Genealogy Wise

The Genealogy & Family History Social Network


I am a new member and wanted to share something I am currently feeling. I am soon to be having a birthday. As we all know, sometimes this causes you to reflect on life and double check to see if you are where you want to be. While looking over my life check-list, I have to admit, I am feeling a little behind :)

I began life after high school with the idea I would become a dentist. I had already trained for two years as a dental assistant and was certified. I also had certification to take dental radiographs. I loved it! I worked full time after graduating and things were pretty good. However, I fell ill and was diagnosed with a "rare" genetic illness (what prompted my genealogy search in the first place) and my life came to a grinding halt. (Someday I will write a book about my medical experience). I continued to dental assist for as long as I could, but things that I worked around every day were dangerous to my health, making things worse, and so I had to leave. Huge pay-cut.

I then put myself through a "Travel & Tourism" program that a friend had taken and successfully obtained a job through. I was excited, travel was something I enjoyed and that was encouraged with most jobs in the industry and so I went in head first and aced the courses. I was too ill to find a job right out of school (I was dental assisting to put myself through), but it didnt take long for MAJOR changes to occur in the travel industry (where did the travel agent go?).

I was placed on disability and while sitting home one day trying to figure out how I was going to contribute to the world (just because my body had betrayed me, did not mean my brain had), I decided to go back to school AGAIN for something that would be useful for someone in my condition. So I took classes at my local community college for Small Business Management. It is a VERY small town, so classes were limited and I was not quite sure yet what I wanted to do, but small business seemed a smart bet to start. Shortly after completing 1/2 of an associates degree, I learned about a program at Kaplan University. I heard about the program through an Honor Society that I had been recently inducted into called Phi Theta Kappa. I had never heard of Kaplan, but they were one of the only schools offering a Fraud Examination program at the time and let me tell ya, investigation is right up my alley! I KNEW this was something I wanted to do and could do even if I were limited by my health.

Well one Google search today on Kaplan will explain why, only after 10 months, I transferred what credits I completed at Kaplan back to my community college. There are a few current lawsuits against Kaplan. However, until the day in court comes, I wasted A LOT of $$$ on going to Kaplan and at the suggestion of my counselor at the community college, I used the credits that I had completed towards an associates degree in General Education. So, this is what I currently have completed. Woo.

After looking around at other Fraud programs (Utica College etc.) and talking to my husband, we decided we just could not afford to put me through any of the programs because we had already wasted too much on Kaplan.

Now, I am sitting here, on disability, and I want a job I can do. I have been doing my own genealogy for years, I love investigation, great at research, verification and writing. I aced every class I took with a 4.0 and made the National Deans List. Yet I feel completely useless.

Now, you are all wondering, what in the world did any of this have to do with Genealogy Certification? Well here it finally is. I would love to start doing genealogy for others, but have learned that it is recommended I be certified. Of course. I need to be certified to change light bulbs, I know. It also costs more money to be certified.

I cannot tell you how bummed I am to have completed such a wide variety of courses from dental assisting, travel, hard-core writing, small business, math, science, criminal justice, and more, yet I have no real "education" dealing in any specialty or trade I can DO ANYTHING IN.

Then I even found "Forensic Genealogy" and I just lost my breath. Are you kidding me? I would work the rest of my life and not even eat if I had a job doing Forensic Genealogy!!!! I would give anything to take the Certification courses at Boston University or elsewhere for certification through the boards. I would give 100% and more to all my work. I always do.

I wish I had some tips, but I am in need of some. I have looked up scholarships and so far I need to be a member of the various organizations offering the scholarships. Again, I would LOVE to be a member of these associations! I would LOVE to! But to fork out like $600 for 4-5 memberships right now is not any more an option than forking out the $ for the courses for certification.

I don't mean to sound cranky. I am usually quite perky and positive and willing to do whatever it takes. However at this point, I am feeling tired and also feeling like I have already put forth quite a bit of fight and have maybe pooped myself out.

Any ideas?


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Replies to This Discussion

The area of Forensic Gen sounds very narrow. While you study your options, continue to build research skills and professional abilities (we have a group on Professionalism).

You should note that you will be ready for basic accreditation or certification when you have more than 1,000 hours of research experience. I understand the vicious cycle of chronic illness, feeling useless, being rejected, disability -yet wanting to contribute. You'll need to build your resume' slowly but surely. While at home, try to read genealogical blogs, get syllabi from conferences, etc.

You may also want to volunteer at a local FHC or genealogical society. As you do, consider what geographic locality you may want for your specialty.

Kaplan gained fame for their college prep courses. If you have any qualms about genealogical organizations, ask here...

Dear Angelique,

I don't use this site very much, so I never did see your posting from 2009 until now.  I am sorry to hear about your illness and I have no idea what you are doing for your education or for employment in 2014, but I hope that what I tell you will help you in some way.

What I would recommend is that you start locally and work yourself to county level as far as researching for other people.  Put a small ad in the local paper, have 250 business cards made, print out forms that you will need for clients, and get a business license (if needed) from your town.  This should not cost very much.  You can also go to nursing homes that have classes (most do) and teach... also teach adult ed in a community college at night.  Sometimes, the town you live in also offers classes for seniors, via library or senior center.  At first, it won't be a full time job, but once you get known, your business will grow.  Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.  Kathleen  (use GenWise Genie Classes in subject line please)

PS  forgot to add... join your county historical society and/or genealogical association to be 'seen.'



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