Many personal historians move into the field after retiring from their long-time job, or because they want to add a little supplemental income. The majority do it because they truly love the work. The best-paid can actually make up to six figures a year, especially those who produce videos or have wealthy clients, according to Sarah White, regions director for the Association of Personal Historians, in the NYT article. She also reports that the field tends to attract journalists, social workers and others involved in communications. I wonder why genealogists aren't as involved? It takes more than a passion for the topic to become a good personal historian, however. Training is often necessary in a variety of areas, from interviewing techniques to digital video editing.
How many of us have had a loved one die before we ever got around to asking them about their family and personal history? Even if you've always planned to collect those stories yourself, sometimes hiring a personal historian is a great option. Many of us are so busy raising our own families during the years that our parents and grandparents are still able to share a wealth of family stories...that we just never seem to get around to turning those good intentions into reality. Hiring a professional to capture and preserve those precious memories in such a case is an excellent option. And the resulting published stories make an excellent gift for loved ones! The Association of Personal Historians can help you locate a professional near you. You can also locate many through a simple Web search for "personal historian."