Sep 222011
Where Do I Start Finding My Family History?

Where Do I Start Finding My Family History?

In genealogy, you start with yourself and work backward proving the connection between every generation with source documentation. These sources are the life and breath of true genealogical research that prove or disprove your blood line between yourself and your parents, grandparents, etc.

At some point, you will need to spend some money but you may be able to accomplish your own personal research at least until your grandparents came to America, depending upon availability of records. However, don’t forget that you have 2 sets of grandparents, 4 sets of great grandparents, 8 sets of great, great grandparents and with every generation you go back in time the number doubles.

When you discover the depth of relationships and accounting for each direct ancestor and if you do not have access to genealogical records or repositories, then wisdom says, “Hire a genealogist who knows what they are doing.” Professional Genealogists are attuned and through experience know where to find your ancestral records.

You need to have gathered all the information you can about your grandparent after they arrived in theUSand the families they have had since their arrival, before you attempt to accomplish genealogy from across the Atlantic.

This information should be input onto a Pedigree Chart complete with “birth, marriage, death, burial and death DATE and PLACE where each of these events occurred. It is also best to take a few classes in how genealogy is researched.

Some public libraries offer classes. The Family History Center in Salt Lake City, Utah is very helpful and may offer classes in your area or you can also contact the Historical or Genealogical society in your local area. Most are very helpful.

Until you know where your Grandparents lived across theAtlanticand an in-depth genealogical research with source documentation has been accomplished by a paid professional genealogist or yourself, there is no reason to attempt a trip.

Genealogical libraries are not like what you see on the TV show “Who Do You Think You Are” it takes a lot more planning and research than that which is shown in the 40 minute show.  If you are interested in getting started on finding your own ancestors, contact us for a free consultation today.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Dec 102010
How Do I Choose a Professional Genealogy Researcher?

How Do I Choose a Professional Genealogy Researcher?

There are many different types of Genealogist and a person looking to retain the services of a Professional Genealogist needs to be aware of the differences.

You could be looking into Adoption Research, you could be looking at a brick wall in your Family Tree, you may simply not have the time to do your Family History yourself and be looking for someone to do this for you. You may want to provide a Family Tree or History as a gift.

Most Genealogists concentrate on deceased individuals. A few Genealogists specialize on Ancestors who lived after 1930 and living individuals. And a select few do both. Unfortunately, many of the Group that specializes on deceased individuals, thinks they are experts at finding living people, and this is simply not true.

Professional Genealogists are like Doctors, Dentists, and Attorney’s. There are excellent Doctors, Dentists, and Attorney’s and then there are some that are really bad. There are some that are honest and there are some who are dishonest.

The following is a list of Professional Genealogists and their ranking.

The Young, Business Genealogist
This is a person desperate for a Job, who is trying to get you to part with your money. They know very little. These are the type of Researchers who will look for a Family Tree Online. Unfortunately, less than 1% of Online Family Trees are Creditable and correct. 

The Hobby Professional Genealogist
This is a person who has researched their own Family Tree for years and has now decided to do research for others. This is the largest group of researchers. Unfortunately these researchers have little or no experience in overcoming a genealogy roadblock or problems. If the research problem is not in their own Family Tree, they won’t know how to overcome the problem. Good intentioned people, but a long way from the best.

The Local Amateur Researcher
Those who have a reasonable idea of how to research, but lacking the resources to do so. If the Researcher lives in the area your ancestor lived, they can help you, however, if you want a Full Family Tree this group will be of limited help to you. They will use online databases and order a vital record only. Unfortunately, 99% of Records are not online. This normally leads to a wrong conclusion and an incorrect Family Tree. A genealogist draws conclusions based upon the evidence available to them. If you lack access to all the necessary records, you do not have all the pieces to the jigsaw puzzle.

Researcher’s with access to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is the world’s largest genealogy library. This Library contains millions of microfilms and books for every County in the United States as well as records for Every main country in the World. Most of these researchers are researchers working under a qualified Genealogist. These Researchers are ranked as medium level researchers.

Top Level Researchers
There are very few Researchers at this level. The best way to explain this type of researcher is as follows:

 – The researcher will start with an analysis of the information provided.

 -The researcher will then prepare a research strategy.

 -The researcher will then utilize online resources including paid sites to  advance the research as far as possible. This means actual proof of relationships between generations. An example of this may be Birth, Death & Marriage Certificates.

 -The researcher will then spend considerable time on ordering records from different resources throughout the United States. An Expert will understand which resources and repositories to use.

 -The researcher will then visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and utilize all the records available.

 -The researcher will then travel to whichever States that your Ancestors lived in. Nothing compensates for this type of research and sometimes this is the only way to find original records.

These type of researchers are worth every dollar of their price. 

How Much Should You Spend on a Professional Genealogy Researcher? 
What Do You Get for Your Money?

The Young, Business Genealogist expect to pay between $100-300 or $10-15 an hour
The Hobby Professional Genealogist expect to pay between $200-650  or $10-15 an hour
The Local Amateur Researcher expect to pay between $500-2000 or $20-25 an hour
Top Level Researchers expect to pay between $2000-50000 or $100 an hour

Native American Research
Researchers who charge under $1,500  are amateur genealogists turned professional. They are not specialist Native American Researchers. If you have had trouble finding your Native American ancestors, and you hire one of these researchers, you have just wasted your money. 

Native American Research is a Specialist’s field. Normal Professional Genealogists cannot do this type of research. Top level Genealogy Researchers understand this and will decline Native American Projects because they understand that a Specialist is needed. However there are some Level 4-5 researchers who can do this type of research, because they are a Specialist Native American Researcher.

There are three types of Specialist who can do Native American Research.

 – Those who work with a Tribe.

 -Those who are full blooded Native American

 -Those with five or more years with extensive Native American Research experience.

It is highly recommended that you retain the services of a Full Blooded Native American Researcher. Unfortunately there are only 2-3 in the United States.

American Ancestors has retained the services of a full blooded, Native American Indian Researcher
One advantage of having a full blooded Native American is the communication between a researcher and a tribe. A tribal person will not give information to a white researcher. There is a huge mistrust of white people amongst Native American Tribes because of the many depravations inflicted on them by white men. The mistrust is huge.

There are two types of Native American Research.

Normal Native American research and Advanced Native American Research.

Sometimes it is critical to go to the Tribal Area or to the Location your Ancestors lived. This is always the recommended path when deciding what type of Native American Project to pursue. On site research always increases the chances of success.

These projects can range between $2,000 to $4,500  

If you want to pay $300 for a Native American Project Save your money. Researchers who charge this are not Specialist Native American Researchers.

Reasons for these type of Native American Projects range from 8A Minority Status for Business’s; Tribal Enrollment; Adoption of Native American Children; simply knowing your Native American Heritage.

Adoption Research
If you are really serious about finding your biological parents, siblings, or children, you will need to pay a large fee for this research. This type of research is extremely difficult and only an Adoption Specialist Researcher can do this sort of research. $200-300 Researchers are not Specialist. Much time and travelling is required to have a chance at success.

Any creditable Adoption Researcher normally charges above $7,000.00. 

If you are considering hiring any level of Genealogist or Researcher, please keep the above ideas in mind so that you know what to expect and what types of questions to ask.  At American Ancestors, we hope that you will contact us if you have any questions about our services or services you may be considering retaining for your family history research.