Professional Genealogy Resources


What does it take to become a Professional Genealogist?


We get it. What you’re really asking is, “Why should I hire a professional genealogist when my good friend, or I, can do my own genealogy in my spare time?”

The truth is, it takes a lot more than enthusiasm or even time spent researching your own family history to be able to perform genealogy at the professional level. Here are just a few of the things it takes to become a professional genealogist.

It Takes Formal Training and Years of Experience

The most obvious difference between professional genealogists and amateur enthusiasts is formal training. We don’t mean to discount the efforts of those genealogy genealogistenthusiasts who spend their free time helping themselves and others research their families. But there is a big difference between someone who has taken years of professional classes and someone who (although earnest) hasn’t ever formally studied genealogy.

Our president, James Petty, received degrees in both in Genealogy Technology and History from Brigham Young University. He’s also received recognition or certification from over a dozen different genealogical organizations.

(You can read more about James Petty by clicking here.)

We don’t mention this to brag; we just think it’s a great example of the kind of lifelong, professional dedication it takes to help others with their genealogy in the way Heirlines strives to do.

It Takes a Wide Variety of Skills

genealogistA professional genealogist does a lot more than research his or her own family history. For example, here are some of the genealogical services we offer:

  • Personal family history reviews
  • Professional research analysis
  • Preparing copies of original documents
  • Court certifiable due diligence
  • Expert witness services
  • Evidence of Heir documentation
  • Professional teaching or speaking

That list is by no means comprehensive, but we think you get the point. There’s a lot more to professional genealogy than being really good at family history. It means you’re prepared to meaningfully apply genealogy research and analysis to a very broad set of situations.

It Takes Entrepreneurship

Let’s face it: there aren’t a lot of huge genealogy companies out there. (Heirlines is one of the leaders in the field of professional genealogy, and even our team is far smaller than what one would consider a “large” company.)

That means when you study genealogy, you have two options:
1. Try to find a job with an established genealogy group (or government agency)
2. Create your own genealogy company and help others discover their family histories
As you probably guessed, Heirlines chose the latter.

Managing a business takes a unique set of skills — skills many amateur genealogists simply don’t (and don’t need to) have.

For example, a professional genealogist must have the following business skills:

  • Time management
  • Customer service
  • Financial management
  • Business writing and excellent communication
  • Marketing and sales
  • Project management
  • Contract management

As any successful business owner will tell you, this list is only the start.

It Takes Time

Finally, the one resource the professional genealogists at Heirlines have that enthusiasts often lack is time.

This isn’t just time spent scouring (although, as professionals, we have far more time to dedicate to that than most enthusiasts). It’s also the time we’ve spent helping thousands of our past clients find millions of names from among billions of records. That cumulative experiences means we’ll find more accurate results much faster than enthusiasts.

It’s the time we spend attending professional genealogy conferences, continuing our education, and developing new skills so we can stay up-to-date with the latest in genealogical practices.

It’s the time spent walking our clients through what we’ve discovered in our research and explaining the historical significance of their ancestors’ lives.

It’s the time to make progress, every day, instead of sporadically (as many enthusiasts are forced to do).

As you can see, there’s a big difference between a professional genealogist and a hobbyist/enthusiast. If you’d like to learn more about what professional genealogy services Heirlines offers, visit our Services page or get in touch with us.  (click here to contact us)

top 100 genealogy websites

The top 100 genealogy websites of 2014.


Find the genealogy website you’re looking for – 2014 top 100 genealogy websites

top 100 genealogy websites GenealogyInTime Magazine has published its third annual review and ranking of the top 100 genealogy websites this year. This in depth compilation is a must read for any genealogist. According to GenealogyInTime Magaine,

“[They] distinguish between genealogy websites and websites that may contain ancestral records. The two are not the same. That is, the Top 100 List is based on websites specifically devoted to genealogy and genealogy audiences. Other websites such as Chronicling America or Australia’s Trove (and most other national archive websites) contain ancestral records in addition to many other things. These websites serve multiple audiences (historians, archivists, hobbyists, etc.) and not just genealogists.”

GenealogyInTime Magazine also provides an interesting break down of the top 10 genealogy websites. According to their data,

“ continues to dominate in the top position. It gets considerably more traffic than any other genealogy website. In fact, it gets more than three times the traffic of any other genealogy website.

Find A Grave has moved up one spot into second position. The number of records on the Find A Grave website has grown rapidly in the last two years. has moved from fourth place into third place this year. It has also significantly increased the number of ancestral records over the past year. has dropped from second to fourth place this year. There are a few other family tree websites that now compete with MyHeritage. and continue to hold the fifth and sixth positions again this year.
Geneanet moved up one position to number seven, while dropped one position to number eight. remains at number nine.

Genealogy Bank is the new entrant to the top ten list this year. It moved up one position to hold the final spot at number ten. Genealogy Bank has also steadily increased the size of their newspaper collection this year.

For a comprehensive list of the top genealogy sites of 2014, visit

Looking for help with hard to find records or genealogical questions? Contact Heirlines Family History and Genealogy, breaking through family history walls for almost 40 years. We professionally identify and document ancestry and kinship relationships and verify and certify the family tree with Certified Family Trees™ and Certified Forensic Genealogy Solutions™. We’re ready when you’re ready!

Give us a call and speak with one of our professional genealogists today.

Call toll free 1-800-570-4049 or visit us at

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