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Can you just hire someone to complete your Tree?

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  • Can you just hire someone to complete your Tree?

    I'm on the ancestry site. Is this forum also for ancestry? Been working on the tree for a while. Fun but exhausting and in the end, I have no idea if it's valid. You can only trust the documents so much. Haven't gotten my dna test results back. But when I do, is it possible to just hire an investigator to fill out my tree and confirm everything?

  • #2
    It is possible to hire a professional genealogist to research your tree.


    • #3
      You might check the Association of Professional Genealogists or similar organizations. You can hire one through Ancestry but it might cost 10 times as much. It's not cheap no matter how you look at it. Expect to pay $20 to $50 an hour I'd say. I've hired people to do little bits of research for me, but not a whole tree. It's hard work, as you have discovered. But a professional should give you a document to back up every relationship.


      • #4
        Results may vary

        As far as hiring a genealogist:

        1. In 2016, I had a Swiss genealogical researcher find my father's maternal grandfather's parents' lines; $45/hour, and it ended up costing about $390 total, including an extra 2 hrs. added, plus some transcription work. This included cropped images of supporting records (church, mostly), with detailed source information, as well as several images of the town. She was able to find ancestors for three more generations (back to 5th g-grandparents for me, about early 1700s), and some special records. Information for the ancestors of both lines were given in .pdf format, via email. This saved me many hours/days/months of peering at inscrutable old German handwriting in digitized microfilm records, and ultimately not finding who I was looking for, anyway.

        2. In 2010, I had tried an Irish genealogist service associated with, which cost 90 Euros ($122+ at the time). They were able to find my father's paternal g-grandmother's family, but not the g-grandfather's from the same town. The Irish genealogist did send the specific source information for the church records for the g-grandmother's family, along with some maps, and sent their findings via postal mail.

        The Irish genealogist service should have known and checked for a variant of the g-grandfather's known surname (the variant was unknown to me at the time), but didn't indicate that they did so in their reply to me. A few years later, I found out that a previously unknown cousin of my father had also used the same service for the same search, before we had ever made contact with each other. The genealogist service had even told this cousin that they'd checked for the surname variant in their search, but told her they could not find him. The cousin and I were later able to find the g-grandfather's marriage, baptism, plus those of his parents, and more under the variant surname (i.e., the original surname), using Catholic church records put online by the National Library of Ireland; local records that the Irish genealogist service of the same locality should have had in their database, and access to, in the years before. This g-grandparent seems to have used both versions of his surname interchangeably for the first decade or so in the U.S., before settling on the one used by his descendants (just to keep it interesting for the later genealogist descendants).

        3. Next up? Well, when I get tired of using pliers to try to pull information out of the Greek and Maltese sources for my maternal ancestors past the 1st and 2nd g-grandparents, I may have to resort to Greek and Maltese genealogists. Life is short, and there's only so much time for these things. So far I can't find enough information for a brick wall paternal German g-grandmother, or another set of my father's brick wall Irish g-grandparents, to give to a genealogist if I wanted to!
        Last edited by KATM; 17 April 2018, 05:20 PM. Reason: small changes


        • #5
          Your family tree will never be complete. No one's is, there will always be mysteries and there will almost always be more to find.

          That fact is the basis for genealogy as a lifetime pursuit. When you begin this journey, it may seem like the task is hopeless. However, there is a well-worn path to success that helps most people. You might start with a how-to book or a night school course. Then, consider joining your local genealogical society, and take full advantage of the experience of the members and the invited lecturers. A typical genealogical society has CENTURIES of collective experience that you can apply to your own research problems.

          On rare occasions I have run into research problems where I could not access the records myself. Those situations are getting less and less common, as more of the most important records are being digitized on services such as (you may have to visit a Family History Center in order to view some of the images) and ($$), and on the web sites of archives all over the world.

          However, when you are stuck on a well-defined, very specific research problem, such as an ancestor known to be from a particular place where the records cannot be accessed in any other way, and after contacting local genealogical or historical societies in hopes of finding additional resources, it sometimes makes sense to hire a professional -- but never do so without due diligence and a very clear agreement!

          Discovering one ancestor at a time has been a source of inspiration and satisfaction for generations of genealogists. I'm convinced we get more out of the search, and learn more from our ancestors' lives, by following the trail one step at a time, record by record and generation by generation.


          • #6
            Very good advice, John McCoy, and I hope the original poster, inteval, will take it to heart. Genealogy is a rewarding hobby, and what you learn can only enrich you and make you appreciate how you got to be "you." Yes, we can't really complete our family tree, but it is important to share and pass on what we find, and try to find someone interested in it to carry on the quest.

            Depending upon your ancestry, some records will be easily obtainable, while others will not. But, persistence is key, and when you do find that hard-won nugget, it is sweet!


            • #7
              Originally posted by Intevel View Post
              I'm on the ancestry site. Is this forum also for ancestry? Been working on the tree for a while. Fun but exhausting and in the end, I have no idea if it's valid. You can only trust the documents so much. Haven't gotten my dna test results back. But when I do, is it possible to just hire an investigator to fill out my tree and confirm everything?
     has the largest data base and availability of records. It is useful for ease of access to records, but there are some records that Ancestry will never have available to them. Ancestry attracts mostly amateurs who are interested in genealogy. The current attitude, due to that facility of availability is that genealogy is easy to do, and that anyone can be a genealogist - until they hit a "brick wall". That is usually what separates an amateur from a experienced genealogist.

              23andme began with health reports and also attracted some who have an interest in genealogy - but their business model remains divided between both fields. FTDNA began by attracting those who were/are predominantly interested in genealogy, but their current customer base now seems less interested in it than before.

              All these sites are involved with DNA testing for genetic genealogy and are competing for subscribers. Genealogy existed long before genetic testing came along. DNA testing is a valuable tool; it is particularly useful in some instances, but it is not a substitute for research and analysis of documentation.

              You can only trust the documents so much.
              It depends upon the type of document. An experienced genealogist will find and gather as much documentation as possible. If there are discrepancies, they often are revealed through review and comparison, and applying judgment of what fits and what doesn't fit. That is how recording errors are revealed, understood, and disregarded. That comes through having experience and knowledge.

              If you need help you can hire a researcher or experienced genealogist to assist you. Don't expect anyone to work for you for free, but it shouldn't cost a fortune, either.