Need Genealogy Research Help? All of Us – Even Professionals – Need Help from Time to Time
How long have you been “hooked” on family history and genealogy? Did you start as a kid like I did over 42 years ago? Or are you a newcomer to searching for elusive ancestors? And what about research skill level . . . how would you rate your ability to find the records you need to build out your family tree?
For years I’ve done work as a professional genealogist (with my Certificate in Online Genealogical Research from Boston University). And I’ve spent even more time on my own family tree chasing down leads and clues.
I have a secret to share. Even with all my years of experience, and my role as an author and educator in the genealogy community, I seek outside help with my research. And the first step usually starts in the form of a “review” of what I’ve done for a specific branch of my tree and feedback on the next steps in my research.
Doing so doesn’t mean I’m a “bad genealogist” or I have “poor research skills.” Let’s face it, even I can’t stay on top of all the latest records. Even I can’t master every form of handwriting or master languages used by my ancestors. Sure I could spend the time and money to educate myself on Old German Handwriting or German record sets available online. But more often than not, I put off the project, try to convince myself that I’ll do it myself, and then continue kicking that can down the road . . . and it never gets done!
Trace to the Rescue
The team at Trace recently approached me and showed me their set of solutions to what I call the “Genealogy Stall” projects I have sitting around. Over the years I’ve seen Trace at the annual RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah and I’ve known the CEO, Wesley Eames, for several years as well. Their approach to professional genealogical research is unique for this reason: Trace has a network of over 4,000 professional genealogists and experts worldwide, with access to over 2,000 archives and repositories. These professionals are in over 90 countries throughout the world, and include subject matter experts, such as private investigators, historians, religious scholars, archivists, clergy and university professors.
Right now through Monday, December 2nd, my followers can get a specialized review of their research at Trace for just $99 (and that’s a $51 savings over the normal $150 fee). This $99 rate is only for followers of Genealogy Bargains and my other sites and it expires Monday, December 2nd. If you want more information and think a “genealogy review” could help take you to the next level in your genealogical research, then fill out the short form HERE and get started.
Why Hiring A Professional Genealogist Makes Sense
But first, you might want to know a bit more about why hiring a professional makes sense for almost anyone working on their family tree. Trace has helped me better understand why hiring a professional is worth the time, money, and effort.
It makes sense to hire a genealogist if your excitement and commitment are overshadowed by frustration and discouragement. It makes sense to hire a genealogist if you can’t access local records, translate documents in a foreign language, or interpret DNA results. Even if you have extensive genealogy research know-how, it makes sense to hire a genealogist if you simply don’t have enough extra time or money to tackle your project. Surprisingly, hiring a genealogist can save a lot of money in the long run!
Time is Money
Let’s face it, researching your family can be all-consuming, especially when dealing with records that are not indexed, or historic documents that are written in a foreign language or old script. Professional genealogists, who specialize in a specific subject or geographic location, are well acquainted with a wide variety of sources that a less experienced genealogist may overlook. Most of my followers know I’m a busy guy . . . dealing with 300 emails a day, teaching webinars online, traveling over 50k miles a year teaching at conferences, etc. And I never seem to have enough time!
It actually makes sense for me to hire a professional when I am “stuck” rather than putting off that project and beating myself up over not completing the project.
“I’ve hit a brick wall and I need help!” We’ve all said it at one point or another while trying to create accurate timelines and confirm family relationships. Brick walls happen to all of us, and the key to extending a line can be a professional with “boots on the ground,” or just a different perspective. It also takes a trained eye to keep a family tree from going off track. When dealing with a difficult project, a professional genealogist has the knowledge and experience necessary to solve these difficult puzzles. Allowing fresh eyes to methodically examine your brick wall allows new information to surface. Professional genealogists are an excellent resource to validate research passed down by other family members or to verify work you have completed yourself. Not only can they make new discoveries, but they have also been trained, utilizing the Genealogical Proof Standard, to analyze and interpret existing evidence, which may lead to new conclusions. They are experienced in working with specific information on a variety of record types over various time periods.
Digital Resources Can Only Get You So Far
Boy was this a tough one for me to admit to. I started my genealogy journey in 1977 before the Internet and before the personal computer. I remember Soundex, microfilm readers, and using pen and paper.
With advances in technology and online genealogical databases over the past 20 years, many census and other vital records are now widely available to the public, leading some to wrongly assume that if it can’t be found online, it does not exist. This is a mistake. Only a small percentage of records are available online compared to the number that are still held in local or state repositories. In some cases the only way to find information is to access original records on-site. This requires time and travel and can be very expensive. It is always more cost effective to hire a local professional researcher on the ground. A local researcher is well versed in which records and which repository will likely hold the answers to the research question at hand. At Trace, they work with a wide variety of tested genealogists who can help individuals access records all across Europe, South America, Australia and the United States. It is more cost effective to pay a local professional researcher to obtain needed information than it is to take time off work and foot the bill for travel expenses in order to do the research yourself. Local professional researchers not only speak and understand the language, but they can also navigate the local customs and laws. They understand the fluidity of boundary changes caused by war or political disputes. In some countries multiple languages have been spoken over time, which affects the languages records may be written in. These variables can be overwhelming while trying to gather genealogical information. It is best to rely on a professional to help you understand the language, conventions and customs of a region or time period.
Genetic genealogy is an ever-growing field, and most of us are baffled by what to do with our results. And yes I do produce a series of online DNA Boot Camps each month covering AncestryDNA, 23andMe, Finding Birth Families and more. But I don’t consider myself a “DNA expert” . . . I know just enough to get into trouble!
Understanding how to combine scientific and historical documentation can be a stumbling block for those of us who are passionate about genealogy. Genetic genealogists are trained in how to utilize your DNA data to aid you in solving your genealogical puzzles. Because genetic genealogy requires a distinct skill set from traditional genealogical research, it may be of value to seek the help of an expert to determine kinship.
So What’s Your Next Step? To Review or Not Review?
The Trace approach of offering customized projects at customized prices, has proven to be far less risky than approaching a professional genealogists I don’t know who might be thousands of miles away. This is an efficient way to guide you safely toward the most qualified researchers that can help identity relatives, locate documents and confirm relationships. The Trace process is designed to feel mentored rather than managed, like a Sherpa guiding you up the mountain with your luggage on his back, rather than a concierge recommending night-life hot spots. If you’d like to explore the cost and process of hiring a professional researcher, visit Trace.com today.
Again, I’ve been able to negotiate a great deal for my followers. To begin your personal genealogical research project you just need to fill out the short form letting Trace know what you would like help with.
Once you do, an experienced professional matched specifically to your needs will contact you. This expert will then review your family history research and create a custom research proposal designed to perfectly tackle your problem. And, for a very short time, my followers can get this specialized review of their research for just $99 (that’s a $51 savings over the normal $150 fee).
This $99 rate is only for my followers and it expires this next Monday, December 2. Fill out the short form and get started.
Finally, have you ever wished that you could get expert help with your family history research, but weren’t sure where to turn? Or, perhaps, you were worried about the high cost? If so, Trace can help. The team at Trace offers a simple and affordable way to get help with your family history research problems by utilizing their unique network of over 4,000 genealogy professionals, with access to over 2,000 archives and repositories from over 90 countries around the world. You have nothing to lose . . . only your ancestors to gain! Take a moment to fill out a short form at Trace right now and advance your family’s history today.
©2019, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.