Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why should I hire a professional genealogist?
Working with a professional genealogist can assure you that the best research methods and strategies are employed. He or she won’t know all the answers, but hopefully has been trained to ask the right questions and has a good understanding of the best places to look for answers. A professional genealogist should adhere to the ethical standards of the Association for Professional Genealogists (APG) and the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). She will also produce a thoroughly sourced document that will lead you through the research, discuss and resolve discrepancies and offer soundly reasoned conclusions where the records might be lacking or contradictory.
2. Is a contract necessary?
A well-written agreement between the genealogist and the client will identify the responsibilities and roles of each party. This will help reduce misunderstandings. It will also provide a remedy for resolving any problem that arises. It provides protection for both parties, so is very necessary.
3. What should I expect from hiring a genealogist?
You and your genealogist will develop a research question or goal that she will use then create a plan the research, execute the plan and provide a written account of that research. That report will be well documented and include copies of the records used in the research. It could also include graphics illustrating one’s lineage or family tree.
4. I’ve already done a lot of research, but I have a problem I can’t solve.
If you have a challenge in your research, you can hire someone to help solve that problem. The genealogist will need a copy of all previous research in order to get started. The first step will be to read the research, look at the documents and see if s/he comes to the same conclusions. Then a research plan is formulated to address the problem. Research is carried out and a conclusion written.
“Genealogy, n. An account of one’s descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own.”
– Ambrose Bierce
“Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson