How and when will I receive my research results?
If you’ve ordered a full-service research project, you’ll receive both printed and digital files of everything we provide, including a research report, a list of sources searched, documents, and family tree charts. These will be mailed to you in a keepsake binder and also posted on a private web page for easy sharing. English is the default language for Legacy Tree products and reports can be translated for an additional fee. Throughout the process, we’ll make sure we’re following your goals and keep you informed as to the status of your project. Read more about our genealogy research process.
Full-service genealogy projects are currently taking an average of 4-6 months to complete. Sometimes essential records such as pension applications, Social Security applications, and archival files require contacting government agencies or foreign archives and waiting several weeks (or even months) for answers, but this doesn’t come up with every research project. We’ll update you if your project is delayed due to a long wait time for essential records or DNA tests.
How do I know your genealogists are qualiﬁed and that your research is accurate?
As the highest-rated genealogy research firm in the world, we’re extremely thorough in our research, and we hold ourselves to the highest standards of accuracy. Every report is peer reviewed and includes detailed citations that ensure that sources are verifiable and accurate. In the rare case that we disagree about a discovery, we ﬁgure things out as a team. You can check out our genealogists’ credentials and experience here.
How does DNA analysis work in genealogy?
Our DNA team is comprised of some of the most talented and experienced genetic genealogists in the world, and we’ve solved cases all over the world using a combination of DNA and genealogical evidence. DNA tests can tell you what region(s) your ancestors were from and can often connect you with cousins you never knew you had as well as help adoptees and those with unknown paternity. Many people use the aid of a DNA test when they’ve hit a brick wall in their research. We can help you choose the right test, or understand the results of a yDNA test, mtDNA test or atDNA test already taken. Learn more about genetic genealogy and DNA testing in our blog post.
Why do you require a minimum number of hours for in-depth projects?
When we’re digging through hundreds of years of history and searching millions of historical records for very precise answers, and especially when we’re building upon decades of prior attempts to break through a brick wall, we’re more likely to make progress if we can roll up our sleeves and really get to work. Unless your needs are extremely simple, your genealogist will first need some time to understand the information you already have and the answers you’re seeking — then to make a research plan, ﬁnd and assess important records, and analyze, organize and communicate discoveries to you. Our genealogists are experts at accomplishing as much as they can in the time they have. Part of our project time is also allocated to needs such as peer review and client support.
How much can a genealogist discover in a Basic project?
It really depends on what we’re researching. We’ll do as much as we can in the time you’ve allowed us, and if your tree ends fairly recently we can usually extend your tree into the mid-1800s or so. For more complex challenges, such as research that goes back past the mid-1800s or seeks the origins of an immigrant ancestor, a larger project is recommended because we’ll likely need to determine ancestry through indirect or circumstantial evidence, and this takes much more time.
Do I have to do a lot of work before you can start researching?
No, just share what you already know about your family history. This ensures we don’t waste time discovering things you already know. We’re most interested in dates and places of ancestors’ births, marriages and deaths. Even just approximate information can help, though we love to see original documents when you have them. We’ll also help you establish your goals for the project, which we’ll strictly adhere to.
How long will it take to do my entire family tree?
That can really vary. Each family tree is unique and has branches that can take us anywhere from one generation to the next. Some family trees can go back to the 1600s or earlier with available records, and the further back yours goes, the wider it gets. That means it can take years to “ﬁnish” your family tree, and even then, you can likely always fill in more. We handle this uncertainty by simply charging for blocks of time and providing full reports for each block that you purchase. See https://www.legacytree.com/blog/how-long-does-it-take-to-build-a-family-tree for more information.
Can I request more research after I receive my initial results?
Of course. Just let us know what you’re curious about and we’ll let you know what we think is possible and how much time we estimate it will take.
Do you have special access to records that are not available to the general public?
No, we don’t. But we know how to find them. We research publicly available records both online and in repositories around the world, have subscriptions to all major genealogical websites, and are connected to agents worldwide who visit libraries and archives for us. But, we do not have an exclusive, professional database with “all the correct answers” that we can quickly search for you.
Stories and pictures (beyond names, dates, and places) are generally found in newspapers, local histories, and private family records which may or may not have been shared with the public. We love to share stories and pictures whenever they are discovered.
Do you charge more for international research?
No, unless onsite international research is required. In that case, additional charges will be based on the costs and travel of the onsite agent. These are often minimal and rarely exceed $200 USD.
I know the region my ancestor came from in Europe. Why are you spending time researching his family in the country he immigrated to?
Most non-U.S. records are held at the town level and are not digitized or indexed at a national or regional level. For this reason, tracing immigrant ancestors back to their country of origin requires the identification of the specific town or parish they came from by analyzing records where the family settled after immigration.
Do you perform probate/estate/heirship research?
We do. Learn more in our blog post.
Still have questions?
Contact Us for more information.