Avoiding Pitfalls in hiring a professional genealogist researcher Part I

Professional Genealogist Researcher Part I:

Looking to hire a professional genealogist researcher or research company – They are not all the same. Here’s how you can filter out non-professionals who really aren’t.

Several tips and this checklist can help when looking for a professional genealogist researcher or research company:

1. Do they have a website?
This may help to explain their company, policies, procedures and more. If they don’t have one it tells you a little about them. They may not be computer saavy, utilizing email, internet, online databases, and fully functioning as a business. A website is not only informational but a credibility piece on the company or individual.

2. Do they have business cards?
Contact information including email, phone, fax, website and more.

3. What do they provide? (Deliverables)
Will they review your initial information and make a proposal on what they can do? Do they charge for this and if so what?
Do they have account managers that come to your home or business and bring samples?
Do they provide account numbers and project numbers for each project?
Do they take copies of originals and leave you with originals?
Do they provide email, calls, or mailed updates on progress on projects? Do they have automated tracking of projects?
Do they have tax deductible options?
Do they have corporate plans?
Do they do monthly installment payment plans and have other payment options?
Do they have any written contracts or agreements or order forms? Do you get copies?
Do you get copies of invoices or statements?
Do you get payment coupons or copies of your order forms?

What do you get when a project is delivered?
a. Research reports and/or summary reports.
Professional genealogist researchers do research reports, generally 5-10 pages for original research or 1-2 pages for a research summary.

Original research being defined as research on a new person or line with no provided information or clues to start.

Verification research summaries or reports may only be a one to two page report per session listing the research objective(s), results – what was located, and recommendations for future research.

If you speak to someone and they don’t have these reports or samples you can see you might want to think again about hiring them.

Research reports are used to allow the research to identify the methods, facts and conclusions, in a pattern not only for a customer but more importantly for future researchers. It along with research calendars or logs provide researchers with knowledge of what has been searched and those sources where something was found or not found. It lists the books and films looked at, what surname(s) or individuals were searched for and what was or was not found.

b. Research Calendars/Logs – These should be provided to help professional genealogist researchers see what has and has not been researched.

c. Documents – These are copies of documents that were found, birth, marriage or death certificates, censuses, military records, church records, cemetery records, biographies, etc.

d. Printouts – Pedigree Charts and Family Group Sheets on the session that was worked.

e. Miscellaneous reports – Temple updates, Temple submissions, Temple Tracking.

f. Temple Submission Diskette or Cards and updating of these cards to a genealogy program.

g. Entry of your information into a genealogy program – Personal Ancestral File (PAF), Legacy, Ancestral Quest, Family Tree Maker or others. All of these can output to a GEDCOM (file format) for use in any of the other programs.

h. Copies of the genealogy program files on disc after every session or project delivery.

Knowing the facts can save you and your family valuable time and money.

Want to know more. Contact the professionals for professional genealogists and more at: http://www.forgenerations.com/

Stay tuned for Part II:

What about A Genealogy & Family History Research Company versus a professional genealogist researcher?



Professional Genealogist Researcher.

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