How to Hire a Good Genealogist for Cheap
By Kenneth Green
In today’s Family and Friends Friday I wanted to give some tips on finding a good genealogist for the cheap. I hope to give you some information on some resources to use in doing this. First I want to clarify that while anyone can call themselves a genealogist, it does not mean that they are reputable. I want to ensure that you get more bang for your buck but also that you are not ripped off.
Do you need a certified genealogist?
This is the first big issue that one must ask themselves. Certified genealogists do not come cheap, to say the least. The board for the Certification of Genealogists is the litmus standard when it comes to finding certified Genealogists. However, there is a certain amount of time and effort that is invested into earning your board certification. I know that once I have my certification (it is my goal in the next year if time and my other businesses permit me the time) to obtain my certification and I’m sure that my rates will go up to account for the effort and time put into receiving my certification.
I am of the school that does not believe you necessarily need board certified genealogist to accomplish what you want to do. Some of the resources I will discuss later in this chapter will help you find a way to connect with some very knowledgeable people. However, I want to distinguish one thing right now. Usually to become BCG certified you need to do some pro bono cases to prove your knowledge and skill in performing professional research. The next source of information can help you possibly find these students who may do your work for free because they need pro bono cases to become certified.
Local Genealogical Associations and Societies
This is a great resource for finding those who are on their way to becoming BCG certified! You may also find that you can do the work yourself if you have the assistance of some more knowledgeable genealogists. I know of one society that will sit down with you if you are of the African descent. The Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society is a great resource, and they are willing to come along side you and help you do the work yourself. Talk about being on the cheap! Also if you are an African American these people are some of the most knowledgeable in the world, so meeting with them will help you break through some of the brick walls of Slave Genealogy.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is very cheap (Hint Free!)
The LDS Church (the abbreviation for the church I attend) has people that are called in each ward to be Temple and Family History Consultants. I know as Latter Day Saints were open to helping any who come to us for help and usually do it on the cheap! The best place to find this help is via a family history center. There are consultants who staff the Family History center, and they help any who come into the center. You will also find computers, microfilm machines and even access to websites like Ancestry Dot Com at the Family History Center.
Public Libraries can be a great resource as well. Here in Denver, Colorado we even have a family history section of the Central Library. What I like about using the library is most of them have access to newspaper articles. Libraries most of the time have computers which can be used while you’re doing research. You can enter information right when you’re researching. Furthermore your probably able to ask for help from the Librarians and receive that help. And you can get connected to genealogy societies via the library.
The World Wide Web
The reason this is the last resource I am mentioning is that its one I don’t like to use. Sometimes you can find incredibly knowledgeable people on the internet who are willing to help you. Facebook groups can be an awesome resource or even twitter. However, you have no way of verifying the level of skill of the person that is helping you. And you can be led the wrong way by them. However, I want to show a couple of good Facebook groups that you can use as a resource. Just verify all facts for yourself, don’t be afraid to double check research.
Hire the Gangster!
As I stated above, I am looking for two more cases to do pro bono work for my certification. I will be making research trips to Salt Lake City to the biggest Family History Library around to help me do my research. I am not asking for money and will do this work pro bono over the course of the next year. If you’re interested in having my help do you work comment below on why you think your family story is unique? If I like it, I’ll reach out to you to further discuss the possibility of me working for you on the cheap, well free! Thank you for reading!
Some Resources To Help You Find a Genealogist on the Cheap!