Why Hire Genealogy Services?
Hiring a professional genealogist is an excellent way to discover your family roots. If you encounter a challenging research problem, if you lack skills or the time to research, or if travel is a problem, you may benefit from the assistance of an experienced professional. These guidelines can help you find and employ a competent genealogist.
The keys to finding a good genealogy services are the same as those for hiring other competent professionals. First, you need some general information about what genealogists do and the services they provide. This information can be found in Part I of this guide. Second, you need to know how to evaluate genealogists and select the right one to hire. This information is found in Part II and III.
Services by Professional Genealogists
The services of professional genealogists fall into these categories, with other minor services.
Tracing Your Ancestry. A professional genealogist can help you trace your ancestors. For example, a genealogist may be able to discover who your immigrant ancestors were and where they came from. Or, a genealogist can research one of your family lines back to a specific time period or individual. This is often helpful when people want to join a lineage society and must prove that one of their ancestors participated in a historical event such as the United States Revolutionary War.
Researching Your Descendants. A professional genealogist may help you in descendancy research by identifying people who descended from a particular individual. For example, you may be a descendant of Daniel Boone and want to start a family organization of his descendants to share genealogical information. A professional genealogist can help you identify the frontiersman’s descendants so you can contact them.
Searching Historical Records. To save time and avoid travel costs, you can employ a record searcher to find and review the records for you. Record searchers review only the records you instruct them to search.
Family Tree DNA Analysis. Many companies offer services to test your DNA. Professional researchers can help you track down candidates for DNA testing and interpret your results. Hiring a DNA Testing Company provides further information.
Other Genealogy Services. Expert genealogists may also provide a range of other services, including:
- Consulting and counseling with you about how to solve a research problem
- Deciphering handwriting on old records
- Translating foreign records
- Instructing and lecturing on genealogical topics
- Computerizing genealogical information
- Abstracting and publishing records
- Finding missing people
Genealogists are generally not required by law to be licensed or certified. However, they may receive credentials and endorsements from several organizations. Each organization sets its own criteria for granting credentials.
You should also consider other criteria as you make your hiring decision. Most genealogists are self-taught, and many competent genealogists do not seek credentials. Years of education, research experience, and satisfactory service to clients may be just as important as credentials.