WHAT IS THE RCGS's POSITION ON PAID RESEARCH?
One objective of Rock County Genealogical Society is to assist people pursue genealogical research. We know that not everyone can conduct their own research because of geographic distance, physical infirmity, limited time or because they lack the experience to find and extract genealogical information from records. One option for these individuals is to hire an experienced fee-based researcher. The RCGS does not have the resources to perform free research for its members, so, we recognize the legitimate role of the fee-based researcher for some family historians.
DOES THE RCGS ENDORSE OR CERTIFY THE RESEARCHERS LISTED BELOW?
At the time of this writing, the RCGS knows the researchers listed below to be long term Society members in good standing. The Society has every reason to believe that your experience with any one of these researchers will be satisfactory; however, the RCGS does not endorse or certify individual researchers, nor can the Society warranty their research results. While no genealogical researcher can guarantee results, your best hope for finding the traces of your ancestors' footprints may rest with one of the experienced researchers below.
DOES THE RCGS OFFER CONSUMER ADVICE FOR HIRING A FEE-BASED GENEALOGICAL RESEARCHER?
Yes. Several considerations should go into your decision to hire a researcher.
Test Personal Compatibility - Talk to your genealogical researcher to establish rapport, trust and a common understanding of your desires for research help.LIST OF FEE-BASED ROCK COUNTY GENEALOGY RESEARCHERS:
Check Researcher's Past Performance - Don't be afraid to ask for a researcher for professional references or examples of their past research. Ask about their resources (private libraries and subscription services), their credentials and education.
Develop Clear Expectations - Begin by setting a realistic budget and shaping the scope of your research assignment accordingly. Start small. Most researchers will have no problem beginning with a narrow assignment - like obtaining a copy of a specific marriage record, or scanning their home library for all members of a single surname. Build from there.
Prepare Your Family Information as a Starting Point - You will save time and money if your researcher has a firm foundation upon which to build a research strategy. Tell your researcher which facts have solid sources and which are hearsay. There is no need to pay someone to retrace research you have already documented.
Expect a Fair Payment Schedule - Most researchers require a "pay-as-you-go" payment schedule. This way, both you and the researcher are “invested” in the research. It is important to understand that most researchers expect to be paid for their time, regardless of the quantity of results.
Research Results are Not Predictable - Researchers can promise to spend the time to look wisely, but they cannot guarantee what, if anything, they may find. Many hours of diligent research may produce a rich family history, or find only scant trace of your ancestors. Results will vary for reasons beyond your researcher's control.
Expect Protection of Your Family's Privacy - Your researcher should agree not to share information about your relatives (living or dead) with anyone. You should also expect them to “privatize” or remove vital information from the records of living persons before helping you post research or queries online. While you may get public information on living relatives, the internet should not. Protecting privacy should be a priority to you and your researcher.
David Bradford, B.S., M.B.A.
W171 N4901 Greenview Avenue
Menomonee Falls, WI 53546
Click here to contact Dave by email
Will research in southern and southeastern Wisconsin
Will conduct research at the Rock and other S.E. WI County Court Houses, Janesville Hedberg Library, Wisconsin Historical Society, Great Lakes Region of the National Archives, the Chicago Newberry Library and the Allen County, IN Regional Genealogical Library collections.
20+ years of genealogical research experience
Webmaster of the Rock County Genealogical Society web site.
Member and officer in Rock County Genealogical Society, Member in Sheboygan County Historical Research Center, Wisconsin Genealogical Society and Wisconsin Historical Society.
Author of numerous genealogical articles in Society Newsletters, frequent educational speaker to local and county genealogical societies on topics related to technology and genealogical research.