.

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    Available Online Courses

    Introductory Class for Newbies to the Field

    If you are new to the field of genealogy but are considering it for becoming an entrepreneur, check out the introductory course offered by Education To Go. Entitled “Genealogy Basics," it focuses on the nuts and bolts of ancestry searches and information gathering, and it also introduces you to the Social Security Death index, vital records databases, census data, and Civil War records. This six week course may be taken through your local college, even though it is offered completely online, and costs about $87. This class is instructor led and includes an active class forum for the duration of the six weeks. During your time of course participation, you receive access to for-pay databases. As outlined by Virtualibrarian in the article “Homework Help from Your Public Library," libraries offer access to subscription genealogy databases as well, which allows you to get your own access to these research materials and continue your work after the class has ended.

    Intermediate Free Courses offers intermediate lessons, which are free of charge. These are excellent resources if you already have a solid understanding of the art and science that is the field of genealogy, but you perhaps still need a bit of help with identifying reliable resources. The intermediate courses deal specifically with “Internet Genealogy" and focus on learning how to ask the right questions of the search engines and how to incorporate oral recounts into a lineage tracing, and they also offer a guide to the nuts and bolts of putting information into a family record. These lessons are instrumental for budding entrepreneurs wondering what software to choose to make the work easier and faster.

    Expert Level Genealogy Classes

    Pharos offers courses for genealogists who already have a firm grasp of the process, the information they want to search for, and also know where to find basic research materials. Pharos is a professional organization in the United Kingdom, which has the stated goal of helping hobbyists and professionals learn how to evaluate facts and figures against the backdrop of their historical contexts.

    Expert genealogists will appreciate the opportunity to hone their abilities to ferret out and flag questionable resources, present a factual lineage compilation to the clients, and also delve deeper into British and associated locales. Costs and durations for these classes vary; some start at £37.99 (ca. $60) for four weeks while others are cheaper but only offer two weeks of instruction.

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    Beyond the Classes

    While online professional genealogy courses are excellent for augmenting rudimentary, intermediate, and also expert knowledge in the field, it is important to understand that becoming an Internet entrepreneur also requires a solid understanding of the business aspect this venture presents. In part, this covers marketing, financial planning, fee scheduling, and also contract negotiating. If this is your first foray into starting or operating a home based business, it may be a wise idea to also look for some online business courses to deepen these skills.

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      • Education to Go: “Genealogy Basics" at
      • “Internet Genealogy" at
      • Pharos: