Genealogist

A genealogist carries out research into the genealogical background of individuals or families in order to establish descent from specific ancestors or to discover and identify forebears of an individual or family.


A genealogist carries out research into the genealogical background of individuals or families in order to establish descent from specific ancestors or to discover and identify forebears of an individual or family.

When a genealogist receives an enquiry from a client, background details are obtained. They consult national and foreign genealogical tables, publications and documents in order to trace lines of descent and succession. Their sources of information include libraries, church and court records or public record offices, from where they obtain evidence of births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and legacies. These records are carefully studied and information of interest to the client is extracted. A genealogist is often employed to trace family trees, but is also involved in legal and medical work.

After retrieving all the necessary information, genealogists construct a chart showing lines of descent and family relationships. They prepare the history of the family or individual, and also provide feedback in narrative form or by writing brief sketches or notes emphasising aspects of particular interest to those concerned. Genealogists increasingly use software packages to speed up the search, and the Internet to search sites throughout the world.

Genealogists work in offices, libraries and museums. Some travel throughout South Africa and to other countries or cities to visit clients, some of which may be in remote areas. They may also need to attend conferences and meetings locally or overseas.


Employment


  • legal firms

  • educational institutions

  • libraries, museums and historical societies

  • publishing firms

  • research organisations

  • government agencies and departments

  • archives

  • private clients

  • self-employed or freelance work


Getting Started


  • speak to a genealogist about this career

  • try researching and tracing your own family tree

  • try to obtain holiday work at a museum, library or archive


Programmes

Catholic University of Eastern African, Egerton University, Helderberg College NPC, Kenyatta University, Machakos University College, Midlands State University, University of Botswana, University of Nairobi, University of Stellenbosch, University of Zimbabwe


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