Should I Hire a Genealogist?

If you are interest in learning your genealogy, but you do not have the time or the patience to do the work yourself you may consider hiring a professional genealogist to do the work for you. This will allow you to learn about your family tree without doing the work. Many people find that the research is an enjoyable part of doing genealogy. If you do decide to hire someone you should look for specific things to be sure you are hiring someone who really understand genealogy.

First you should check to see if the genealogist is board certified. If they are they can list a CG after their names. This means that they have done extensive work, taken a test and submitted a portfolio for review to the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Not all professional genealogists may be certified, especially if they just graduated from college. However you should check credentials and references before hiring someone.

Second you should look at specialties before you hire a genealogist. Often they will specialize in a specific region or country. It does not make sense to hire someone that had focused on New England genealogy when your family is from the South. You can also hire genealogists that have focused in a language when you hit a language barrier in your research.

Once you have decided on a genealogist you should have a formal agreement that states the expected number of hours to be spent on the project, the amount that you will need to pay as well as when the work is due. As always it is important to protect yourself. You should have an agreement about what will happen if the research takes longer than planned, as well as how you will receive the research once it is completed.

You can also hire a genealogist to help with translating records, to come to speak at a group meeting or to track down lost or missing lines of the family. Some genealogists will help to plan family reunions or other events around the genealogy. It is something to consider if you need help completing your genealogy.