The Costs Of Hiring A Professional Genealogist

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Genealogy is a hobby that many people enjoy.

Whether you are just tracing your family tree or looking for information about a distant relative, genealogy can be an interesting and rewarding pastime.

However, if you want to take it to the next level, then there is one thing that you will need: a professional genealogist.

Using a professional genealogist will cost anywhere between $300 and $3,000 depending on the specific services desired.

And these costs include research fees, hourly rates, and additional expenses for project changes, travel expenses, and possible copying fees.

In this article, we will talk about what it takes to find a professional genealogist, how much one costs, and what benefits come from hiring one.

The Cost of Hiring a Professional Genealogist

Genealogy is a field that requires a lot of time and patience.

Professionals will often spend hours, days, or even weeks researching one person’s lineage to learn more about their past.

The first thing you should know about a genealogist is that they are professionals.

These people make their living by:

  • Researching family trees
  • Solving puzzles of the past through meticulous research
  • Attaining credibility. They have gone to school, taken classes, attained certifications in this field
  • Continuing to learn new skills as time goes on

It would be very difficult for someone who was not well-trained or experienced in this area to do what a professional genealogist does with any degree of success.

Unless you want to trust your amateur attempts at uncovering the mysteries buried within your ancestry, then hiring an expert might just be worth it!

The following costs are associated with hiring a professional genealogist:

Type of Fee or Cost Cost Estimate Explanation of the Fee or Cost
Research Fees Usually ranges from $30 to $50 but this varies depending on the level of research required as well as how far back someone is trying to go back in their family tree.
  • These are for the costs of researching various archives that might not be available to you or through a library subscription
  • This may also include hiring professional genealogists who have access to records (local, county, state) in your area
  • Like with editing fees, there are many variables, so it’s important to go over these beforehand as well as what will happen once your ancestor or ancestors’ information is found
Hourly Rates $30 to $200 per hour, some genealogists may charge a flat fee for the entire project while others would be more flexible with what they can offer based on how much you’re willing to pay.
  • If you’re just looking for some general information about your ancestors, then it’s likely there would be no hourly rate involved
  • Since many people want more than that, they’ll need an estimate upfront before starting work so they can factor those costs into their budget
Additional Fees Usually ranges from $300 to $2,400, but again this varies depending on the level of research required.
  • Many different types of fees must be factored into any genealogy research (local records, archives), so it’s important to discuss this upfront so everyone knows exactly what needs to happen and when money will need to exchange hands
Family Tree Editing Typically, a genealogist would charge by the hour to go through family trees and check details or provide feedback. This would most likely be at their normal hourly charge of between $30 and $200 per hour. 
  • If one person wants someone else to edit the family tree, they can be charged per hour, and this includes the time it takes to fill in details on each line of a family tree.
Determining Birth Order Usually starts from $30 to $90 per hour, although some may charge by the project instead.
  • Sometimes a genealogist will need to look at the birth lines of two or more children and determine their order, as this can be difficult if parents did not list them in that order on the census form
Finding Relatives Typically, this is a flat fee that would be paid upfront before anyone begins searching for a relative. It can range between $300 and $2,400.
  • Finding relatives can add up quickly depending on how much travel is involved and how much information you have to start with

In addition to knowing the cost of your professional genealogist, there are many benefits associated with hiring a professional genealogist.

Why You Should Hire A Professional Genealogist

Do you want to hire a professional genealogist?

If so, it is important to know why you would want to do this.

You may be looking for someone who can help trace family history, or perhaps something more in-depth like an adoption search.

Whatever the reason may be, it is worth discussing with your loved ones and considering hiring a pro.

A professional genealogist will offer many benefits that might not be available if you try on your own, including:

  • Accessing records that are difficult or impossible to get otherwise
  • Conducting research when time is of the essence (such as after a death or illness)
  • Providing peace of mind by thoroughly investigating all leads before coming

You should hire a professional genealogist for a variety of reasons.

If you’re ready to hire someone, it’s time to find the perfect genealogist for your needs.

There are many ways to find a genealogist:

  • Contact local professional organizations or societies that have directories and membership lists
  • Use an online search engine like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
  • Ask friends and relatives if they know any great genealogists
  • Look through websites such as LinkedIn or Facebook, where people may list their profession on personal profiles (make sure to read reviews before hiring)
  • Obtain referral results from popular Genealogy Societies in your area

What Services To Expect From A Trained Genealogist

You can expect to get many different services from a professional genealogist:

  • The genealogist will meet with you and talk about what your goals are in researching your family history
  • They may ask for a list of names to start from or to narrow down possible candidates, so it is important that you have some idea of where to look before starting
  • You should expect an estimate after the initial consultation, which usually takes at least three hours

What To Ask Before Deciding On A Genealogist

The following is a list of questions you can ask before choosing a professional genealogist:

  • Where is the genealogist located?
  • What are the associated fees, and what do you get for the money?
  • Does the genealogist have examples of other projects they have done?
  • Do you need to sign a contract with them, or will this be on an agreed payment basis only?
  • Is there a penalty for canceling at any time if something changes about using the service in the future?
  • How far back can the genealogist research?
  • Can they help you with your family tree?
  • What happens if you need to contact them about a project after hours or during non-business hours?
  • Will there be someone on call who will answer the phone and take care of any immediate needs that arise?

Some genealogists offer packages that allow clients to search through certain records databases offered by different companies or archives.

In these cases, it’s important to know exactly what is included in each package before committing to this process, as this normally requires paying upfront payments which may not cover all your needs.

This could also tie you into a contract of one-time payments for the next few years which may not be in your best interests.

It’s important to know what you’re committing yourself to before you make these commitments.

Being clear about their terms is crucial so that all parties involved understand where everyone stands legally.

Services Available from A Professional Genealogist

You can get a lot of different services from a genealogist.

These even include things you can’t do yourself and things an online resource can’t offer you.

The following is a list of services available from most professional genealogists:

  • Additional services – You will also find some professional genealogists offer additional services such as translation work which may include translating documents from one language to another, legal research that would involve searching court documents, DNA results, death certificates and wills, and birth records.
  • Analyzing data – Classifying, publishing, and indexing genealogical data, so it is accessible to other researchers.
  • Identification – Identifying people in old photographs of unidentified groups because they do not fit with the known groupings; this can be done through facial recognition software.
  • Research – Researching and documenting a genealogical line or an individual’s family history.
  • Understanding relationships – Determining relationships between individuals based on how their names appear together over time: e.g., marriage listings, census records (most common for determining if someone has died).

If you are not sure if a genealogist is the best route for your research needs, it may be wise to consult with someone specializing in family history services.

There are many genealogy professionals out there who offer guidance on how to create an effective family tree, so don’t hesitate to get started today!

Benefits of Hiring a Genealogist

Some people enjoy exercising their creativity in choosing how they will display their family tree (this is common for those without artistic talent).

In contrast, others prefer letting an expert handle all the creative details.

There are a lot of benefits to hiring a genealogist, including those in the following table:

Type of Benefit Ways A Professional Genealogist Displays These Benefits
  • Advice about what type of research should be done so you can accurately represent yourself
  • A better understanding of your family history through the eyes of a professional genealogist who has studied many other families’ histories and can offer insight into patterns or trends
  • Guidance in how best to reach certain goals such as finding more living relatives or identifying ancestors who fought in wars
  • Help with filling out paperwork or obtaining records that are difficult to get on your own
Saving time and space
  • Freeing up more space at home for things other than research materials or storage bins full of documents and photographs
  • Revealing valuable information such as land records which could affect inheritance rights
  • Understanding how family members are related to others
  • You’ll have the comfort and security knowing that someone else is doing all the research for you, so it’s not something you need to do on your own time while juggling any other obligations such as work or family commitments.
  • You are building your family history tree with the help of others
Finding new information
  • Finding long lost relatives
  • Getting access to records that are not typically available to the public
  • Getting assistance with research that you are not qualified to do yourself
  • Having access to information from around the world via online databases and archives
  • Learning more about different ancestors’ lives during eras where everyday life was drastically different than today’s modern world
  • Learning more about your family’s lineage and history
  • They can use their expertise in filling out records with accuracy and find hidden clues that might otherwise never surface without them digging deeper into every detail.

Whatever your preference, maybe it’s important for you to feel confident about what you want before seeking out help from another person so that both parties know what tasks should be completed beforehand.

Whether someone likes working alone

What to Expect When Working with an Expert

Every genealogist has their way of dealing with information which is why it’s important to take some time to be very clear about what kind of support will work best for you before going ahead and signing up with someone new.

When you are working with a professional genealogist, you can expect all the following:

  • Receive one-on-one attention
  • Access to the necessary materials and resources for your specific project, such as maps of old property boundaries or photos from a certain era
  • Assistance with any research questions you may have about the family history topic that they are working on at present

Some people might prefer an in-depth meeting where everything can be discussed.

At the same time, others would rather handle things over email so that all conversations are documented somewhere (this could also save money).

Different individuals like using different tools when conducting their research – whether it is through historical records or DNA analysis.

If you’re interested in hiring a genealogist, the first thing to do is figure out what kind of support will work best for you.

How to Find the Right Person for Your Needs

When you are looking for a professional genealogist, you want to make sure you can find a professional that will fit your needs.

First, you need to identify what you want from investing in a professional genealogist.

You can do this by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you want to find out about your genealogy? Do you need help finding someone in your family tree who may have passed away recently and is not online?
  • Are you looking for documents that can be used as evidence when applying for citizenship, immigration papers, or military records?
  • Do you know what tools the professional will use during their research, like AncestryDNA testing or GEDmatch analysis? Will they provide detailed reports with sources cited, so it is easy to follow along and learn more on your own from there?
  • Do they just give a general overview of findings at the end of an investigation without providing details such as where exactly my ancestors came from, how far back does this go? Can they answer these questions for you?

Then you need to search for an individual or company that matches your answers to the questions above.

The easiest way to do this is to do the following:

  • Find out what type of research they specialize in by checking their website or social media page. Read testimonials to see if you find the level of service and attention that matches your needs.
  • Look for organizations accredited as a genealogical society, such as the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) or The Board For Certification Of Genealogists (BCOG).
  • Look up reviews on them from other people like yourself who have used their services and felt good about it afterward. If anyone has had any bad experiences with this person or company, investigate those cases deeply before hiring them because you need someone trustworthy representing you when doing something so important!
  • Do not just hire the first one whose rates match yours because there may be another option out there.

Related: How to Find a Reputable Genealogist

Money-Saving Tips: Looking for Expert Genealogists

You might also be wondering, well, looking into genealogy is a bit on the expensive side, is there any way to save money when hiring a professional?

You can do a few things to save money when looking for the right genealogist or family historian.

These include:

  • Do some research yourself – Considering doing some of your research online beforehand so that there’s less information left unshared after meeting with potential professionals. Again, this saves both parties from wasting time and money on work not completed during their meeting.
  • Have clear expectations – Make sure both parties understand the expectations before meeting up:
    • What will each person be doing during the time together?
    • What is the anticipated duration of this project?
    • How much does each party anticipate spending on supplies or other expenses related to completing these tasks?
    • Is there anything else specific either party needs from one another before beginning this process?
  • Look for flat rates – Find someone who offers flat rates rather than hourly charges (this will allow them more flexibility on how long it takes). Or find someone that has an all-inclusive package service, which may be less expensive in the end if you’re worried about time constraints. Also, consider asking friends and colleagues for recommendations as they might know of someone affordable but still effective.
  • Look for specializations as needed – Find a genealogist specializing in the type of work you need to have done, such as researching your family tree or cataloging personal records and artifacts for an individual. It’s generally better to hire someone who has experience with what you want them to do because they’ll be able to complete it faster and provide higher-quality results.
  • Read the reviews – Read reviews about previous clients’ experiences and check out their websites and social media profiles so that they can be verified as legitimate. Ensure all contact information includes an email address because it’s best to communicate directly with them before committing to paying a fee.
  • Use a free online resource first – Use online resources to search for potential professionals specializing in the types of genealogy you’re most interested in (i.e., if your family is from Ireland, then look up Irish genealogists).

In Summary: Hire A Genealogist for Under $3,000

Hiring a genealogist is not inexpensive, but it can be much more affordable than you might think.

You can hire a genealogist for under $3,000.

Many times you can work to get a quote and figure out what services are in your price range.

Find an experienced pro who knows what they’re doing by asking for referrals and sticking with the professionals with a solid track record of success.

While genealogy is an investment, it is not something you will regret.

About GYAdmin

Hi, I’m Emma. I fell in love with genealogy the second I found out my ancestor fell off the Mayflower. I started GenealogyYou to help others on this fascinating journey (and to put my History degree to some use).