Here at Legacy Tree, we understand that genealogy research can be expensive. Not only that, but specific results cannot be guaranteed for the obvious reasons that we simply cannot know what, if any, genealogical records were generated about a particular ancestor that would aid in addressing a client’s research goal. On top of that, even if some records were created about an ancestor, questions remain: did those records survive the ravages of time? Are they available for viewing? Do they actually contain the information needed to answer the client’s research question? Are they accurate?
As such, investing hard-earned money in professional genealogical research can be unnerving for some people. One product offered by Legacy Tree to help address this fear of the unknown is a session of initial analysis called a Discovery Project. The Discovery Project is designed to provide the client with a vision of what options are available to address specific research goals. Certain tasks are delineated in this research plan, providing the client with a concrete direction for seeking clues to unanswered family history questions.
During the Discovery, our researchers evaluate any research that has already been performed by the client. We analyze what records are available, and perform some preliminary research to determine a course for future research. In other words, this short session of research allows us time to become familiar with the client’s background information, conduct a survey of the records available for the time period and geographic region, and put together a strategy for future research, should the client decide to upgrade to a Standard Project. This process can begin any genealogical project, long or short.
Once the client declares the exact research goal(s), it is absolutely essential that he or she transmits to us everything already known about an ancestor, including copies of documents gathered and an explanation of previous research. With these two tools in hand – the research goals and the complete background information – the genealogist is ready to dig into this short session of research.
First, it is necessary for the genealogist to become familiar with what is already known about the ancestor, what record sources have been searched, what information has been drawn from the gathered records, what additional clues they might offer, and where the missing pieces lie. This part of the process can take anywhere from a few moments to the entire time of the project, depending on the amount of information submitted, the level of organization employed, and the difficulty of the country or language involved.
Next, the researcher determines what record sources still need to be searched, and where those records are located. Online databases, local repositories and onsite archives are all considered and prioritized, based on the vast research experience of the genealogist. The researcher will detail these goals in the report as recommendations.
If any time remains, the genealogist will conduct some basic, preliminary research, gathering any “low-hanging fruit” that will push the research forward and add to the body of knowledge, ensuring that the work is moving in the right direction and focused on the correct ancestor.
The client is presented with this research plan and has the opportunity to implement the research plan personally, or engage Legacy Tree to continue doing the work. Either way, the client is able to determine the best way to accomplish his or her specific genealogical goals, and the most prudent investment of time and money.
Each Discovery Project consists of 3-4 parts. The first section states the client’s goals. The second section, called “Progress”, discusses our analysis of the background information, what record sets should be looked into, and some preliminary research. The third section, ”Recommendations”, presents the research plan. The last section (when applicable) contains copies of any documents that were found during preliminary research.
Do you have a research question that you have been wondering about, but aren’t sure if it can be answered? Go ahead! Get your feet wet with a Discovery Project and see what the possibilities are regarding your particular research goal(s). Contact us today for a free consultation!