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Answering Machine

By Rick Crume Premium

If mailing lists and message boards haven’t produced answers to some of your genealogy questions, maybe you need to sweeten the pot. Google, the popular Internet search engine, recently introduced a service that gives researchers financial incentive to solve those stumpers for you.

Google Answers <answers.google.com> lets you post a question and specify the amount you’re willing to pay for an answer — anything from $2 to $200, depending on its difficulty. You can ask for research advice or information on a specific family. You can even post your problem anonymously. If your query is answered, the researcher gets 75 percent of the amount; Google receives 25 percent. It costs 50 cents to post a question, whether or not you get a response.

Questions remain online for only one month — a disadvantage for genealogists who want researchers to be able to find them easily and to contact them at any time. Still, many genealogy-related questions on Google Answers do get good answers, so you just might give it a try. Maybe a modest cash reward will snag an answer to your most vexing genealogy conundrum.

From the June 2003 Family Tree Magazine

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