A genealogist traces family histories for a client using primarily archive research.

Genealogists use a variety of public and private records, such as court records, immigration records and original tax books to trace family trees and descendants. They work as a consultant for their clients, and both advise and undertake lines of research.

The majority of genealogical records for the island of Ireland are held in repositories in Dublin/Belfast. Genealogists can conduct research from any almost any part of Ireland, however some specialise in a certain geographical area.

A career in genealogy as sole source of income is rare; many genealogists practise alongside other work commitments.

Work activities

  • Liaising with historians, record agents and biographers.
  • Consulting with clients to determine the information required and directing research accordingly.
  • Undertaking archive research and applying knowledge of local history.
  • Tracing personal histories of descendants.
  • Compiling genealogical reports for clients.

Work conditions

Travel: could feature in a working day when visiting repositories.
Working hours: generally 9 to 5 office hours. Self-employed genealogists will set their own hours.
Location: research can be undertaken from almost anywhere in Republic of Ireland/Northern Ireland, however most records are held in Dublin or Belfast.

Entry requirements

No formal qualifications are necessary, although knowledge and experience in genealogy, social and local history and palaeography are essential. Experience and/or a career in historical research, librarianship, archive administration can lead into genealogy at a professional level. Courses in genealogy/family history are beneficial.