Archiver > TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM > 2007-12 > 1198002096

From: "Melissa Barker" <>
Subject: Re: [TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM] Tell Us About Your FirstClient
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 12:21:36 -0600
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In-Reply-To: <>

Hello All,

I am so glad I subscribed to this list, I am very excited at the prospects
of discussing this subject as it is a huge part of my life.

Christy, you asked how some of us took on our first client. Well, as I have
said I have been doing genealogy research for about 20 years now. I live in
Tennessee (close to the Kentucky border) and my husband's family are all
from Tennessee and Kentucky, so I have been working with these states
records for all this time and I am not certified. I was contacted by a lady
about 5 years ago who wanted some obituaries searched and copied. I
completed the work and she sent me another list and then another. She had
me working on her research for about a year. At this time I was not
charging an hourly fee, just asking for reimbursement of copy fees.
However, she would always include some sort of donation in with her
reimbursement. I found that I was having the time of my life doing work for
this lady!! At the time, my husband's business (self-employed insurance
adjustor) was not doing very well and so I was searching for something to do
to help supplement our income. I did not attend college, silly me decided
to get married at the age of 19 even though I had a scholarship to go to
college. I love my husband and would marry him all over again, but I wish I
had gone to college first.

Anyway, I had always heard the saying "try to find something that you love
doing and figure out how to make money at it". Well, I love genealogy
almost as much as I love breathing! I decided there had to be a way to make
some sort of living at doing genealogy work. With the research knowledge I
had under my belt, I went to the local libraries and archives and they took
my name and contact information as a contact person in the area to conduct
research. That was 3 years ago and my work has expanded to encompass the
states of Tennessee and Kentucky. My clients come to me mainly by word of
mouth or by libraries/archives giving them my contact information. I work
in my home office every day just a like a "real job" as well as travel to
libraries/archives/courthouses, etc.. I say that because some people in my
family don't see genealogy research as a "real job", but I know we all know
better! I have many return clients and I stay very busy.

I file a tax return with the IRS each year and I adhere to the APG code of
ethics. Even though I am not an APG, I felt it important to have this code
of ethics. At the present time I do not have a web site, mainly because my
computer skills hinder me in this venture.

I am only 39 years old and feel that this profession is something I will be
able to do well into my old age. I am constantly learning and sharpening my
research skills. I know the question of certification is on everyone's mind
on this list. In my own personal genealogy research, I have hired certified
genealogists and non-certified genealogists and to be honest the only
difference I have been able to see is their hourly price to do research. It
has been my experience that some certified genealogists charge more than
non-certified genealogists. The quality of work from the people I have
hired were both top notch.

Certification vs. Non-Certification? That is a question that I suspect will
not be easily answered. My feeling is that it is an individual decision
that we each have to think about. I am very pleased to see Elizabeth Shown
Mills come on the list and offer to be a counselor of sorts to us all, I
couldn't think of a better person for the job!

Again, Thanks for this List!!

Melissa Barker
Genealogist for Tennessee and Kentucky

> I'm curious to know how you came to take on your first client. Did they
> come to you? Did you solicit them? Do you do any marketing? Do you do
> the
> work for pay, or just for the experience?
> Cheers,
> --
> Christy Fillerup
> Millenealogy, LLC
> Salt Lake City, Utah

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