Although you can do a lot of genealogy research online and in person, you may still find that you're stuck on a particular ancestor. If you're having problems getting through that brick wall, you might consider hiring a professional genealogist to research your family history. Elizabeth Khan of MyGenealogist.com sat down with LoveToKnow Genealogy to explain how the process works.
MyGenealogist.com is a site that matches professional genealogists with people who need a researcher in a specific subject area. The site helps solve stubborn genealogy problems, or researchers can do a complete genealogy profile for an individual. Prices range from about $50 for a half-hour session with a professional researcher to several thousand dollars for a full six-generation pedigree. The base fees cover the cost of the researcher's time, but if you hire a professional genealogist, you'll need to budget for fees like multiple copies, postage, access to documents, and other extras.
LoveToKnow (LTK): How did MyGenealogist.com get started?
Elizabeth Khan (EK): This company was started several years ago because we realized that there was a need to develop networks of professional genealogists in different states and countries. We also realized people needed help utilizing the resources of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The goal was always to help people with the very important task of understanding their origins as well as locating lost family.
About Professional Genealogists
LTK: What type of professional genealogists work with MyGenealogist.com? What type of background do professional genealogists usually have?
EK: We work with a wide network of researchers around the world. We cover much of Western Europe, as well as three countries in Eastern Europe. They usually have a degree and/or an advanced degree. They are certified genealogists or have other such training.
LTK: What is a typical day in the work life of a professional genealogist?
EK: Gosh where to start? Professional genealogists spend their days reviewing cases, facilitating sales, conducting research, writing reports, chatting with clients, and training.
Why Hire a Professional?
LTK: In this age of Internet genealogy research, a lot of people can research their family trees online. How does hiring a professional genealogist help them learn more about their family history?
EK: There are very specific strategies involved in cracking a case. Think of a detective and history researcher combined. Most beginning researchers don't understand how to do horizontal research to avoid brick walls for example, or what kinds of records to order that may blow a case wide open.
LTK: Do you find that amateur genealogists frequently make certain mistakes? If so, how can these be avoided?
EK: Yes, many. Much of it is not documenting sources for the work or not employing advanced strategies to solve a brick wall.
How to Hire a Professional Genealogist
LTK: What advice do you have for someone interesting in hiring a professional genealogist? Is there anything to seek out or avoid? How does the process work?
EK: First, check if they are with APGEN (Association of Professional Genealogists). Then check their education, training, and specific research areas. You don't want a German researcher if you have an adoption case, for example. You always want to get someone that is matched for your research needs. Also check turnaround time.
More About MyGenealogist.com
LoveToKnow wants to thank Elizabeth Khan for this helpful interview about professional genealogy research services. To learn more about hiring a professional to help with your family history, visit MyGenealogist.com.