Free Professional Genealogist Consultation

"I wanted to write and say this is all very exciting for me. I've waited so many years and now to have all this information is fascinating. I am sincerely grateful to you all. You have no idea what you have opened up to me. I am thrilled! I'm truly blessed and thank you with all my heart. This could not have been easy, since I sent you very little information. You've given me more information than I ever expected."
-A. Caldwell, S.C.

How to Choose a Professional Genealogist
Everyone hits a point in their genealogy when they need help. Some people are very interested in finding out about their heritage, but donít have the time or the inclination to learn how to do their own research, so they turn to professionals from the start. Others love to do their own research, but start having trouble at a certain place in their tree. Is there anyone who hasnít hit a brick wall somewhere? Sooner or later, most people interested in genealogy will think about hiring a professional.

This can be a daunting task. Your first decision will be whether to use a single researcher or a research company. There are pros and cons to each choice.

Research Companies
Many people prefer to use a research company to help them with their research. Here are some of the reasons that make it worth using a company:

1) Every report is usually looked at by multiple genealogists. At Legacy Tree, our projects are peer-reviewed by at least three professional genealogists before they are sent to the client. Each genealogist needs to agree to the solidity of the project before it is acceptable to deliver to the client.

2) There are quality guarantees. At Legacy Tree, we back up our work. When clients are justifiably not happy with their report, we fix it for free. We want happy clients because so much of our business comes from repeat orders from clients.

3) You can check ratings and quality easier. Legacy Tree has an A+ grade from the Better Business Bureau.

4) No matter where your genealogical adventures take you, companies have researchers who are experts in that geographic location. There is no need to do the work of finding a new researcher every time your ancestry jumps the pond to a different country.

5) Genealogists who are part of a core company team are tried and tested for excellent work.

Individual Researchers - Do Your Homework
With these advantages, why would anyone ever use an individual researcher? Budget is the number one reason. Those who are seeking to find good quality research on a shoestring will have to do their own legwork to find a good researcher. There are many great individual researchers out there. There are also many terrible ones. We at Legacy Tree hear too often from people who have "saved" money by using individual researchers, only to find that they need our help cleaning up the mess. It would have been cheaper to hire a company in the first place.

However, there are things you can do to minimize this risk. Here are the steps one should take to find a good individual researcher:

First, you will need to decide on the expertise that your research requires. Are you stuck with an ancestor in New Jersey in colonial times? You will want to find a researcher who has spent many, many hours in colonial New Jersey records. Researchers generally specialize according to geographic location. They may also have a research specialty, such as African American or Native American. Deciding on the type of genealogist you will need will narrow down your choices considerably.

How do you find them? The Association of Professional Genealogists has a free online directory of professional researchers.

You may search the directory in many different ways, but the best searches are by geographic specialty or just by specialty. This will give you a list of researchers who consider themselves able to help with your particular research problem. You should know that anyone who pays the fee can be a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. The list is therefore just the first step.

Once you have your list in hand, it is time to interview the researchers. The directory will have contact information for them. Here are some questions that must be addressed:

1) What are their credentials? Are they accredited genealogists? Have they had years of experience? Do they have a degree in Family History? All of the researchers at Legacy Tree Genealogy meet some or all of these criteria.

2) Even with these credentials, researchers can be unacceptable. Get a list of references from them and call their clients to make sure that they have been happy with their work. You will be able to learn a great deal about the genealogist before you pay them any money.

3) Ask the genealogist if you could see some sample reports. We have found that there are good researchers who do not know how to communicate their findings very well; there are also researchers who are good writers but their research skills are deficient. They can make their work sound good when it is actually not sound research. This is very hard for the non-professional to assess, but read through sample reports and ask yourself the following questions: Is the writing clear? Do the findings sound logical? Does the writing sound professional? Were a variety of sources used in the research, and were they properly cited? And a question that you are supremely qualified to answer: Would I be happy with this report if it was done for me?

We wish you well as you decide how best to learn about your family tree. If you have questions, feel free to contact us.

FAQs - Answers to frequently asked questions.

Our Process - What to expect when you order research.

"My experience with Legacy Tree was excellent. The genealogist was very helpful in getting my questions answered. I chose Legacy Tree because of their wide range of experience and they were reasonably priced as well. I will use Legacy Tree again in the future as they have the resources to find answers and are genuinely happy to do the investigations."
- Kenton H., AL

Our Location - Near the largest genealogy library in the world, with connections worldwide.
Professional Genealogist Library