Tips for Hiring a Professional Genealogist

By David A. Fryxell Premium

Q. How can I keep research fees to a minimum when requesting assistance or a record from genealogical society? Do these groups charge a standard rate?

A. We asked D. Joshua Taylor, president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, whose member organizations represent societies from coast to coast, for tips. Taylor suggests:

• Be as specific as you can in your request, and include all the pertinent details, especially a detailed list of what you’ve already looked at. That will help the researcher avoid having to duplicate your efforts. Many societies will also do lookups in their materials, which can be more cost effective than just hiring a researcher at the society.

• Provide copies of relevant documents. A good genealogist will always review records that have been previously found to double-check the information before jumping into new research. Providing copies of these records can save time and money.

• There isn’t necessarily a standard rate (some groups charge as little as $10 per hour, others might charge $50 per hour). In some cases volunteers do the research and donate the fee to the society, so your money is well spent in helping the society.

From the May/June 2014 Family Tree Magazine   

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