Fees & Contract
Hiring a professional genealogist can be an excellent way to discover your family roots. If this is the first time you have considered hiring a professional genealogist, you may be wondering what to look for and what to expect. You can find additional information about what to consider in selecting a professional genealogist and what to expect once you hire one on the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) website, where they have an article entitled, Why Hire a Professional Genealogist.
Understanding the genealogical research process will help you know what to expect from Genealoger. The following are normal steps taken by a professional genealogist:
- Define the Research Problem. We will review the material you already have on your family. We will discuss your research problem with you and make sure we clearly understand what you what us to accomplish.
- Develop a Research Plan. We will develop a research plan that outlines what we will do to find the information you want. Most plans consist of a prioritized list of the records we will search. Research plans can be written or verbal. If you desire, we will share our plan with you.
- Conduct the Research. As we follow the research plan, we will go to libraries, courthouses, archives, cemeteries, and other place to search for the information. As we search, we normally photocopy pertinent records or acquire official copies.
- Analyze the Findings. We will regularly review our research and make conclusions about what we find. We will also compare our findings with other documents to confirm or disprove conclusions.
- Report the Findings. We may periodically prepare reports about our research activities. Some reports may include photocopies or abstracts of important information. We may also make suggestions for continued research.
- Prepare Forms. At your request, we can prepare forms such as pedigree charts, family group sheets, and applications to lineage societies. We may also enter information into a genealogical computer program for you.
- Share Results. We can help you share the results of our research on your family. We can contribute the findings to a genealogical data bank or we can help you develop a family web page. We can also prepare articles or books on your family.
- Bill for Services. We will bill for our services at agreed upon intervals. We will clearly identify the time spent and expenses incurred on the project to date. Most professional genealogists have found that it takes as much time to define and develop the research and report the findings as it does to do the actual research.
Although rates vary between genealogists, most charge an hourly rate plus expenses. Most genealogists base their hourly rate on their education, training, skill, experience, and credentials and what the market will bear. Rates range from $10.00 per hour to as high as $100.00 or more per hour.
In addition to an hourly rate, most genealogists bill for the expenses they incur. Common expenses include:
- Costs of copies of records, certificates, and other documents,
- Fees paid to other researchers to search records in distant cities,
- Field travel (auto, meals, lodging),
- Admission fees paid to courthouses, repositories, and other record facilities,
- Administrative costs for items such as postage, supplies, and secretarial services.
We will ask you to pay a certain amount of money (a retainer) before work begins. We will work and bill against the retainer until it is spent. Then we will ask for another retainer and the work continues.
Our fee is between $12 and $25 per hour depending on how quickly you need the report and documents. A minimum prepayment of $100 is required before work can begin. Copy costs and other actual expenses will be in addition to this fee. Please state your objective, as well as the maximum number of hours or dollars that you'd like to spend on that objective. You will be billed for the amount over your deposit.
Contracts. For smaller projects, we will proceed with a
letter of agreement. For larger projects, we require a formal