Genea-Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)


With apologies to the Pet Shop Boys (and their song Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)), I’ve decided to start a series of posts here at GeneaBloggers about genealogy and money.

Why? Well I am in agreement with several bloggers and others in the genealogy community that we don’t talk enough about how to take one’s passion for genealogy as a hobby and turn a profit. Some think this is dirty talk. Others think it is a betrayal of what the genealogy community stands for in terms of sharing and collaboration.

On the other hand, there are many of us who through various life circumstances are at a cross-roads in our lives and careers where we must pursue our passion in its business and money-making form in order to survive and support our families.


I’ll be posting all week on these topics – I hope you’ll join me in having a conversation within the genealogy community that is meaningful yet still allows a wide spectrum of opinions. Leave your comments in the posts or post at your own blog and cross-reference these posts. I’d also love to see the conversation picked up in the various genealogy mailing lists.

  • Monday: Genealogy Blogging – For Fun or Profit? – we’ll discuss whether or not a blog should have advertising, affiliate links, etc. and what constitutes a commercial genealogy blog, an individual genealogy blog and is there a balance that can and should be maintained?
  • Tuesday: Careers in Genealogy – this was meant to be the Open Thread Thursday post here at GeneaBloggers last week yet I never got around to posting. We’ll discuss the “traditional” genealogy careers and look at some genealogists and family historians who are thinking “outside the genealogy charts” as I put it to carve out their own career paths.
  • Wednesday: What Do You Mean It Isn’t Free? – how do we as a community deal with the perception that everything – and I mean everything – is free for the taking when it comes to genealogy. From commercial databases, to freely stealing content from a blog or website, to being incensed when a genealogist charges for a webinar or a syllabus.  This will be a no-holds barred looked at why certain perceptions exist in the genealogy community and how they must change in order for the industry to move forward in the 21st century.
  • Thursday: How Do You Make Money in Genealogy? – most readers here at GeneaBloggers and at my other sites know that I am a pretty open and transparent guy when it comes to disclosing my material relationships with other genealogy vendors and organizations. Well, I am willing to spell out what I currently do in the genealogy field to try and make a buck.  I’m not going to give exact dollar figures (because you will be greatly disappointed, believe me), but I will be upfront about some current projects.  I’m hoping my colleagues might consider doing the same.
  • Friday: Money Changes Everything – Or Does It? – finally at the end of the series we’ll recap the discussion and see how the genealogy community and industry needs to move forward in terms of its relationship to money.


I hope you’ll join me on what will prove to be an interesting and informative journey with a bit of soul searching thrown in.  If you have other topics you think should be covered, let me know.

I want to especially thank Joan Miller at Luxegen for her post Genea-Bodies – The New Somebodies which started some great conversations on Facebook and Twitter. Also thanks to Kerry Scott of Clue Wagon and Marian Pierre-Louis of the Roots and Rambles blog for their comments and insights.

©2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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About Thomas MacEntee

What happens when a “tech guy” with a love for history gets laid off during The Great Recession of 2008? You get Thomas MacEntee, a genealogy professional who’s also a blogger, educator, author, social media connector, online community builder and more. Thomas was laid off after a 25-year career in the information technology field, so he started his own genealogy-related business called High Definition Genealogy. He also created an online community of over 3,000 family history bloggers known as GeneaBloggers. His most recent endeavor, Hack Genealogy, is an attempt to “re-purpose today’s technology for tomorrow’s genealogy.” Thomas describes himself as a lifelong learner with a background in a multitude of topics who has finally figured out what he does best: teach, inspire, instigate, and serve as a curator and go-to-guy for concept nurturing and inspiration. Thomas is a big believer in success, and that we all succeed when we help each other find success.


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