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Hit a Genealogy Brick Wall? Don't Call Your Insurance, Consider Hiring a Professional Genealogist


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Type: Article
Prepared by: Elizabeth Khan
Word Count: 625 (approx.)
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How can you ensure that you will get the most out of hiring a professional genealogist to work on your family history? The first thing to do before you engage your genealogy researcher is to prepare! A well-prepared genealogy client will realize a far more productive research experience than client who is not prepared.

The very first thing your genealogist wants and needs to understand is what your goal is. So, have a clear sense of what it is you would most like to accomplish with professional genealogical researcher. Remember this motto for genealogy - Specific Goals Are Gold! A broad goal such as "I want to get as much as possible on my family tree" is not as helpful to a genealogist. It is best to present a more specific goal, such as, "I would like to research my family tree, starting with my ancestor in 1875 and working back four generations."

It is important for you to convey a clearly defined goal, so that a researcher can more easily quantify an approximate time block of research. Different goals will require different time blocks. A genealogy researcher cannot possibly know all the circumstances surrounding your ancestor's lives before researching. So, clearly some approximations based on years of genealogical research experience are used to guide the correct package.

If your ancestor moved several times, lived in multiple states, had several marriages, or was adopted, these events may require additional time to sort out and unravel. If you know this information beforehand, provide as many of the details as possible on the family in question.

The next step is organizing your research. If you are not using a software program such as Family Tree Maker at, then ask your genealogist for a family group sheet and a pedigree form to complete before researching. These are important and will save you countless hours of research. It is far easier for your family history researcher to develop a research strategy from easy-to-understand and well-organized notes and charts, than from a lot of loose documents that are not sourced.

It is extremely important that you provide source citations for your claims. If you give a professional researcher a pedigree with a long list of names without any evidence, then the researcher is duty bound to work the line and prove the claims before proceeding with new information. You can save yourself much of this review time by making sure that you document each generation, and support each relationship with evidence. It is important to ensure that each claim meets the standard of proof required in professional genealogy.

While Ancestry and My Genealogist offer professional research services, bear in mind that they specialize in larger research projects. If your needs are on a smaller scale, consider using a boutique lineage research company or an individual lineage consultant with appropriate credentials and experience.

If you are struggling with a research obstacle - the proverbial genealogy "brick wall" - identify the problem to your genealogist, letting him/her know the time period you are stuck in, as well as all the strategies and resources you have used to-date to solve your problem. Sometimes a strategy session or a research plan may be all you need to break through that wall. can help you with your genealogical search by retrieving the records and documents you need in only two weeks. Record Click specializes in small-size genealogical projects, providing you with expert help from records retrieval specialists. And since Record Click is affordable, we can save you a costly research fee that other search firms may charge. Come visit us at or email us at and let us help you with your lineage research -- our services are fast, easy, and affordable.

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