Undertaking a family genealogy project can be quite an adventure. Sometimes the information comes easily, particularly if your family is skilled at keeping records or you come from a prominent family. However, most of the time uncovering your family history can be a time consuming and often complicated process.
Here are a few questions you need to answer and your answers will help you decide whether you need the assistance of a professional genealogist or not.
1. How much time do you have to devote to your project?
Genealogical projects can take you across the street to your local library… and it can around the world to uncover older documents. It can be time consuming to sit and wait for requested documents at the different archives, and you could spend even more time to understand the archives.
2. How much money do you have to devote to your project?
Traveling around the world to uncover documents sounds romantic… however, it is not free. If time and money are of the essence, a professional may be able to get the job done for much less.. and in half the time.
A professional genealogist will also have access to records and resources you don’t, and they may have made connections around the world which help them obtain information without the travel and the expense. They also are skilled at knowing where and how to uncover information.
3. Do you want to learn how to research your family history or do you just want the results?
For some, researching is half the fun. Digging deep into archives, comparing information, and coming up with creative ways to find information is where the joy is for most of us genealogists. For others, they just want to know the nitty-gritty, the digging part of the task isn’t much fun, rather, it is frustrating.
4. Do you doubt your research skills and/or results?
It’s tough sometimes to know if you are on the right track and if your information is accurate. Sometimes you just want an expert to give you a heads up, to step in and let you know you are on the right track, or to help point you in the right direction.
Hiring a Genealogist
If you do decide to hire a genealogist you will want to make sure they are a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and researchers in the archives you wish searched and/or the Society of Genealogists.
Genealogists typically charge by the hour so it pays to send them copies of all the information you have on your family surname. This will save them time, which will save you money.
Some genealogists prefer to work alone, while others like to work closely with their clients.
Decide, in advance what type of relationship you want, how involved in the process you would like to be, and how you want like to be updated.
Deciding to seek the help of a professional genealogist depends a lot on your goals.
If you’d like quick results, then a professional genealogical researcher is your best option, though do understand… they do NOT create miracles.
If you enjoy the process of uncovering clues about your family history then stick with it. You can always hire a professional genealogical researcher to step in and help you solve particular problems along your way.
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Next article: How to Find Free Basic Genealogy Information
Internet Specialist by trade and passionate about my family's history, I set out to try and reconnect the many lost connections with my paternal family.
Your tombstone stands among the rest
What is Genealogy?
Why is Genealogy Important?
What to do When You Have a Common Surname
How to Find Free Basic Genealogy Information
Understanding Birth Records in Genealogy Research