Perhaps the main question asked about professional research is the cost and what can be expected. It is important to understand when you hire a professional, you are purchasing time and expertise – not results! Genealogy is knowledge based. You are seeking an answer to some question, so the results are intangible. There are no guarantees, unless the line has already been researched and the information is available. Otherwise, the answer to your question only avails itself if records exist, ancestors appear in those records, and the researcher is skilled in their craft. There is no crystal ball in this profession, only hard work.
How much does it cost to hire a professional genealogist? There is no uniform pay scale and professional rates vary from around $25 to $100+ per hour. What a professional charges does not necessarily translate into the skill level of that researcher.
All genealogist typically work in blocks of time; usually, 10, 20, 30, 40, etc. With difficult cases, I tell prospective clients to consider 20 or 30 hours at a time. That way, both the client, and the researcher are protected. If more time is needed, that can be discussed once the initial time is exhausted and everybody knows what he or she are up against.
A genealogist should provide you with some type of a calendar of sources consulted and whether the results were positive or negative. A footnoted research report is standard. The calendar and report provides you with proof as to how your funds were utilized. This also allows the researcher to pick up efforts again if you as the client decide to reorder.
It is also standard for the genealogist to provide you with copies of pertinent documents. These are usually linked into the footnoted report by way of a document or reference number.
Genealogy can be a very intimate experience and you want to make sure you form a business relationship with someone you trust. As long as the researcher informs you what to expect, then you as the client will not have unrealistic expectations. For example, if the Irish Catholic parish register you need only begins in the 1820s, then don’t expect the lineage to be extended back into the Middle Ages. Not going to happen! As long as you, as the consumer, know what to expect, then there should be no surprises.
If you would like help with your genealogy please call 385-214-0925.