Paying someone to trace my ancestry

I am looking for an organization that will, for a fee (or free), trace my family tree. Any time I’ve done a search for such an organization, I get the do-it-yourself variety. I don’t have to the time to trace it myself. Anybody got any suggestions?

Take the time. You’ll enjoy it a lot more and it becomes a lot more personal and meaningful.

You can hire a certified genealogist for as little as $35 per hour. Be aware that they are paid for their time and not specific results.

As someone who has a serious genealogy habit, I can attest that it is painstaking work. You can spend anywhere from hours to years looking for a specific piece of information.

There are many user contributed online trees that could contain members of your family already, but you can’t rely on them for accuracy. So many times it is just bad information that has been copied over and over again. I have seen thousands of examples where entire generations were skipped, children left out, people attached to the wrong parent/spouse/child, incorrect dates, the sources are not named, you name it.

There are folks out in Salt Lake City that will do this for a fee. I first heard about them when Alex Haley first came out with Roots. He was a guest on The Tonigh Show, and he came out with a copy of a Johnny Carson bio they put together really fast. (He’s related to Kit Carson, it turns out). That tells ypou how long ago it was. I checked into ther prices, and they were pretty high. I don’t recall who they were, though, so I can’t tell you what their name was.

Being in SLC they have the advantage of being near the LDS Geneaology library, which is an awesome collection, and free to use. I traced my family there, and also did some historic research. There is a private New England Geneaologicial library here in Boston, but they charge you just to walk in the door of their library. It helps that the Mormons consider geneaology a sacred duty, and I’m grateful that they’ll let even an unbeliever like me use their resources for free.

I see it could cost quite a bit, probably out of my current price range. I work about 60-70 hours a week, so I have very little time. I know I can get a DNA trace for about $600 but I want to know my ancestors.

What suggestions to have for getting started?

Consider this a rumor until you get better information.

I have heard there are reliable services for this sort of thing at either the Mormons or the Library of Congress. I have personally checked neither and do not pretend to vouch for the accuracy of the above statement. Check it further yourself if you’re so inclined.

My mother followed the lead of an older sister of hers back in the 50’s-70’s and was able to trace both sides of my family (hers and Daddy’s) back to the days of arrival in the USA. One branch she was able to get back to the Battle of Hastings, although I have serious doubts about the accuracy of that find. But Mama went to court houses, cemeteries, state archives and other “official” records storage facilities in her efforts to run down details and to corroborate earlier findings. She told me that she had had to do some “educated guesswork” in many instances because of disparate dates, names, spellings of people and places, etc.

Her genealogical papers are in my possession and I have compared them with online trees at various genealogical websites. I’d guess they may have no more than about 70-80% agreement with my mother’s findings, and I would tend to concur with the remarks made upthread by LurkerInNJ as far as online accuracy goes. An uncle did his own searching on Daddy’s side of the family and even he got into some pretty big discrepancies with Mama’s work, so I don’t even know which version to accept.

There are so many ways the data can get muddy. It takes more patience and perseverance than I have.

Good luck, but avoid cheap services. They’re almost sure to rip you off.

Do you have any family members or other relatives who could do the research for you, Redfrost? Especially those older than you or not working as many hours?

That would be the New England Historic Genealogical Society, or NEHGS for short. I’m a long-time member.

If you have New England ancestry, their resources are priceless. Circulating materials are lent to members who live out of the area through the mail. Their staff is top-notch also.

No. Wish I did.

Redfrost, I’m a former professional genealogist. Click on my user name and send me some info about your parents and grandparents. I’ll see what I can find online for you, no charge.

Contact your local public library and ask if they have a genealogy section. At our library we have several regular patrons who also do paid research for others. We won’t recommend a specific individual, but we can pass on a list of names.

Perhaps someone like this would agree to talk to you about your needs and expectations and give you an idea of difficulty and a ballpark cost. Finding the names and birthplaces of your great great grandparents might be fairly simple. Proving kinship with Daniel Boone might not.

Thanks, I hadn’t considered the library. Problem is time though. When I a free moment I’ll check it out.