When Should You Hire a Professional Genealogist?



Have you run into the infamous “brick wall”? It is common for genealogists to put their best effort into researching their ancestors and come up empty handed despite their hard work. This situation can be frustrating, and when people are “stuck” they tend to seek help. When should you hire a professional genealogist to help you?

When you have the Money to Pay One
One of the ways professional genealogists make their living is by helping amateur genealogists who are having trouble with their family tree research. They might be paid by the hour, or by the specific research task, but all of them deserve to be paid for their efforts.

This makes sense, when you think about it. After all, you pay a professional mechanic to fix your car, and a professional IT person to fix your website. Contact a professional genealogist, explain what you need their help with, and ask for their rates. It might be within your budget. If not, then you will at least know how much money you need to save for their service.

When you Need a Fresh Set of Eyes
Do a search for the records you are seeking on your favorite genealogy website. If that doesn’t work, try another genealogy website. Go through your notes for clues about where else to look. Ask you relatives if they know where to find the information you are looking for.

Have you exhausted all your resources and come up empty handed? It might be time for you to hire a professional genealogist. In general, professional genealogists have a better understanding about what records are available, and where to look for them, than amateur genealogists do. The professional is more likely to find that record than you are, and will be able to find it quicker than you can.

When you Need a Skeptic
Your ancestor has a surname that is extremely common. The birth record you found might be your relative’s, but there’s a chance it belongs to someone else with the same name. You find a family tree online that appears to have many of your relatives connected to it. Can you be sure that tree is accurate?

A professional genealogist employs a healthy does of skepticism when necessary. Professional genealogists have plenty of experience in seeing mistakes in family trees and other people’s genealogy research. Their goal is to find evidence that confirms that the record is the right one.

Related Articles at FamilyTree.com:

* Professional Genealogists to the Rescue!

* Ancestry ProGenealogists Can Help You

* Getting Beyond that Brick Wall

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